Annual Driggs Lecture


Gay marriage, transgender rights, birth
control—sex is at the heart of many of the
most divisive political issues of our age. The
origins of these conflicts, historian R. Marie
Griffith argues, lie in sharp disagreements
that emerged among American Christians
a century ago. From the 1920s onward, a
once-solid Christian consensus regarding
gender roles and sexual morality began to
crumble, as liberal Protestants sparred with
fundamentalists and Catholics over questions
of obscenity, sex education, and abortion. Both
those who advocated for greater openness in
sexual matters and those who resisted new
sexual norms turned to politics to pursue their
moral visions for the nation. Professor Griffith
explores how the Christian consensus on sex
unraveled, and how this unraveling has made
our political battles over sex so ferocious and
so intractable.

Marie Griffith is director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and the editor of the Center’s
journal, Religion & Politics. Griffith obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia in political
and social thought and her PhD in the study of religion from Harvard University. She is the author of God’s
Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission (1997), Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit
in American Christianity (2004), and Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured
American Politics (2017) as well as numerous scholarly articles, book chapters, and review essays. Griffith is a
frequent media commentator and public speaker on current issues pertaining to religion and politics, including
the changing profile of American evangelicals and ongoing conflicts over gender, sexuality, and marriage.

Supported by the philanthropic gifts of alumni, faculty, staff, and friends, the lecture
honors the memory of O. Truman Driggs, professor of history at Morris from 1963 until
1989. Annually, the lecture brings distinguished visitors to campus to speak on topics
relating to history, the liberal arts, or public affairs.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 7:30pm to 8:30pm

Humanities Fine Arts Building, Recital Hall
600 East 4th Street, Morris, MN 56267

Event Type



Open/Public, Campus-Community, Students, Faculty/Staff

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