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Dean Townes

Rev. Dr. Emilie M. Townes
Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School
E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society.

Dean Townes' insights from September's E-Newsletter, Spire

Heschel's timeless message is that there should be no limit to the concern that each of us must feel for suffering because indifference to evil is worse than evil itself. Recent tragic incidents in Syria, Ferguson, Mo., and other places closer to home have strengthened my resolve to live out my values and ideals every day, not just when convenient or popular. This summer I had the opportunity to listen to a diverse group of Nashville community leaders at an inspiring event for the YWCA’s Stand Against Racism, of which the Divinity School is a co-sponsor. Remarks by Rabbi Joshua Kullock were especially meaningful to me when he closed with a paraphrased quote from noted Jewish theologian and philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel: “…in regard to cruelties committed in the name of a free society, some are guilty, while all are responsible.”

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