UNF hosts civil discourse on public prayer

Noor Ashouri

Photo by Connor Spielmaker
From left to right: Dr Rick Philips, UNF associate professor of sociology; John Stemberger, President, Florida Family Policy Council; Dr. Bert Koegler, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department; Rev. Tarah Trueblood, Director, UNF Interfaith Center; Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Sr., Senior Pastor, Bethel Baptist Institutional Church; Dr. Ronald Baker, Senior Paster, Russell Baptist Church; Dr. Julie Ingersoll, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

UNF held “A Community Conversation on Public Prayer: Beyond Talking Points” Tuesday at the University Center, an event aimed toward encouraging people to converse about the topic of public prayer in the context of a civil and official event.

The event featured a panel of six individuals who were given approximately five minutes to discuss their talking points and five responders who were given roughly three minutes to comment. UNF President John Delaney served as the moderator.

The floor then opened to questions and answers between the audience and the panel and responders.

Tarah Trueblood, director of UNF’s Interfaith Center, said that the purpose of this event is to have a dialogue about something that is difficult to talk about in a civil way: religion.

Trueblood said the conversation held was not about being right or wrong but about understanding the viewpoints of others.

Sara Barbee, an undecided sophomore, said she originally decided to come for extra credit in her introduction to philosophy class but left with a new perspective concerning public prayer.

The panel included Dr. Ronald Baker, Russell Baptist Church senior pastor; Dr. Julie Ingersoll, UNF associate professor of religious studies; Dr Bert Koegler, UNF professor of philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies; Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick Sr., Bethel Baptist Institutional Church senior pastor; Dr Rick Philips, UNF associate professor of sociology; and Rev. Tarah Trueblood, director of the UNF Interfaith Center.

The responders were Dr. Parvez Ahmed, UNF associate professor of finance; Dr Raymond Johnson, Biblical Concepts Ministries president; Celeste Krueger, executive director for OneJax institute at UNF; Rabbi Joshua Lief, senior rabbi at Congregation Ahavath Chesed; and Dr David Schwam-Baird, UNF associate professor of political science.

OneJax, an institute of UNF, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Interfaith Center, and the Intercultural Center for PEACE sponsored the event.

Email Noor Ashouri at [email protected].