2008 – Margaret Farley
“Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics”
2008 – Margaret Farley
Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual EthicsA Yale scholar who says justice is an essential part of sexual ethics has won the 2008 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion.
Margaret Farley, a professor emerita of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity school, earned the prize for the ideas set forth in her 2006 book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics. Winner of the 17th Grawemeyer religion prize, her work was selected from among 52 entries from the United States, United Kingdom and Brazil.
Human sexual relationships must be not only loving but fair, because justice is the quality that forms, guides and protects love, Farley writes.
“It’s an important message in light of all the confusion surrounding sexuality today,” said Susan Garrett, a professor at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary who directs the award program. “The religious right issues stark decrees while the entertainment industry tells us ‘anything goes.’ People are confused about what’s right.”
Farley draws “clear and compelling guidelines from Christian tradition on what makes love ‘just,’ which helps us understand how to think about sexuality in the context of our faith,” Garrett said.
A Roman Catholic nun and the first woman to teach full-time at Yale Divinity School, Farley has written or co-written seven books. She is past president of the Society of Christian Ethics and the Catholic Theological Society of America.
About Margaret Farley
Margaret Farley has devoted her life to studying some of life’s most difficult ethical questions.
Farley, the Gilbert L. Stark professor emerita of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity school, began teaching there in 1971. A Roman Catholic nun in the Sisters of Mercy order, she started her teaching career in 1962 at Mercy College of Detroit and also was a visiting lecturer at the University of Detroit.
Her Grawemeyer-winning book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” published by Continuum Group in 2006, is the seventh book she has written or co-written. Her other books include “Personal Commitments: Beginning, Keeping Changing” (1986), “Readings in Moral Theology, No. 9: Feminist Ethics and the Catholic Moral Tradition” (1996) and “Compassionate Respect: A Feminist Approach to Medical Ethics” (2002).
Farley has written more than 90 articles on topics such as celibacy, AIDS and faith, divorce, feminism and embryonic stem cell research and how they relate to religion. In addition, she has lectured on these topics in communities across the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa.
The recipient of 11 honorary degrees, she also has received many fellowships and awards, including the John Courtney Murray Award for Excellence in Theology (1992), a Henry Luce III Fellowship in Theology (1996-97) and a U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Institute Award (2002).
A past president of the Society of Christian Ethics and the Catholic Theological Society of America, she co-directs the All-Africa Conference: Sister to Sister, a project designed to empower African women to tackle the AIDS pandemic in their country.
She holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Detroit and master’s and doctoral degrees in religious studies from Yale.