Noted author to speak at religion lectureship series

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    Listeners at the inaugural Daryl D. Schmidt Lectureship on Religion in Public Life will be treated to the words of an award-winning author.

    British author Karen Armstrong, a 2008 winner of the Roosevelt Institute’s prestigious Freedom of Worship award will speak Tuesday at the inaugural turn of the event.

    According to the Roosevelt Institute’s Web site, the Four Freedoms medals are awarded every year to men and women whose achievements demonstrate a commitment to the principles which President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed in his now-historic speech to Congress on Jan. 6, 1941, as essential to democracy: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

    The university’s religion department recently established the lectureship series in memory of longtime colleague Daryl D. Schmidt, who died in 2006.

    Armstrong, who often spoke at scholarly conferences with Schmidt, has written more than 20 books.

    She is currently on a nation-wide book tour promoting the release of her new book, “The Case for God,” a rebuttal to the “modern atheism” that has gained popularity in recent years.

    Armstrong’s topic, “Religion in an Age of Terror: Perils and Possibilities,” focuses on how terrorists have “hijacked religious traditions.”

    “She’s going to try to address how important it is to look at a wider picture of religion as opposed to the fanatics,” said David Grant, professor and chair of the religion department.

    Darren Middleton, professor of religion, said the department plans to keep the lecture series going as either an annual or biannual event as a “joyous way to celebrate Daryl’s legacy.”

    “He was very committed to taking the academic study of religion out of the so-called ivory tower or the dusty libraries where scholars traditionally do their work and into the public sphere,” Middleton said.

    Schmidt began working in the religion department in 1979 and served as department chair from 1998-2005, playing an important role in many of his colleagues’ lives, Middleton said.

    “Personally and professionally, Dr. Schmidt was the kind of person that one could only dream of finding in a department like this and at a university like this,” Middleton said.

    Grant said more than 500 tickets have been sold for the event, and he expects a capacity audience of about 700.


    What: Daryl D. Schmidt Lectureship on Religion in Public Life

    When: Tonight at 7:30 p.m.

    Where: Brown-Lupton University Union ballroom

    Tickets for the lecture, which are free for students with a valid TCU ID and $10 for non-students, are available through the department’s Web site at www.rel.tcu.edu.