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April 9, 2002


LA CROSSE, Wis.—Debates over the Ten Commandments monument and the Hiawatha statue located in La Crosse’s public parks are just two examples of the issues that have filled the pages of the newspaper and the City Council agenda of late. But La Crosse is just one of the communities throughout the U.S. that feels the division that results from such controversies.

Join America’s leading expert on ethics, politics, and religion, Jean Bethke Elshtain, as she examines the issues of living in community during a talk on Thursday, April 18 in the Viterbo Fine Arts Center Main Theatre as part of the D.B. Reinhart institute for Ethics in Leadership Lecture Series.
Elshtain’s talk, title "You Can’t Be Different All By Yourself: Citizens and Communities," will explore questions like:

  • Is religious expression a threat to democracy?
  • How should our First Amendment rights apply to the current controversies concerning religion in public life?
  • And how can we, as members in community, live with difference on controversial issues?

The author of Democracy on Trial, Religion in American Public Life (co-author), and Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy, Elshtain is also a national and international guest lecturer who has held more than two dozen endowed lectureships. A graduate of Colorado State University, Elshtain went on to earn a master’s degree in history as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow before turning to the study of politics. She received her doctoral degree in politics from Brandeis University in 1973. Elshtain has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; a Scholar in Residence at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Conference and Study Center in Como, Italy; and a Guggenheim Fellow. Currently, she is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Ethics at the University of Chicago, serves as chair of the Council on

Families in America, and is co-director of the recently established Pew Forum on Religion and American Public Life. She has been a visiting professor at Oberlin College, Yale University, and Harvard University. She also currently Elshtain is the recipient of seven honorary degrees.
"You Can’t Be Different All By Yourself: Citizens and Communities," which will be at 7:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. It is funded in part by a grant from the La Crosse Community Foundation.

Elshtain’s talk is being held in conjunction with "Community: Living with Difference in Art, Religion, and Politics, the 2002 Ethics Across the Disciplines Conference at Viterbo University, April 18-20.

For more information, contact Richard Kyte, director of the Ethics Institute, at 608-796-3704, email

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