Paul Weber Endowed Chair in Politics, Science & Religion
Paul J. Weber was a deeply spiritual person, trained in Jesuit theology. Paul was convinced that religion and science are not incompatible; indeed he believed that each was critical in helping us understand the world around us. Colleagues and students remember Paul's concerns about religious extremists in America who advocate the politics of intolerance. He felt that debates over creationism, Darwinism and intelligent design would continue to polarize the country. Paul was convinced that religion has the power to enrich, even change, lives and is a force for much good in the world. Paul also realized that religion is frequently used by individuals, groups and nations to support narrow and self-serving political agendas. As a specialist in constitutional law, Paul was committed to the idea that government should be strictly neutral toward religion, not privileging any but rather providing conditions for the greatest religious liberty.
Toward the end of his life, Paul expressed his dream for an endowed chair at the University of Louisville. He wrote, "I'd like to see an endowed chair in politics, science and religion. I'd want the chair to be in political science, inhabited by a professor who understands social science, natural science and religious methodologies (and knows their differences). I'd also like the occupant to be a person who respects all three enough to do objective research. I'm interested in solid research, not polemics or ideology."
Paul regretted that many in academia did not appreciate the power of religion in forming our values. Many of the most pressing social questions of the day (poverty, ethnic and racial conflict, pollution, crime and corruption) cannot be addressed thorough a simple application of knowledge and scientific formulas. Paul felt that values must inform our decisions, guiding us toward just and effective public policies.
To honor Paul's legacy and to fulfill his vision for an endowed chair, family, friends, colleagues and former students are creating the Paul J. Weber Endowed Chair in Politics, Science and Religion. This Chair will advance a productive dialogue in the evolving relations between science and religion and will explore the political aspects of that relationship.
The chair holder will be expected to contribute a unique perspective to undergraduate and graduate programs at the University of Louisville, and will enrich the intellectual life of the community. The professor who holds this position will teach courses that will engage students in difficult but fundamentally important questions that impact our nation and the world.
We are asking those who knew Paul and his extraordinary contributions to education to help make his dream a reality.
For information about contributions to the Paul J. Weber Endowed Chair in Politics, Science and Religion, please contact Lori Kincaid, Director of Major Gifts for the College of Arts and Sciences at 502.852.6978 or by email.