Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A10. Right and Wrong, Life and Death

This seminar will explore such controversial issues as euthanasia, assisted suicide, abortion, capital punishment, gay rights and same-sex marriage, animal rights, and others. What is the role of the state, and what is the role of private moral choices, in each of these controversies? Are any of them questions of individual conscience, to be protected from government interference as private choices? Or do our responses to any or all of these moral questions reflect our society’s basic values about the nature of life and social responsibility, values which underlie our political and social systems and thus are important to regulate for all members of the society? And what is the role of religious communities in shaping their members’–and society’s–responses to these controversies? How does the separation of church and state apply to these questions? Our seminar will examine these thorny debates.

Barbara Darling-SmithBarbara Darling-Smith
Assistant Professor of Religion