T103 | Religious Freedom in America: Of, For, or From?


2:00 - 3:30 p.m. EST

In-Person at BCC

1/17, 1/24, 1/31,
2/7, 2/14

Five Sessions

Norman Rockwell's iconic painting of his family’s Thanksgiving Dinner reflects our nation's founding myth: that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Colony in search of religious freedom. The story’s narrative arc closes with the adoption of the First Amendment's opening words: "Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." What those words mean today is the subject of deep political and social division. What role should religious values play in shaping law, education, health care delivery, family life—even national identity itself. Through interactive discussion, we will explore some of the complex legal, moral, and political questions raised by the place of religion in our nation’s founding and the First Amendment’s prohibition on the "establishment" of religion and the guarantee of its "free exercise."

Michael Feldberg, Ph.D. is the executive director of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom (GWIRF.org). From 1991 to 2008, he was executive director/director of research of the American Jewish Historical Society. Michael holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Rochester and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. He taught American ethnic and immigrant history at John Jay College (CUNY) and UMass Boston, founded the Criminal Justice Program at Boston University, and has taught at Northeastern University. Michael is the author or editor of several books in history and criminal justice and is currently working on a textbook titled Religious Freedom in America: The Critical Issues.

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