Vision & Values conference explores freedom under threat

The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College’s annual conference examines a fundamental American freedom that is now under attack.

“Most Sacred: Freedom of Conscience in America," a two-day event featuring some of America’s leading conservative thinkers, is set for April 4 and 5, 2019, on campus.

There are few more honored rights in American history and the Christian tradition than freedom of conscience. Founding father James Madison insisted that an individual’s conscience was a possession “more sacred than his castle.” Just as one has the right to property, one has the right to conscience, which the state should not infringe upon. It is a natural right and a fundamental right.

“Religious liberty and freedom of conscience are literally sacred rights in American history. Unfortunately, they are under assault in contemporary society, especially by cultural ideologues. We need to strive to ensure that this precious right is protected in America. I believe it’s a matter of education and teaching the next generation why this right is so sacred,” Paul Kengor, professor of political science and the Center’s senior director and chief academic fellow, said. “We must also remember that genuine tolerance and diversity is about respecting the rights of conscience among those you disagree with. This, too, must be taught.”

The conference will explore: What is freedom of conscience properly understood? What is the tradition of conscientious objection, not just to Americans specifically but to Christians generally? What are its roots and applications from Biblical times to modern times? Who are its earliest martyrs and modern warriors? Which cases stand out and speak to us? Why is this a freedom worth preserving? And above all, how should we at Grove City College—an institution dedicated to faith and freedom, to the foundations of a faithful and free society, and to the mission of forming the very consciences of our students—respond to threats to freedom of conscience in today’s chaotic culture?

Noted scholars, thought leaders and Grove City College faculty will present lectures and seminars throughout the conference. For a complete schedule, visit the conference website:

Among the notables assembled for the conference are:

  • Coleen Sheehan, Ph.D., professor of political science, Villanova University, speaking on “Our First Freedoms.”
  • Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, speaking on “Feelings Over Faith: How Hollywood Shifted the American Imperative from ‘Do Your Duty’ to ‘Follow Your Heart.’”
  • Kristen Waggoner, attorney and senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, interviewed by Grove City College Professor Emeritus John Sparks ’66 on “A Cakeshop, Florist, Pharmacy and More: The Court on Freedom of Conscience.”
  • David French, senior writer at National Review and senior fellow at the National Review Institute, speaking on “Civility Isn’t Surrender: A Defense of Decency in the Modern Age.”
  • Ryan Anderson, Ph.D., William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of “When Harry Became Sally,” speaking on “Not Every Disagreement is Discrimination: On the Uses and Abuses of Anti-Discrimination Policy.”
  • Paul J. McNulty ’80, president of Grove City College, speaking on “A Clear Conscience and the Common Good: Respecting the Rights of Conscience in a Free Society.” 

To register, visit the website at, email or call 724-450-1541.

The Center for Vision & Values is a conservative think tank strengthening the faith and freedom foundation of American citizenship. Its mission is to promote those principles to the next generation of American leaders and to share them with the wider world. It does this by working with student leaders to study, engage and advocate for the foundational philosophies of a free society; hosting events on- and off-campus to advance the freedom movement; and disseminating research and ideas from Grove City College faculty and affiliated scholars through the media, reaching millions of viewers and readers.

Vision & Values conference explores freedom under threat

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