Feb 242024

Chicago Theological Seminary to Host Discussion on Religion and Justice with Christian and Secular Humanist Scholars at Annual LaCocque Interreligious Lecture

Annual Spring Lecture Brings Diverse Life Stances Together to Engage Philosophical and Theological Questions That Inform Our Politics and Sense of What it Means to Be Human

CHICAGO (February 23, 2024) — Chicago Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that the 2024 André LaCocque Interreligious Lecture will be a discussion between renowned secular humanist scholar Dr. Anthony B. Pinn and CTS President and Professor of Public Theology Dr. Brad R. Braxton. Drs. Pinn and Braxton recently wrote a book together titled A Master Class on Being Human: A Black Christian and a Black Secular Humanist on Religion, Race, and Justice, outlining ways to bridge the divide between the religious and secular to transform the world through justice.

The 2024 André LaCocque Interreligious Lecture will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2024. The program will begin at 5:30pm and run to sundown (6:57pm), followed by breaking fast, prayer, and an iftar dinner in recognition of our Muslim friends’ breaking of fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

“I am thrilled to welcome my good friend and co-author Dr. Anthony Pinn to CTS to discuss our book and the ways we can all work towards justice,” said Dr. Braxton. “Anthony is a first-rate scholar of religion. He has written extensively on diverse paths that can lead us towards justice, and he is cultivating fruitful conversations between theists and atheists. In a climate where college campuses have become sites of problematic, even dangerous, divisiveness, CTS is honored to welcome to our campus a brilliant colleague who will help us understand, as we insist in the book, that difference is not a problem to be solved but a moral opportunity to be embraced.”

“I am also pleased that we are welcoming our entire community to an iftar following the program. This is an important way to connect with our friends in Chicago’s vibrant Muslim community.”

In addition to the dialogue, the lecture will feature a spoken word performance by Georgian hip hop artist ALäZ, as well as the awarding of the 2024 Schaalman Interreligious Leadership Award.

Dr. Anthony Pinn received his Ph.D., M.Div. and M.A. degree from Harvard University and a B.A. degree from Columbia University. He began his teaching career at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN), where his research and teaching earned him early tenure and promotion to full professor within the first eight years of his career. In 2003, Pinn accepted an offer from Rice University (Houston, TX), becoming the first African American to hold an endowed chair at the University. After an additional semester at Macalester and a semester at Williams College as the Sterling Brown 1922 Visiting Professor, Pinn joined the Rice faculty as the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University, and he now serves as the Agnes Cullen Arnold Distinguished Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religion. In addition to his work at Rice, Pinn has served as the first Executive Director of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, and he also served on the Meadville Lombard Theological School Board of Trustees. Pinn is a member of the Religion Advisory Board at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. He also has worked with the Aspen Institute on its “Inclusive America” Project, and he serves on the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Board of Directors and the Panel on Theological Education. In 2021, he became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of his contributions to scholarship.

Dr. Brad Braxton is President and Professor of Public Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary. He is also the Founding Senior Pastor of The Open Church, an inclusive congregation in Baltimore, Maryland. He recently served as the Senior Program Advisor for “Creative Encounters: Living Religions in the United States,” the 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on religious diversity that brought more than 100,000 people to the National Mall in Washington, DC. Braxton holds a Ph.D. from Emory University, where he was a George W. Woodruff Fellow, a master’s degree from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.A. degree from the University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

He is also a seasoned educator who has held professorships at Southern Methodist University, Vanderbilt University, and Wake Forest University, as well as lectureships at Georgetown University, Harvard Divinity School, and McCormick Theological Seminary. His leadership has extended beyond the academy to cultural, philanthropic, and religious organizations. He formerly served as the Director of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, the Program Officer for Religion in the Public Sphere at the Ford Foundation in New York City, the Senior Minister of the Riverside Church in New York City, and the Senior Pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

To register for the 2024 André LaCocque Interreligious Lecture, please visit https://bit.ly/lacocque2024.


About Chicago Theological Seminary

Since its inception, CTS has lived on the edge – literally and figuratively. Established in the boomtown of Chicago in 1855, the Seminary’s first mission was to train church leaders on what was then America’s western boundary. Throughout our history CTS has been a leader in theological education, social justice, and societal transformation. Learn more at www.ctschicago.edu.

Brendan Diamond
Director of Communications, Chicago Theological Seminary
E: [email protected] | p: (312) 619-1733