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Middlebury Professor Considers Civility in Politics

Image of President Obama and John BoehnerRutland ~ Middlebury College religion professor James Davis will discuss the importance of civility in politics in a talk at Rutland Free Library on May 1 at 7:00 pm. His talk, Civility and Its Discontents,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.

While many pundits lament the death of civility in American politics, others argue that a commitment to civility minimizes our differences in the name of public nicety. In this talk, Davis will explain why civility is essential for a well-ordered democracy.

James Calvin Davis teaches Ethics and Christian Studies at Middlebury College, where he has been a professor in the Religion Department since 2001. Trained in American religious history, political philosophy, and theological ethics, his work focuses on religion in U.S. politics, public moral discourse, and the virtues of democracy. He has written several books on these themes, including In Defense of Civility: How Religion Can Unite America on Seven Moral Issues That Divide Us (Westminster John Knox Press, 2010) and On Religious Liberty: Selections from the Works of Roger Williams (Harvard, 2008). His latest work, Forbearance: A Theological Ethic for a Disagreeable Church (Eerdmans, 2017), considers how churches can marshal the virtues of the Christian tradition to contribute a healthier public model for the navigation of difference and disagreement.

About First Wednesdays

The Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May in nine communities statewide, featuring speakers of national and regional renown. Talks in Rutland are held at Rutland Free Library unless otherwise noted. All First Wednesdays talks are free and open to the public. See the full schedule of Rutland First Wednesdays talks.

The statewide underwriters for the First Wednesdays 2018-2019 series are The Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation, the Windham Foundation, and the Institute of Museum & Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries.

“Civility and Its Discontents” is presented in partnership with Middlebury College and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Rutland Free Library is sponsored by Friends of Rutland Free Library.

For more information, contact Rutland Free Library at 802.773.1860, or contact the Vermont Humanities Council at 802.262.2626 or , or visit www.vermonthumanities.org.

About Vermont Humanities Council

The Vermont Humanities Council seeks to engage all Vermonters in the world of ideas, foster a culture of thoughtfulness, and inspire a lifelong love of reading and learning. Because Ideas Matter.