Dr. Myron Jackson is offering his course on “The Founding Fathers and Religion” during June, with a special visit from Sean Faircloth, national secularism advocate.
Does America’s political system have a secular or religious basis? Is the United States a Christian nation, or at least one founded on theism? The course will examine these questions, along with issues of religious toleration and free conscience. We will read Jefferson, Madison, Paine, Tocqueville, and several other founders. Sean Faircloth, former executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, will join the class for a week during June. We will ponder several related issues. What does the “separation” between church and state mean and on what grounds can it be justified? How are we to interpret the religious symbols and heritage found on buildings, currency, in public practices and events, such as sermons, prayers, proclamations, and fastings? What appeals were made to religion in the struggle for American independence? How did the Founders consider religion to be an illegitimate interference with the liberty of the individual? This course will explain the religious freedoms protected under the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses of the first and sixth amendments of the Constitution. One does not have to be Christian nor religious in order to be American. This class examines the facts about the true roles that both religious and secular thinking has played in the founding of America.
start/end dates – June 1 / June 30, 2014
Schedule and readings: Our discussions will be guided by our lecture posts and by selected online readings and videos. Everything to be read and discussed is provided at no extra charge inside the virtual classroom. GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Students can proceed at their own pace and there are no video presentations that could be missed. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.
Questions? Email Dr. Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Myron Moses Jackson is a philosopher and social theorist. For the past seven years, he has been teaching political science and philosophy courses at John A. Logan College in Illinois. He received his PhD in philosophy from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, writing his dissertation titled Ironic American Exceptionalism and the Myth of the Open Self. Dr. Jackson has been forum moderator and a co-editor for Voegelinview web magazine. As coordinator at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, he organized youth initiatives and workshops designed to increase minority involvement in politics. He has appeared on MTV’s Rock the Vote and CNN’s Talkback Live as a panelist and commentator.
Sean Faircloth’s extensive organizing, lobbying and political experience includes spearheading over thirty laws, many pertaining to children and women’s rights. During his decade serving in Maine’s legislature, Faircloth earned a 100% voting record with the Maine Women’s Lobby. Faircloth was opening speaker for candidate Obama in Maine. Faircloth served two years as executive director of the Secular Coalition for America and created its Fifty State plan. A noted public orator, he was opening speaker for Richard Dawkins on three tours, and laid out a concise secular political vision at the Reason Rally in 2012. His 2013 tour Down Under, including speaking at the Sydney Opera House, sparked citizens in Australia to organize their policy-focused national coalition (his speech in Perth). Faircloth recently returned from a speaking tour in the Republic of Turkey, where separation of religion and state is crumbling. He will be on the road across America once again in the near future, trying to prevent that same fate for our country.