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Renowned theologian Martin E. Marty will deliver the plenary address at the public forum "The Sacred and the Secular: Tolerance and Conflict in Democratic Life," Friday, April 6 at Old Dominion University.

Free and open to the public, the forum will be held in two sessions, 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., in the Chandler Recital Hall in the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center.

"The 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the nature, the history, and the future of democracy," said Lawrence J. Hatab, Louis I. Jaffe Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies who organized the forum. "An essential element in modern conceptions of democracy is the ideal of tolerance, understood as the capacity to coexist with differing beliefs. In particular, the historical promotion of tolerance often referred to religious beliefs."

The first session, from 3-5 p.m., will feature presentations and discussions by panelists Hatab; Stephen K. Medvic, associate professor of government at Franklin and Marshall College; Robert H. Holden, professor of history at ODU; and Tamara Sonn, the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the College of William and Mary. The panel discussion will be moderated by Kurt Taylor Gaubatz, associate professor of international studies at Old Dominion.

The evening session, from 7-9 p.m., will begin with welcoming remarks by G. William Whitehurst, a former U.S. Congressman and current Kaufman Lecturer in Public Affairs at Old Dominion University. Marty will deliver the plenary address immediately following.

Marty is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he taught chiefly in the Divinity School for 35 years and where the Martin Marty Center has since been founded to promote "public religion" endeavors.

A prolific writer, he is the author of more than 50 books, including "Righteous Empire," for which he won the National Book Award; the three-volume "Modern American Religion"; "The One and the Many: America's Search for the Common Good." Additionally, he is a columnist for the Christian Century, editor of the semimonthly religion newsletter Context, and a contributor to Sightings.

A Lutheran pastor ordained in 1952, Marty served parishes in the west and northwest suburbs of Chicago for a decade before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1963. He also served as president of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the American Catholic Historical Association. He served on two U.S. Presidential Commissions and was director of both the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Public Religion Project at the University of Chicago. He was the founding president of the Park Ridge Center for the Study of Health, Faith, and Ethics and is now the George B. Caldwell Senior-Scholar-in-Residence there.

For more information about the forum call 683-3114.

This article was posted on: March 29, 2007

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.