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Relevant Religion course hopes to revive public civics discussion

Sep. 26, 2005, 2:51 PM

NASHVILLE
,
Tenn.

– Encouraging greater public participation in government at all levels – from a variety of political and religious viewpoints – is a goal of a three-part community course that begins Oct. 17. “Reviving Democracy: Religion, Politics and the Practice of Hope” will be taught by Ted Smith, director of the Program in Theology and Practice at

Vanderbilt
University
Divinity
School

.

“The level of disaffection with our political system is just phenomenal right now,” said Smith, who is an assistant professor of ethics and preaching. “Cynicism runs deep, and it is toxic for a functioning democracy.”

The classes are scheduled Oct. 17, 24 and 31 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the
Scarritt-Bennett
Center
, which co-sponsors the Relevant Religion series with

Vanderbilt
Divinity
School

. The series seeks to highlight the relevance of religion to daily life.

“We will think about the rise of the religious right, the almost subterranean presence of a religious left and ways to revive a public conversation that encourages dialogue from all sides,” Smith said. “We will discuss democratic critics of religion, religious critics of democracy and some people who have tried to hold religious and democratic commitments together.”

The course costs $50. For more information, call 615-340-7543 or register online at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/divinity/events/index.html.

Media contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens, 615-322-NEWS
annmarie.owens@vanderbilt.edu

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