As part of theological and religious reflection, we study and support matters of economic and ecological justice and its implications for religious communities and the wider public. Our educational and organizing resources are developed especially for communities and scholars as they engage religion in working towards economic and ecological justice. Through our strategic partnerships between the academy, religious communities, social movements, and the broader public, we aim to inform and support the work of those dedicated to justice and deep solidarity.
Justice, in many religious traditions, is not an abstract idea but tied to the life of embodied communities. To be just means to restore and to build community at all levels: personal, public, political, and economic. At the Wendland-Cook Religion and Justice program, we believe addressing the relationship between religion and matters of economic and ecological justice is foundational to the flourishing of all people and the planet.
The history of collective and faithful struggle for justice at Vanderbilt Divinity School is crucial to the work and mission of The Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice. Some of those who led this struggle are nationally known, like Rev. James Lawson. Others are less recognizable but no less important: like Dr. Alva Taylor — and his students Claude Williams and Howard “Buck” Kester — and Rev. Kelly Miller Smith Sr. Always a part of larger movements in racial and economic justice, these figures are at the heart of the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice. Read more »
Photo from the MLK Series - Candlelight vigil/Keynote address with James Lawson. (John Russell/Vanderbilt University)