Sunday
Oct302016

R: Cemeteries are for the Living

Citizens of the United States for the most part do not live on land their families have owned for hundred of years. They largely do not share the practice sharing the home with multiple generations. Yet they do subscribe to the common conviction that roots matter and that ancestry ought to be recognized. Cemeteries are physical manifestations of this belief. Yet are these resting places belong to those who rest there, or do they have meaning only because of those who visit the graves?

In a larger sense, do burial practices celebrate the dead, or do they exist as a way to bind together the living? Should cemeteries be spaces used as public places, or should the focus rest on private celebration of the dead?

Join us in the newly reupholstered Berkeley Mendenhall Room on Wednesday November 2nd at 7:30 p.m. to debate this and other life and death matters. All are welcome!

Sunday
Oct232016

R: Public Schools are a Public Menace

The United States guarantee - indeed mandate - that all children receive an education. Public education is free and available to all children, and is dedicated to providing children the basic skills and cultural literacy they need to enter the workforce. Yet education is not merely to teach skills; it is meant to form students as persons. Can state-funded schools act as a force for truth, good, and unity in America? Or does American society, as an amalgam of morals and cultures, bring about inevitable conflict in public education?

Moreover, ought parents cede to the government power over shaping their children's minds and hearts? Or should communities educate children, instilling in them the values held by the community?

Join us to discuss education and related matters on Wednesday October 26th at 7:30 p.m. in the Riggs Study at St. Thomas More. All are welcome!

Sunday
Oct092016

R: Take the Road More Traveled

Will it make all the difference? Modern society celebrates the individual; it promotes the idea that happiness is the result of choosing an original path. Yet is originality a presupposition to creativity, happiness, and individuality? Or is it the product of synthesizing existing ideas in new ways? 

What is the relationship between originality and objective truth? Can persons make genuinely original decisions while respecting a moral law, or do these norms require uniformity of action and thought?

We will be meeting Friday October 14th at 7:30 p.m. in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room with our alumni to debate originality and related matters. All are welcome!

Sunday
Oct022016

R: Unite Under a Common Language

The USA is a cultural amalgam; citizens unite under distinctive American traditions even while paying homage to their heritage. Amidst this diversity, language has a unique unifying power both within traditions and across cultures; speaking the language of a community allows for participation in this community, and a common language allows different communities to communicate with one another. 

Although English is predominantly spoken in the United States, the government does not mandate a national language. Should English be designated as the national language of America as a marker of our unity? Should schools, courts, and public institutions use only English? Or should multiple languages be recognized as consistent with our identity as a nation of immigrants?

Please join us this Wednesday October 5th at 7:30 p.m. in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss an official national language. All are welcome!

Sunday
Sep252016

R: You Have No Rights

The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness number among the most recognizable of America's ideals. Yet many ideas and practices of rights have existed in societies among history. Some political structures promise only the right to life, some the right to property, and some no rights at all. 

Yet are rights derived from politics? Are they intrinsic to the human person, integral to a society, or insubstantial constructs? How can societies operate when their members hold different ideas of rights?

Join us in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room this Wednesday September 28th at 7:30 to debate this and related matters. All are welcome!