The Inaugural Michael W. Higgins Lecture
The aggressive new atheism highlights the desperate need to have an informed dialogue about religion in the public square, religion and culture, and the religious sensibility itself. It is very difficult to have an enlightened discussion when the "creed rules" have been supplanted by the "screed rules." Both are deplorable. How do we re-introduce sanity and measured opinion into the debate? What is the role of post-secondary education in this irenic undertaking? And, of course, where is the media in this melee?
Michael W. Higgins
Dr. Michael W. Higgins was the first Director of the St. Jerome 's Centre. During his twenty-four years at SJU, Dr. Higgins was also Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, Dean, and, from 1999 to 2006, President and Vice Chancellor. He has a longstanding interest-both academic and personal-in the role of media and religion. Author of The Muted Voice: Religion and the Media (1999), Dr. Higgins is a regular contributor to the Literary Review of Canada , the Globe and Mail , CBC's Sunday Edition and Ideas, and the CTV Network. He is presently working on a new book on religion and the media with lawyer and public broadcaster Peter Kavanagh titled "Babble on. . ." He presently President and Vice Chancellor of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and the author and co-author of numerous books, including the widely acclaimed Stalking the Holy: The Politics of Saint-Making (2006).
This lecture was endowed by the Michael W. Higgins Lecture Fund, which was established in 2006 to honour the service and commitment of Dr. Higgins to St. Jerome 's University and Catholic higher education in Canada . As the Centre's first director, it is fitting that Dr. Higgins has graciously returned to St. Jerome 's to help us celebrate the Centre's first twenty-five years.