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January 25, 2012

William May to Discuss “Testing the National Covenant,” Feb. 29

Ethicist William F. May, in his recent book, argues that the biblical idea of a covenant, which binds people together for a common good, offers a more promising way to deal with national problems than the language of contract, which is grounded in self-interest alone.

May, who held the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History in 2007 at the Library of Congress’ John W. Kluge Center, will talk about his book "Testing the National Covenant: Fears and Appetites in American Politics" at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 29 in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the Kluge Center, the lecture is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are needed. A reception with special guest Cary Maguire will follow.

May founded and chaired the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University and the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at Southern Methodist University. He also held the Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Chair at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University. He is currently a senior fellow at the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life at the University of Virginia.

His honors include national service on the subgroup Ethical Foundations for the Clinton Task Force on Health Care Reform and on the President’s Council on Bioethics (2002-2004). He has received distinguished teaching awards from Indiana University, the American Academy of Religion and Southern Methodist University. From the Yale Divinity School, he received the Alumni Award for Distinction in Theological Education. He was selected as a national lecturer by the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

The Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History was established to explore the history of America with special attention to the ethical dimensions of domestic economic, political, and social policies. Cary Maguire is Chair and President of Maguire Oil Company and Maguire Energy Company and Chair of Components Corporation of America and Staco Inc. Maguire is a member of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another, to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit

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PR 12-022
ISSN 0731-3527

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