Francis J. Beckwith Invited To Be Founding Member of Academic Freedom Alliance

March 24, 2021
Baylor philosophy professor, Francis J. Beckwith, is one of about 200 founding members of a new professional society, the Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA), which was launched on March 8, 2021. According to its website, “The Academic Freedom Alliance is an alliance of college and university faculty members who are dedicated to upholding the principle of academic freedom. This principle is central to the mission of our institutions for the pursuit of truth and knowledge. Our members from across the political spectrum recognize that an attack on academic freedom anywhere is an attack on academic freedom everywhere.” The organization will support academic freedom by two means: “First, our members will defend faculty members’ freedom of thought and expression in their work as researchers and writers or in their lives as citizens, within established ethical and legal bounds; freedom to design courses and conduct classes using reasonable pedagogical judgment; and freedom from ideological tests, affirmations, and oaths. Second, the AFA will aid in providing legal support to faculty whose academic freedom is threatened by institutions’ or officials’ violations of constitutional, statutory, contractual, or school-based rights.”

Several months ago Beckwith (along with another Baylor professor, George Yancey) was invited by AFA leadership to become a founding member of the alliance. Beckwith teaches and writes on philosophical issues in law, religion, ethics, and politics. Among his over one dozen books are Never Doubt Thomas: The Catholic Aquinas as Evangelical and Protestant (Baylor University Press, 2019), Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and the award-winning Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and Reasonableness of Faith (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

The other founding members of AFA include some of the most well-known American public intellectuals from a variety of academic disciplines. They also represent differing political perspectives across the ideological spectrum. Among these founding members are AFA’s Chair Keith Whittington (Princeton), Brian Leiter (Chicago), Robert P. George (Princeton), John McWhorter (Columbia), Molly Worthern (UNC-Chapel Hill), Peter Singer (Princeton), Jeannie Suk Gersen (Harvard), Vincent Phillip Munoz (Notre Dame), Orlando Patterson (Harvard), David Schmidtz (Arizona), Mark Lilla (Columbia), Cornel West (Harvard), Eugene Volokh (UCLA), Jennifer Frey (South Carolina), and Jonathan Haidt (NYU). For more information, please go to AFA’s website.
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