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New Orleans Seminary launches new institute to study issues of faith and public squarecomment (0)

January 6, 2011

At a time when people of faith often are relegated to the sidelines in public policy discussions, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) is launching an Institute for Faith and the Public Square (IFPS) to help reframe the debate.

“The need for a Christian voice in the public square has never been greater than it is today in our pluralistic culture,” said IFPS Director Lloyd Harsch, associate professor of church history at NOBTS.

“The Judeo-Christian values and ideals upon which this country was founded are no longer assumed but challenged by an increasingly diverse society.” Harsch believes many people are confused about the role of faith in government and the political process.

Religious liberty, a long-held hallmark of Baptist belief, has even been used by some to silence faith-informed voices, he noted.

The institute, announced during a meeting of NOBTS trustees Dec. 7, will explore the role of faith in the development and application of public policy and provide an open-minded academic forum where the concerns of Christians can be discussed in a thoughtful way without intimidation. On the academic side, the institute will develop graduate and doctoral level seminary courses and continuing education programs focused on public policy.(BP)

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