Religion and the Liberal Arts Conferencerc-faith-citizenship-art

Faith & Citizenship: Religion in the Public Square

February 22-23, 2013

Classic Center & Piedmont College in Athens, Georgia


While a presidential election serves to focus issues of public debate, the debates do not end once votes are cast.  Concerns about justice, privacy, hospitality, neighborliness and compassion occupy both religious and political discourse.  What role should religion play in addressing questions facing citizens of the United States: Who may be married?  Is torture ever right?  How much responsibility do humans bear for climate change?  When does life begin?  When is prayer appropriate in public settings?  Under what circumstances are immigrants to be welcomed?  How are health care needs to be met?  This year’s conference will explore the role of faith in the public square, with special attention to the ethics of political engagement.


Featured Speakers

BBT-Photo-croppedBarbara Brown Taylor
Piedmont College
Gushee-croppedDavid P. Gushee
Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University

Featured Speakers and Guests

Banquet Speaker Barbara Brown Taylor

Barbara Brown Taylor is the Butman Professor of Religion at Piedmont College in northeast Georgia, An Episcopal priest since 1984, she is the author of twelve books, including the New York Times bestseller An Altar in the World, published by HarperOne in February 2009. Read more

Keynote Speaker David Gushee

David P. Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University. He is the author or editor of 15 books, primarily in Christian social ethics, most recently The Sacredness of Human Life (Eerdmans, 2013). A widely sought commentator on issues of faith and public life, Professor Gushee has appeared in most major media and writes regularly for the Huffington Post and other outlets. He and his family live in Atlanta. Read more

Musician Julie Powell Caldwell

Julie Powell Caldwell, currently on the music staff of Athens First United Methodist Church, holds a B.A. in Music Composition from Washington & Lee University as well as an M.M. in Music Composition from the University of Georgia.  She was the Worship Leader of Sundays @ The Morton, the contemporary service of Athens First UMC, for seven years and currently directs the music for the 8:30 service.  Additionally, she leads the AFUMC Women’s Ministry and has taught and designed small group studies and retreats.  Julie has recorded several CDs of original music (both pop and religious) and of hymns and spirituals.  She has performed at many of the clubs and festivals in Athens when she was an aspiring rock star.  She is married to Chris and has two small children, Andrew (3) and Katherine (4mos).