Only at Wesley: "Religion and the American Presidency" class attend Second Presidential Debate in St. Louis, MO
Wesley students join Professor Mike McCurry for an opportunity to witness history in the making this weekend in St. Louis, MO.
Wesley's course “Religion and the American Presidency” brings students to Second Presidential Debate
ST. LOUIS (October 8, 2016) - Wesley Theological Seminary students will gather shortly on the campus of Washington University to take their ringside seats to history as part of a new hybrid course taught by Mike McCurry focusing on how religion and faith shaped our U.S. presidents.
“Religion and the American Presidency," is a Wesley course examining our country's chief executives and how they carried out their own religious commitments in their campaigns and presidencies. In looking directly at the 2016 national campaign and examining the role faith plays in the national political discourse, Wesley students have the opportunity to not just study history but be part of it, by being given access to attend the Second Presidential Debate. This has been made possible by Professor Mike McCurry, Distinguished Professor of Public Theology and Director, Center for Public Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary. McCurry also serves as the Co-Chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates.
“We are a country that separates church and state as a matter of law but it is hard to disentangle the religious faith of our presidents from how they governed and campaigned for office,” said McCurry, a former White House press secretary and Distinguished Professor of Public Theology at Wesley Seminary.
Students will be present on campus at Washington University today for the Danforth Dialogues at Graham Chapel. Noted journalists David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, and Natasha Trethewey will be in discussion with NPR's Krista Tippett, exploring the theme,"Envisioning the Future of Religion and Politics in America." Students will return to campus tomorrow for the Second Presidential Debate.
The course, a mix of in person meetings and participation in Skype conferences, has over the past weeks explored primary and secondary academic sources on the presidencies of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. Student online discussions have modeled civil discourse, with class members representing Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Independent points of view. Class members include Americans and citizens from a number of other countries, bringing a rich diversity to the discussions.
This is the kind of exchange fostered by The Center for Public Theology at Wesley, which draws together courses, programs and events that examine ways that faith traditions impact policy and politics, especially in the nation’s capital. It is part of Wesley Seminary’s Institute for Community Engagement, which helps churches engage their communities with the vision of “a transforming church that promotes communities where all people are cherished and flourish.” The Center for Public Theology has received grants from the Henry Luce III Foundation and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation.
Centered in the Christian tradition, Wesley Theological Seminary equips exemplary teachers, preachers and leaders to be prophetic voices in the church and the world. Wesley Theological Seminary is located in Washington, DC with a main campus in upper Northwest adjacent to American University and a downtown location at 9th and Massachusetts Ave NW.