“An authentic faith … always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it … . If indeed ‘the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics,’ the Church, ‘cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.’”- Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, No. 183
The impact of faith on politics is examined in text, talks, discussion, and excursion not to debating topics but with the goal of promoting Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel Message in the public sphere.
Faith and Politics Speakers
David Elliot, Phd
David Elliot is an Assistant Professor of Moral Theology and Ethics at the Catholic University of America. He came to CUA in 2017 following a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship as Research Associate in Theological Ethics at Cambridge University, where he was concurrently a Research Associate in ethics at The Von Hügel Institute, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge. His research focuses on virtue ethics and the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, and includes work on the theological virtue of hope, Christian social ethics, Scripture and ethics, and the art of dying. He received his Ph.D. in moral theology at the University of Notre Dame in 2014, and wrote his dissertation on theological hope.
Elliot has worked on ethical and social issues with the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, as well as members of the British House of Lords, and he is an ethics analyst for the BBC. We are lucky to have him on faculty in the School of Theology and Religious studies now that he has moved to the United States with his family.
Nathaniel Hurd is a senior policy advisor at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, more commonly known as the Helsinki Commission. The commission monitors human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental, and military cooperation in the 57 member countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, including the United States. Before coming to the Helsinki Commission, Nathaniel was Senior Policy Advisor for Conflicts and Disasters at World Vision and held similar positions at the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps. Nathaniel became Catholic in 2005 at age 28 and left professional work in the summer of 2009 to discern the priesthood as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Washington. Nathaniel discerned out in the summer of 2010. He and his wife Kristin have two children: Benedict, now almost four years old, and Catherine, born a year ago.
Congressman Michael A. Ferguson
Congressman Mike Ferguson represented New Jersey in the U.S. House from 2001 to 2009. He served as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and as Vice Chairman of the Health Subcommittee.
In 2005, citing his family’s own experience in providing care to his mother as she fought cancer, Ferguson sponsored the Lifespan Respite Care Act, which authorized $289 million in grants to states to train volunteers and provide respite care services to sick and elderly family members or children with special needs. President George W. Bush signed Ferguson’s legislation into law December 21, 2006.
He founded Ferguson Strategies, a government consulting firm, and he served as a Senior Fellow of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest’s Odyssey Initiative for Biomedical Innovation and Human Health. Congressman Ferguson joined BakerHostetler in June 2016 where he acts as Senior Advisor and leader of the Federal Policy team.
He is from Ridgewood, NJ; graduated from Delbarton School, Morristown, N.J.; B.A., University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.; M.P.A., Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. He still resides in the greater DC area with his wife and kids.
Congressman Ferguson, and staff members from current New Jersey Congressmen, lead Light the World! in a behind the scenes tour of the US Capitol Building complete with anecdotes of his faith informing his own daily work.
My favorite day was the touring of the Capitol with Mr. Ferguson, former Congressman from New Jersey. It was particularly interesting because he knew the places he wanted to show us because he had been there and it was great for us to get into the VIP places of the Capitol building that not many people get to. –Martina, Participant