Fall 2012: Sacred Politics

So Help Me God? Scriptural Authority and Public Conscience

Leading into the 2012 presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial elections in the United States, the fall quarter of the 2012–13 Bannan Institute will host a series of public lectures exploring Christian texts relevant to issues of significant public debate, and engaging major questions of authority, national identity, and public conscience.

Scriptural Politics of Democracy

Divine Violence and the Higher Law

by Ted Smith |

October 2, 2012 | 4:00 - 5:15 pm
St. Clare Room, Library and Learning Commons | MAP

From the abolitionist John Brown to the pro-life activist Paul Hill, Americans have a long history of appealing to a "higher law" to justify violent political action. Appeals to the higher law are often cast as inherently violent and as threats to the deliberation necessary for democracy. But in this lecture Smith argues for an understanding of the higher law that can loosen the hold of dominant forms of violence and make possible a deeper democratic deliberation.

Ted Smith teaches at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.  Before moving to Emory he taught at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, where he also served as director of the Program in Theology and Practice.  Smith is the author of The New Measures:  A Theological History of Democratic Practice and more than two dozen essays on political theology, religion in the United States, and preaching and worship.

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