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Union University Department of Political Science

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Franck Discusses Religious Liberty

Sep 18, 2012

 On Monday evening the Department of Political Science and the Center for Politics & Religion sponsored a lecture by Dr. Matthew Franck in the Grant Center for commemorate Constitution Day. Dr. Franck’s lecture, “Individual, Community and State: How to Think about Religious Freedom,” drew from James Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance as well as the Second Vatican Council to argue that governments are meant to serve the people and their associations rather than the reverse. Both James Madison and the Catholic Fathers who authored Dignitatis Humanae argued that the freedom of religion and conscience require a free assent by their very nature. In other words, the government cannot force citizens to believe what they honestly do not believe, nor can the government require citizens to perform actions they believe violate their consciences. He critiqued the Obama administration’s record on religious liberty by describing several cases and legal controversies previous and ongoing. At the conclusion of the address, Dr. Franck took several questions from the audience, which was made up of a mix of students from Union and Jackson State, as well as members of the community.