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Co-sponsored by Liberty Fund, Inc., this is an intellectually demanding and stimulating weekend colloquium that explores the foundations of liberty in a mixture of graduate-level text-based, guided Socratic discussion and lecture sessions.

This colloquium is intended for Acton alumni who are seminarians, clergy, and professionals in religious/ non-profit contexts. 

This colloquium is planned to be in-person in accordance with safe meeting guidelines, which includes wearing a facemask to cover mouth and nose. Individuals not comfortable with meeting in-person, or not able to follow Acton Institute's Meet Safe guidelines, should not apply to this program.

Religion, Liberty, and American Culture

This colloquium explores the place of religion and religious belief in the history of America and considers its significance for liberty, American politics, culture, and the economy. The readings will proceed chronologically from the pre-founding period to the early twenty-first century. This colloquium will examine how religion has shaped a changing American culture and how aspects of the American experiment have affected the character and influence of religious belief in America. It will involve asking questions such as: What was the nature of religious freedom at America's conception?, How did it influence other aspects of American thought?, How did such ideas change over time?, What is the significance of religion for America's political and economic development?

  • This colloquium will consist of 6 guided Socratic discussion sessions.
  • The discussion sessions are text-based and so selected participants are required to prepare appropriately and participate fully in all sessions.
  • Readings will be provided to all accepted participants.
  • This colloquium is intended for seminarians, clergy, and professionals in religious/ non-profit contexts.

Covid-19 Conference Information

  • The intent is to hold this program in-person with appropriate safety precautions according to the local and federal guidelines. All accepted attendees will be required to follow safe meeting guidelines provided by Acton Institute, which includes wearing a facemask to cover mouth and nose. Individuals not comfortable with meeting in-person, or not able to follow Acton Institute's safe meeting guidelines, should not apply to this program.
  • Should local or federal regulations change, Acton Institute staff will communicate next steps in a timely fashion.
  • Due to current travel restrictions, this program is open to individuals currently living in the USA.

Application Information

  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the colloquium has been filled.
  • These programs tend to fill quickly, especially as space is limited to 15 attendees.
  • Waiting lists are not maintained for these colloquia. When the program has been filled, the application will be closed.

Event Details

Start Date

End Date


JW Marriot Grand Rapids
235 Louis St NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
United States

Length of Event

This colloquium beings at 6:30pm on Thursday, April 8, 2021 and concludes late on Saturday, April 11 for Sunday morning departures. A full schedule will be provided to accepted participants. 

More Information

Accepted participants will receive a conference package that includes single-occupancy lodging, meals, and limited travel assistance. There are no fees to attend; participants must apply to attend.

Download Sample Schedule or Frequently Asked Questions.

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