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Munson talk leads off series on spirituality and reproductive choice



Ziad Munson

The Women’s Center will host a three-part series entitled “Reproductive Rights: The Religious Dimension,” which will provide an opportunity for the Lehigh community to discuss spirituality and reproductive choice.

Lloyd Steffen, University Chaplain and professor of religion studies, says that religion continues to plays a significant role in gathering people into communities to advocate for positions on abortion, sex education, and the role of government in women’s reproductive health issues.

Steffen has organized the first in the series as a Chaplain’s Forum presented by Ziad Munson, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology. Munson will discuss “Decoupling Religious Faith and Abortion Attitudes: The Case of Pro-Lifers” on Monday, Feb. 16 at 4:10 p.m. at the Women’s Center located at the University Center 207.

Munson’s research focuses on the mobilization of social movements. He has been studying the pro-life movement in the United States, with the hopes of explaining how some individuals become mobilized into the movement while demographically and attitudinally similar individuals do not. He recently published a book on the topic.

“Professor Munson’s purpose has not been to pit pro-life against pro-choice, but to inquire into the way people become activists around the pro-life perspective,” says Steffen. “His thesis is quite provocative, for he argues that some people actually join the pro-life movement before developing strong pro-life beliefs. This Chaplain's Forum event will provide an opportunity for Professor Munson to discuss his work and to help us understand more about how and why people become political and social activists."

The event is sponsored by the Chaplain's Office, Women's Center, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom.

“Our best programs come from collaborating with others and this is no exception,” says Michelle Issadore, assistant director of the Women’s Center. “The issue of reproductive choice has been limited to discussion of abortion, while there are multiple other issues to consider—family planning, forced sterilization, sex education, and more. We want to open up that full discussion at Lehigh and create space for students who identify as spiritual.”

Two additional events will round out the series, including a future Chaplain’s Forum with community clergy member Beth Goudy. Also, a March 30 event planned by Issadore and Seth Goren, rabbi and director of the Hillel Society, will discuss abstinence-only education, the value of life, and the overlap between religion and politics.

“We hope that these programs will encourage Lehigh students, regardless of their personal stances on the matters in question, to think more critically and knowledgeably about these key ethical, moral and political issues of our time,” says Goren.

--Tricia Long


Posted on Friday, February 13, 2009

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