Two plenary sessions will be included in the Faith and Democracy in America Conference:

Plenary Session: Rule of Law Lecture Daneen

Liberalism is Not Free: The Myth of Religious Liberty

Thursday, December 6, 2018
Prince Conference Center Great Hall West

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Patrick Deneen, Notre Dame

Christians today are apt to invoke "religious liberty" as a defense against an increasingly hostile secular state and academy. The appeal to these liberties assert the centrality of religion as a founding right in the liberal order. This appeal is understandable in the current context, but may be ultimately misguided, since the liberal order arose not to protect such freedoms, but ultimately to control the churches.

Deneen holds a B.A. in English and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University. He has served as a Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame since 2012, where he holds the David A. Potenziani Memorial College Chair of Constitutional Studies. Deneen previously worked as Speechwriter and Special Advisor to the Director of the United States Information Agency, was an Assistant Professor of Government at Princeton University, and held the Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Associate Professor of Government post at Georgetown University.

Deneen's teaching and writing interests focus on the history of political thought, American political thought, religion and politics, and literature and politics. His current work focuses on the growing conflict between, and potential new alignments arising out of, a globalist meritocratic elite and populist nationalists. His published books include:

  • Why Liberalism Failed (Yale University Press, 2018)
  • Conserving America? Thoughts of Present Discontent (St. Augustine Press, 2016)
  • The Democratic Soul (ed.) (University Press of Kentucky, 2011)
  • Redeeming Democracy in America (ed.) (University Press of Kansas)
  • Democratic Faith (Princeton University Press, 2005)
  • Democracy's Literature (ed.) (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005)
  • The Odyssey of Political Theory (Rowman and Littlefield, 2000)

Thank God for Liberalism: An Alternative History Without NostalgiaJamieSmith-crop

Friday, December 7, 2018
Prince Conference Center Great Hall West

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James K.A. Smith, Calvin College

We sense the erosion of institutions that bound us together. We feel the effects of an expressive individualism that promised freedom but has left us lonely, isolated, embittered. Is liberalism to blame? And is Protestantism to blame for liberalism? This talk will assess and challenge the histories of liberalism in vogue today and offer an alternative account of a liberalism that is the fruit, not the rot, of Christianity—and why Christians today should be defending it.

James K. A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College, where he holds the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview. The award-winning author of Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? and Desiring the Kingdom, his most recent books include You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (2016), Imagining the Kingdom (2013), Discipleship in the Present Tense (2013), Who's Afraid of Relativism? (2014) and How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (2014). His popular writing has appeared in magazines such as Christianity Today, Books & Culture, and First Things, as well as periodicals such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Detroit Free Press. Smith is also a Senior Fellow of Cardus and serves as editor of Comment magazine.