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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 to understanding religion and politics today. 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 “Somebodiness.” 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.
More about Prof. Jonathan Walton
Jonathan L. Walton is an acclaimed author, social ethicist, and religious scholar. He is the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and the Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University, as well as a member of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Religion and Society at the Harvard Divinity School.
Much of Walton’s scholarship is focused on evangelical Christianity and its relationship to mass media and political culture. His first book, Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism (NYU Press 2009), examines the theological and political traditions of African American religious broadcasters.
Walton’s latest book A Lens of Love: Reading the Bible in Its World for Our World (Westminster John Knox Press 2018), is an extension of his work from the pulpit and classroom. The book is the interpretative exploration of the Bible from the perspective of the most vulnerable and violated characters in scriptures. A Lens of Love is an aid for Christians who seek to be rooted in faith while pursuing professional lives that are just, ethical, and challenge inequity.
Walton is also an outspoken advocate for social justice and civil rights, as well as a passionate voice in support of the marginalized. His work and insights have been featured in several national and international news outlets including The New York Times, CNN, and the BBC. Devotion to those social issues are prevalent in his writings, media interviews, speaking engagements, and sermons.
Walton earned his Ph.D. in Religion & Society and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from Morehouse College in Atlanta. He serves on several professional boards and committees, which include the Board of Trustees at Princeton Theological Seminary and the National Advisory Board of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.
More about Professor Lerone Martin
Lerone A. Martin is Associate Professor of Religion and Politics at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. Martin joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics in 2014, after a one-year postdoctoral fellowship with the Center.
Martin earned his B.A. from Anderson University and his Master of Divinity Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary before completing his Ph.D. at Emory University in 2011. From 2010-2013, Lerone was the Assistant Professor of American Religious History and Culture at Eden Theological Seminary in Saint Louis, MO where he taught courses in American and African American religious history.
His first book, Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Making of Modern African American Religion (New York University Press, 2014), tracks the role of the phonograph in the shaping of African American religion, culture, and politics during the first half of the twentieth century. Currently he is researching the historic relationship between religion and the F.B.I.
This event is free and open to all. RSVPs appreciated, but not required. Please contact us about free shuttles to campus if you have a group.
Email email@example.com or call (314) 935-9345 for more information and parking instructions.