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Whitworth Lindaman Chair to deliver lecture on “Civil Rights for the Gay Community and Religious Freedom"

October 11, 2013

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Whitworth Political Science Professor Julia Stronks will present her third Lindaman Chair lecture, “Civil Rights for the Gay Community and Religious Freedom:  Avoiding a Constitutional Clash," on Thursday, Oct. 17, at Whitworth University. Stronks is a prolific author and thinker who has published numerous articles and books in her disciplines, including the forthcoming So You Want to Be a Christian Lawyer? She will give her lecture at 7 p.m. in Whitworth’s Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3834.

Stronks’ lecture will focus on a Christian florist in Richmond, Wash., who would not provide flowers for a same-sex couple’s wedding earlier this year. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought suit against the florist for violating the state’s consumer protection law. The florist responded by saying her right to religious freedom overrules the state law.

“The rights of the LGBTQ community are often perceived as pitted against the rights of the faith-based community, but does it have to be this way?” Stronks asks. Her lecture will explain the law that surrounds controversies like these and will suggest a mechanism for compromise when rights claims conflict.

Stronks' research focuses on faith, law and public policy. During her four-year tenure as Whitworth’s Lindaman Chair, she has worked on several projects related to immigration; sex trafficking; high school curricula that emphasize citizenship and lifelong learning; employment rights of faith-based institutions; and what it means to be a Christian lawyer. A number of students are working with Stronks on these projects.

Stronks, who is in her 20th year at Whitworth, has served as director for The Murdock Charitable Trust's $1 million grant for the Lives of Commitment Project since 2001. She is a regular contributor of op-ed pieces in which she analyzes national and regional legal questions and issues for local and national media outlets. She also is the author of Law, Religion and Public Policy: A Commentary on First Amendment Jurisprudence (Lexington Books, 2002), and co-author (with her mother, Gloria Goris Stronks, a professor emeritus at Calvin College) of Christian Teachers in Public Schools: A Guide for Parents, Teachers and Administrators (Baker Books, 2000). In addition, she and her mother wrote an e-book, Living in the Fabric of God's Faithfulness: Parents and Children Explain What Works, which is available at

A graduate of Dordt College (Iowa), Stronks earned her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. In 2003, she was honored with Dordt College's Distinguished Alumni Award.

The annual Lindaman Lecture is held each spring and features Whitworth's appointed Edward B. Lindaman Chair, named for the university’s 14th president. The position is an endowed, rotating chair for senior Whitworth faculty who are engaged in significant regional and national academic initiatives and who contribute to public dialogue concerning important social issues.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Stephanee Newman, program coordinator for political science, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3834 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or