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Student Club Will Host Two Visiting Lecturers This Week

March 14th, 2011

By Sarah Pride

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

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Professor Dr. Richard Gamble during the panel discussion of the fall 2009 faith and reason seminar at PHC

Taking advantage of the College’s comfortable communal gathering spot in the Barbara Hodel Center Coffeehouse, the student Alexis de Tocqueville Society will this week host two guest lecturers. On Tuesday evening, March 15, at 7:00 p.m., visiting professor Dr. Glenn Moots will ask “Is There Such a Thing as Christian America?”, discussing the idea of a Christian political system and demonstrating, he says, “why America’s theological trajectory breaks with that traditional idea.”

The second lecture will take place on Friday evening, March 18, at 6:00p.m., when visiting professor Dr. Richard Gamble addresses the interaction between church and state in America from yet another perspective. In his lecture, entitled “How the John Winthrop Speech Became the Ronald Reagan Speech,” he will explain how the term “city on a hill,” originally picked up from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount by Puritan John Winthrop, became a “myth about the United States” during Ronald Reagan’s run for the Presidency.

“The story of how, in the words of Senator John Danforth, the ‘Winthrop message’ became the ‘Reagan message’ illuminates a larger story about American exceptionalism, about the boundary between Church and State in America, and about the implications of the American civil religion for Christians seeking to be good citizens of the temporal and eternal kingdoms,” stated Dr. Gamble.

Both Dr. Moots and Dr. Gamble were introduced to PHC through Dr. Mark Mitchell, PHC’s Associate Professor of Government and Chairman of the Department of Government. Serving as a fellow alongside Dr. Mitchell at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute/Lehrman American Studies Center’s Summer Institute at Princeton in 2005, Dr. Moots says he developed both admiration and respect for his new colleague.

“Since then, I've continually been impressed not only with Mark's work but also with the curriculum and caliber of students at PHC,” he related. “As a homeschooling father, I am particularly interested in where students are coming from. And as I consider the direction of American politics and culture, I am watching the trajectory of the graduates too.”

About his lecture on the idea of a “Christian America,” Dr. Moots observed: “Both sides of this debate are doing a lot of grasping now because they don't know the history or the theology. America is really in uncharted waters as far as its relationship to the Church. That doesn't mean that we're on the right road or the wrong road. We're carving out a new road.”

Dr. Moots earned his PhD at Louisiana State University. He has been published in a wide range of scholarly peer-reviewed journals, including Locke Studies, Perspectives on Political Science, Hebraic Political Studies, and the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is the author of Politics Reformed: The Anglo-American Legacy of Covenant Theology, which was published by the University of Missouri Press in July of 2010.

Dr. Richard M. Gamble is the Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Professor of History and Political Science and Associate Professor of History at Hillsdale College. He formerly taught in the honors program at Palm Beach Atlantic University and is the author of The War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great War, and the Rise of the Messianic Nation and editor of The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being. In spring 2009, Dr. Gamble presented PHC’s Faith and Reason seminar.

“People should come to the lectures because they combine fantastic insights with eloquent presentation,” said senior Barton Gingerich, current Moderator of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society and an ISI Honors Fellow, “All of these men have made significant strides in their field.  Moreover, the topics are of great importance to Christians.”

Next month, on April 28 at 7:30pm, guest Dr. Wilfred McClay will present another lecture, entitled “Herbert Butterfield and the Task of the Christian Historian.”

The Alexis de Tocqueville Society is a student-led, voluntary association which seeks to facilitate discussion and further critical reflection among the student body of Patrick Henry College. The Society strives to foster a spirit of intellectual inquiry and rigor through the publication of a journal, Notes on the Times, and the invitation of noted thinkers and speakers to lecture on a variety of topics.