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Lecture/Talk, Special Event

Thomas Jefferson's legacy and religious freedom


Registration is for morning sessions only. Seating at the afternoon session is first-come, first-served.

Thomas Jefferson's Montalto and UVA's Miller Center
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Thomas Jefferson described the debates around disestablishing the Anglican Church in 1776 as “the severest contests in which I have every been engaged.” His struggle to achieve full religious liberty in the new Commonwealth of Virginia was a hard-fought contest with many crucial allies. As President, Jefferson articulated his understanding of the appropriate boundaries between religion and the state, coining the enduring but contested metaphor of the “wall of separation.”  The first panel will explore the sweep of Jefferson’s thinking about religious freedom as revolutionary, President, and founder of the University of Virginia and the legacy of these ideas in early America.

Watch it live now on Facebook Live!


Part 1: Morning Session at Thomas Jefferson's Montalto

9:00am–9:10am – Welcome by Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and Bill Antholis, executive director, The Miller Center

9:10am–10:15am – Panel 1: Jefferson’s Contributions to Religious Freedom in Early America

Moderator: Andrew O'Shaughnessy, vice president of Monticello and director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Peter Onuf, professor emeritus, department of history, University of Virginia

John Ragosta, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and author of Religious Freedom: Jefferson’s Legacy, America's Creed


10:30am–12:00pm – Panel 2: The State of Religious Freedom Around the World

Rabbi David Saperstein, President Obama’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom

Mustafa Akyol, senior fellow at Wellesley College’s Freedom Project and author of The Islamic Jesus

Charles Mathewes, professor of religious studies, University of Virginia

Kathleen Flake, professor of religious freedom, University of Virginia


Part 2: Afternoon Session at UVA's Miller Center - (Registration not required for Part 2)

2:00pm – 3:30pm – Panel 3: The Legacies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama in Faith-Based Initiatives

Moderator: Barbara Perry, Director of Presidential Studies, The Miller Center, University of Virginia

John DiLiou, First Director Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, current Professor of Politics, Religion and Civil Society, University of Pennsylvania

John Bridgeland, Founder and CEO of Civic Enterprises, previously served on President Obama’s White House Council for Community Solutions and in the George W. Bush Administration as Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council

Joshua Dubois, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and Community Partnerships in President Obama’s first term.

Event At A Glance:
3 hours

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