Professor navigates path between religion and politics

Photo courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Corey

By Rewon Shimray | Staff Writer

Programs to help Christian students navigate the balance between faith and politics will be led by Dr. Elizabeth Corey, associate professor of political science and director of the Honors Program, this academic year.

As the chosen Values & Capitalism Visiting Professor for this academic year, Corey will be “instructing a week-long course during the 2019 American Enterprise Institute Summer Honors Program in Washington D.C., speaking on several Christian college campuses, participating in major Values & Capitalism conferences and writing a published essay on Christian engagement in contemporary culture and public life,” according to the Value & Capitalism website.

Corey said her research delves into the moral implications within civil rights and civil liberty cases. For her work with Values & Capitalism, she said she will “think about what it means to have capitalism that is tuned into Christian values.”

She will compare the societal and Christian definition of success in her essay for the distribution to students involved in Values & Capitalism.

“[In college,] we are positioning people for successful careers and to make a difference in the world. That’s all very good, and I support all that,” Corey said. “At the same time, I’m trying to say there is another orientation where you’re in service of others instead of in service for your own career.”

Throughout the Summer Honors Program, Corey will lead a discussion-based seminar with 20 to 25 students.

Director for academic programs as well as Values & Capitalism, Tyler Castle, said the program is the “ideal context for where productive conversations can happen.” Over the course of the week, students will meet for three hours a day to discuss what Christian engagement looks like in contemporary situations.

Mollie Moore, a 2013 Baylor graduate and director of semester program operations, formerly worked at American Enterprise Institute. Moore said the program needs scholars like Dr. Corey to “translate” the gravity of ethical and political issues to students.

“Her understanding of the higher education landscape and college culture makes her great at engaging students in these balanced and well-rounded conversations,” Moore said.

Corey is the fourth visiting professor Values & Capitalism has selected. The goal of the program is to provide educational and career development opportunities that consider aspects of both Christian theology and political theory. Castle said the organization began selecting a professor once a year to engage in its programs in order to leverage the network of faculty members it already had.

“Dr. Corey is coming from more of a political theory philosophy background,” Castle said. “That’s something the folks here at AEI [American Enterprise Institute] are not focusing on as much, especially in the context of faith and theology, so we’re looking for someone from our network that can fill in the gaps that we could use to have more resources and scholarship.”

Corey said she hopes her words will be helpful to students.

“Dr. Corey has a particularly strong giftedness in thinking through how Christians should be engaged in contemporary public life,” Castle said. “A lot of our students in our network are trying to think through those questions and how to approach them. She provides a really good model and measuring point in thinking about these topics.”