Stories this week at WFU

GOD AND THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – James Dunn, adjunct professor of Christianity and public policy at Wake Forest Divinity School, says the ongoing debate about the line “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is nothing more than a “tempest in a teapot.” Dunn, a veteran of Washington, D.C., politics and scholar of issues related to separation of church and state, said the Supreme Court’s decision to consider the issue came as a bit of a shock to him. “This country has long had a tradition of civil religion that acknowledges a certain level of deity,” Dunn said. “Whatever the court says, it’s not going to change the way the American people believe or behave.” Dunn is a past executive director for the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, and he still consults for the Washington-based organization. He is available for comment on this issue; however, he is in Washington, D.C., through Sunday, leading a group of 20 Wake Forest Divinity School students for his seminar on Christianity and public policy. To arrange an interview with Dunn upon his return, contact Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-5237.

“SEX AND THE CITY” AUTHOR TO TALK ABOUT LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS – Candace Bushnell, author of the book “Sex and the City,” will speak at Wake Forest Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. in Benson University Center, Room 401. The title of her lecture is “Sex and the City: An Honest Look at Love and Relationships.” A reception and booksigning will follow the lecture at the College Book Store. Tickets are available at the Benson University Center Ticket Office or at the door starting at 6 p.m. Cost is $3 for Wake Forest students, faculty and staff and $5 for the public. To order tickets, call 336-758-4265. Television crews can tape the first 10 minutes of the presentation. To arrange coverage, contact Pam Barrett at 336-758-5237 or

OBESITY EXPERT WEIGHS IN ON WEIGHT ISSUE – Paul Ribisl, Wake Forest Professor of Health and Exercise Science, says the escalating obesity epidemic is one of the most serious health problems of the new millennium. “The most effective strategy [in countering the trend] is to alter environmental factors that foster dietary over-consumption and physical inactivity,” Ribisl writes in his article “Obesity: The Influence of Genetics, Diet and Physical Activity.” He is a featured speaker at two international conferences on obesity this fall, one of which is sponsored by the World Health Organization. Ribisl has studied obesity and its consequences on health for more than 25 years. To arrange an interview with Ribisl, contact Sarah Mansell at or 336-758-5237.

‘THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN CHINA’ – Richard P. Madsen, professor of sociology and chair of Chinese studies at the University of California at San Diego, will discuss “The Catholic Church and Civil Society in China” at Wake Forest at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 22. The free, public lecture will be held in Room 102 of Scales Fine Arts Center. The lecture will focus on whether the Chinese Catholic church can contribute to the formation of a civil society in China. Madsen is the author of “Habits of the Heart” and “The Good Society,” and is working on a new book titled “The World of God: the Catholic Church and Civil Society in China.” He serves on the board of directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. To arrange coverage of the lecture, contact Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-5237.

CUBAN ART AND ‘CONTAMINATED’ DANCE AT WAKE FOREST – With art, dance and authentic cuisine, the Wake Forest University Charlotte and Philip Hanes Gallery will celebrate the opening of “Inside/Outside: Contemporary Cuban Art” Oct. 24 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. The exhibit features the work of artists born or educated in Cuba and a “contaminated” performance incorporating song, theater and dance by internationally known dancer/choreographer Marianela Boán. Authentic Cuban cuisine, including empanadas, tamales and mojitos will be served. The event is free and open to the public. To arrange coverage, contact Pam Barrett at 336-758-4144 or

WFU PRESENTS FIRST STUDENT OPERA – Wake Forest’s department of music will unveil its first fully-staged, all-student opera, “Dido and Aeneas,” Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall in Scales Fine Arts Center. The story, taken from Virgil’s “Aeneid,” revolves around the love story of Queen Dido and Aeneas, the Trojan prince, and the conflict of her vow of chastity and his faithfulness. Tickets are available at the Wake Forest Theatre box office for $5 for students and $10 for faculty, staff and the general public. To arrange interviews, contact the News Service at 336-758-5237.

WFU TO HOST NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN SYMPOSIUM – Wake Forest will host the daylong event “Native American Indian Sovereignty: An Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Symposium” on Nov. 6. The symposium is the post-convention event for the 2003 National Indian Education Association convention, scheduled for Nov. 1 to Nov. 5 in Greensboro. The free, public event is part of the university’s ongoing celebration of the 2003-2004 theme “Fostering Dialogue” and starts at 8:30 a.m. in Wake Forest’s Benson University Center. Members of several American Indian tribal nations from across the country, as well as a representative of native Hawaii and the indigenous peoples of Mexico, will explore topics like “Native American Indian Sovereignty in North Carolina: Past, Present, Future” and “Federal Recognition for State Recognized Tribes.” A full schedule of events is available online at To arrange coverage, contact Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-5237.

STUDENTS TAKE FALL BREAK – The temperatures have dropped and the leaves are just the right color for Wake Forest students leaving campus for fall break this week. There are no undergraduate, graduate or Law School classes on Oct. 17 and some administrative offices will be closed. The News Service will remain open. Students in the Babcock Graduate School of Management had fall break Oct. 2-3.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Community, Events, Research, School of Divinity, Speakers, Student