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January 24, 2012 - The Morality of Debt

Ryan Messmore
Proponent Ryan Messmore


Ron Sider
Proponent Ron Sider


Bert Smith

Moderator Albert Smith

Are government debts - and deficits - moral issues?
What should America do about its debt?
Are debts/deficits related to social justice?
How does this impact me?


In this election year, you'll be hearing the words "deficit" and "debt" more times than you'll be able to count.  These topics likely will determine who will govern the United States for the next four years. Listen to Ryan Messmore, D. Phil., of the Heritage Foundation and Ron Sider, Ph.D., of Evangelicals for Social Action discuss solutions to America's debt crisis on January 24 at 7 p.m. in the Johnson Center Worship Center.

Moderator is Albert Smith, CPA, CMA, associate professor of business at Malone University.

Ryan Messmore, D. Phil., is the William E. Simon fellow in religion and a free society at The Heritage Foundation. His research and writing examines how religious commitments are brought to bear on political life to improve public discourse and strengthen civil society.
Messmore’s commentary and analysis have appeared in major newspapers such as The Washington Times and The Raleigh News and Observer, and in national magazines such as First Things, Comment, and World. He served as lead writer of a six-part, DVD-based curriculum designed for small groups, “Seek Social Justice: Transforming Lives in Need.”
Before joining Heritage in 2006, Messmore was founding director of Trinity Forum Academy in Royal Oak, Maryland. The program, which he designed and had overseen since 2001, offers recent college graduates a nine-month residential program of advanced course work in theology and cultural engagement.
Messmore received his bachelor’s degree in public policy and religion from Duke University. He holds master’s degrees in theology and Christian ethics from Duke Divinity School and Cambridge University. He received his doctorate in political theology in 2011 from Oxford University.
Messmore lives with his wife, Karin, and three children in Maryland.

Ronald J. Sider, Ph.D., is professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry and Public Policy and director of the Sider Center on Ministry and Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary and president of Evangelicals for Social Action.
A widely known evangelical speaker and writer, Sider has spoken on six continents, published 31 books and scores of articles. In 1982, The Christian Century named him one of the twelve “most influential persons in the field of religion in the U.S.” His Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger was recognized by Christianity Today as one of the 100 most influential religious books of the twentieth century and named the seventh most influential book in the evangelical world in the last fifty years. His most recent books are The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why Are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World and I Am not a Social Activist. Among his other publications are: The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World, Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America and Churches That Make a Difference: Reaching Your Community with Good News and Good Works (with Phil Olson and Heidi Unruh). Sider is the publisher of PRISM magazine and a contributing editor of Christianity Today and Sojourners. He has lectured at scores of colleges and universities around the world, including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford.
Sider earned a bachelor’s degree in 1963 from Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfred Laurier) in Waterloo, Ontario; and his master’s and Ph.D., in History from Yale University. He is an ordained minister in the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Churches, and a member of the Brethren in Christ Church of Grantham, Pennsylvania and the Oxford Circle Mennonite Church in Philadelphia.
He lives with his wife, Arbutus Lichti Sider, in Philadelphia. They have three grown children.

Albert Smith, Jr., CPA, CMA, is associate professor of Business Administration at Malone University. He has taught financial accounting since 1983 and chairs the Career Development Advisory Council. His bachelor’s degree in accounting is from the University of Mount Union; his MBA with a concentration in finance is from The Ohio State University.