Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Catholic scholars part of Emory program on human rights

Published March 7, 2014

ATLANTA—A March 26 lecture program on “Christianity and Human Rights” will launch a five-year series of lectures on Christian scholarship sponsored by the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University and the McDonald Agape Foundation.

The Alonzo L. McDonald Distinguished Lectures on Christian Scholarship will run through 2018.

“Christianity and Human Rights” celebrates the 50th anniversary of key human rights documents, including texts issued by the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church.

The lectures begin at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, at the Emory Law School’s Tull Auditorium, Gambrell Hall, 1301 Clifton Road, in Atlanta. They are free and open to the public. Topics will include the rights and dignity of the incarcerated and religious freedom and women’s rights.

Opening speakers will include Alonzo L. McDonald Distinguished Professors John Witte Jr., Stanley Hauerwas and Nigel Biggar.

Catholic scholars Jean Porter, F. Russell Hittinger and Helen Alvaré will speak beginning at 3:15 p.m.

Witte is director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory, and will provide an introduction on “The Challenges of Christianity and Human Rights.”

Hauerwas is the emeritus Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School. His lecture is “What’s Wrong With Rights? Christian Perspectives Pro and Con.”

Biggar is Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Christ Church, University of Oxford. His program will be “Imprudent Jurisprudence? Human Rights and Moral Contingency.”

Robert M. Franklinsenior advisor for Community and Diversity at Emory University and director of the religion department at The Chautauqua Institution, will present “Do We Still Believe in Redemption? Restoring the Rights and Dignity of the Incarcerated Masses.”

Following a break, the Catholic scholars will make their presentations, beginning with Porter, an Alonzo L. McDonald Senior Fellow in Christian Jurisprudence and John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Porter’s lecture is “The Catholic Foundations of Human Rights.”

Hittinger, also a McDonald Senior Fellow, is the William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Tulsa. He will speak about “The Dignity of the Search for God.”

Alvaré, professor of law at George Mason University School of Law, is a consultor on women with the Pontifical Council for the Laity and an advisor to the Committee for Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Alvaré’s lecture is “Fraught Encounters: Religious Freedom, Women’s Rights and Sexual Expression.”

A reception will follow the lectures.

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion is dedicated to studying the religious dimensions of law, the legal dimensions of religion, and the interaction of legal and religious ideas and institutions, norms and practices.

The McDonald Agape Foundation encourages distinguished Christian scholars and leaders at elite universities in the United States and United Kingdom. This new series features the Alonzo L. McDonald Distinguished Professors currently appointed, together with other scholars who have been part of the foundation-sponsored projects over the past quarter century.

For additional details, visit online at