Dr. Andrew Ettin, Rabbi at Wake Forest University and at Temple Israel (Salisbury), will discuss the role of the clergy in politics at the May 26, 2015, meeting of the Triad Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, The Tuesday evening meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Polo Recreation Center (1850 Polo Road, Winston-Salem).
The separation of Church and State does not preclude the participation of the clergy in politics, but it does raise difficult questions about exactly what constitutes appropriate political participation. As a civil-rights activist, a spiritual leader, and a teacher-scholar, Dr. Ettin is sensitive to the competing pressures on members of the clergy: Since the mid 19th century, Americans have expected members of the clergy to serve as moral leaders and politically engaged citizens capable of grounding their political activism in solid theology, but we also expect members of the clergy to avoid becoming so identified with a particular political persona that they can't effectively teach and minister to the needs people with whom they disagree. Constitutional and statutory law impose an additional layer of constraints. Dr. Ettin's lecture provides members of the laity with a rare opportunity to hear how one member of the clergy tries to be true to his own moral principles while at the same time respecting important boundaries. Other members of the clergy are encouraged to come and participate in the discussion which will follow Dr. Ettin's lecture.
Ordained by Aleph (The Alliance for Jewish Renewal), Rabbi Ettin has been the Spiritual Leader of Temple Israel, Salisbury, NC since 1990. He served two one-year terms as interim religious leader of Temple Emanuel, Winston-Salem and he has been the Jewish chaplain at Wake Forest University and formerly at the Blumenthal Home for the Aged, as well as visiting religious services leader for Congregation Emanuel, Statesville, NC. Rabbi Ettin is a member of the Clinical Ethics Committee of Wake Forest University School of Medicine. A former board member of the Union for Reform Judaism National Committee on Interreligious Affairs, Rabbi Ettin participates actively in interfaith and interracial community social and religious programs throughout central North Carolina.
Dr. Ettin's academic degrees include an A.B. from Rutgers College (English), an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Washington University (English), and an M.S.J.S. from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies (Religion). In addition, he has earned a certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education from Baptist Hospital. Dr. Ettin is a Professor Emeritus of English at Wake Forest University. He has also taught Jewish studies in the Wake Forest departments of English and Religion, in the Wake Forest M.A.L.S. program, and at the Wake Forest Divinity School, as well as at Shaw University Divinity School. In 2002 he was awarded Wake Forest University’s Alumni Award for Community Service.
Dr. Ettin is the author of four books: The Service of Beauty: Finding Artistry and Ethics in Jewish Worship; Speaking Silences: Stillness and Voice in Modern Thought and Jewish Tradition; Literature and the Pastoral; and Betrayals of the Body Politic, a study of the South African Jewish writer Nadine Gordimer. . He is also the author of “That Troublesome Cousin,” in Jesus Through Jewish Eyes, and several articles and reviews in the area of English literature.