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Yale scholar’s guide to sexual ethics wins Grawemeyer religion award

Dec 07, 2007

Louisville Seminary and the University of Louisville announce the 2008 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award in Religion

A Yale scholar who says justice is an essential part of sexual ethics has won the 2008 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Margaret Farley, the Gilbert L. Stark Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity school, earned the prize for the ideas set forth in her 2006 book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.

Winner of the 17th Grawemeyer religion prize, her work was selected from among 52 nominations from the United States, United Kingdom and Brazil.

Human sexual relationships must be not only loving but fair, because justice is the quality that forms, guides and protects love, Farley writes.

“It’s an important message in light of all the confusion surrounding sexuality today,” said Susan Garrett, a professor at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary who directs the award program. “The religious right issues stark decrees while the entertainment industry tells us ‘anything goes.’ People are confused about what’s right.”

Farley draws “clear and compelling guidelines from Christian tradition on what makes love ‘just,’ which helps us understand how to think about sexuality in the context of our faith,” Garrett said.

A Roman Catholic nun and the first woman to teach full-time at Yale Divinity School, Farley has written or co-written seven books. She is past president of the Society of Christian Ethics and the Catholic Theological Society of America and codirects All-Africa Conference: Sister to Sister, a project to fight AIDS in Africa.

The Grawemeyer Foundation at the University of Louisville awards $1 million each year -- $200,000 each for works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology, education and religion. The religion award is given jointly by the university and the Presbyterian seminary.

Winners of the other Grawemeyer Awards also were announced this week. For more details, biographical information, or to download Farley’s photo, see www.grawemeyer.org

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