Religion as a Conversation Starter! Embracing King’s Political Philosophy of “Somebodiness”

Date(s) - 04/17/2018
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Graham Chapel, Washington University in St. Louis

Please join us for this special event in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Social ethicist and scholar of American religions Professor Jonathan Walton will deliver a public lecture followed by an on-stage conversation with Professor Lerone Martin about King’s legacy of understanding religion and politics. There will be a reception for all attendees immediately following.

Walton is the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University. Martin is Associate Professor of Religion and Politics at the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

Walton’s lecture is titled Religion as a Conversation Starter! Embracing King’s Political Philosophy of “Sombodiness.” Many political theorists advance the view that religious commitments are out of bounds when advancing political positions. They view religion as a “conversation stopper,” to cite Richard Rorty’s commonly evoked phrase. The philosophical contributions of King, however, strike a valuable and viable contrast. Martin Luther King Jr.’s view of the divine and humanity caused him to affirm the human dignity of all, regardless of race, class, or even religion. It is this sense of inherent dignity or “somebodiness” that gives us a way to see certain religious commitments as consistent with the normative values of modern democracy.