Two Christian Visions for
Public Policy through the Lens of
Two Prominent Religious Spokesmen in
Differing Views on the Role of Government
At University Christian Church,
Dr. Richard Land
Featured in Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in
Dr. Gary Dorrien
Dr. Richard Land
Dr. Land has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission since 1988.
During his tenure with the largest Protestant denomination in the country, Dr. Land has represented Southern Baptist and other evangelical concerns in the halls of Congress, before
Dr. Land graduated with the Bachelor of Arts degree (magna cum laude) from
While on leave of absence from The Criswell College, Dr. Land served from January 1987 to May 1988 as Administrative Assistant to the Honorable William P. Clements, Jr., Governor of Texas. Dr. Land was the Governor’s senior advisor on church-state issues and areas relating to “traditional family values” as well as anti-drug, anti-pornography and anti-abortion legislation. In addition to these issues, Dr. Land had senior staff responsibility in the areas of public higher education, mental health and retardation, the physically handicapped, and AIDS.
Dr. Land served five terms with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Former President Bush selected Dr. Land for his first two terms at the Commission (September 2001 to September 2004). He was then reappointed by former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in 2005 and Senator Mitch McConnell in 2007 and 2010.
In his latest book, The Divided States of America? What Liberals and Conservatives Get Wrong About Faith and Politics, Dr. Land takes to task those on both the right and the left for misstating God’s role in America’s affairs, suggesting instead that it is possible to “affirm and practice belief in God while simultaneously practicing a rigorous separation of church and state.”
The book has earned accolades from a diverse audience, with endorsements from Madeleine Albright, Peter Gomes, Michael Novak, and Peter Berger, among many others. Senator Joseph Lieberman penned the foreword to the book.
Dr. Land has also recently authored Imagine! A God-Blessed America and Real Homeland Security, and is Executive Editor of FFV a national magazine dedicated to coverage of traditional religious values, Christian ethics, and cultural trends.
Dr. Gary Dorrien
Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at
An Episcopal priest, he was previously the Parfet Distinguished Professor at Kalamazoo College, where he taught for 18 years and also served as Dean of Stetson Chapel and Director of the Liberal Arts Colloquium.
Prof. Dorrien is the author of 16 books and approximately 250 articles that range across the fields of ethics, social theory, theology, philosophy, politics, and history. He is described by Princeton University philosopher Cornel West as "the preeminent social ethicist in North America today"; by Boston University philosophical theologian Robert Neville as "the most rigorous theological historian of our time, moving from analyses of social context and personal struggles through the most abstruse theological and metaphysical issues"; and by University of Georgia philosopher Frederick Ferré as “a superstar interpreter of modern religious thought.”
Prof. Dorrien's books include acclaimed works on economic democracy, social ethical theory, theories of myth and interpretation, Barthian neo-orthodoxy, and neoconservative politics. More than forty reviewers have described his trilogy, The Making of American Liberal Theology, as the definitive work in the field. The Expository Times called it "an endeavor best described, by all accounts, as magisterial, definitive, and authoritative." The Journal of Markets and Morality called it "monumental, encyclopedic, breathtaking."
Prof. Dorrien's book Social Ethics in the Making, a comprehensive interpretation of social ethics as an academic field and a tradition of public discourse, won the Choice Award as the outstanding book in ethics of 2009. The Christian Century described it as "magnificent, sprawling, monumental, captivating, expertly written, and exhaustively researched...Social Ethics in the Making will soon be recognized as a classic."
Prof. Dorrien is a recent past president of the American Theological Society and has a long record of involvement in social justice organizations. His book, Imperial Designs, grew out of his extensive lecturing against the
His two most recent books were published in early 2012: Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit: The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology, which makes an argument about the impact of Kantian and post-Kantian idealism on modern religious thought, and The Obama Question: A Progressive Perspective, which makes a progressive critique and defense of Barack Obama’s presidency.
See this recent article by Dorrien relevant to our theme.
UCC Forums: balanced, respectful dialogue
Religion in Public Life
Our mission is to provide community forums that share religious and ethical perspectives and increase understanding of today’s significant issues.
The UCC Forums series is a program of open dialogues on significant issues of interest to the general public and particularly the religious community.
Please visit our website (www.uccforums.org) for additional information on the forum topic, our panelists, and our philosophy.
Our Reasons for this Ministry
University Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has a history of engaging the University community in explorations of issues of current concern, especially plumbing the religiously-based ethical dimensions of these issues. UCC Forums is one current expression of UCC’s determination to find in open dialogue a richer understanding of our options. Modeling dialogue with civility is one of UCC’s goals, where all participants have the opportunity to learn from differing views.