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Union professors appointed to new ERLC Research Institute

JACKSON, Tenn.Aug. 12, 2014 – Two Union University professors will join other evangelical scholars as research fellows in the newly formed Research Institute, launched this week by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy C. Ben Mitchell joins Associate Professor of Political Science and Dean of Instruction Hunter Baker in the Research Institute, which will also include fellows who come from all six Southern Baptist seminaries, several other Baptist colleges, private and public universities and other prominent institutions such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Center for Law and Justice, according to an ERLC news release.

Mitchell also serves as Union’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Baker said he is enthusiastic about joining the ERLC in this effort.

“We should do all we can to maintain the independence of the church from the state,” Baker said. “When the government becomes too ambitious with regard to dictating matters of conscience, we must remind it of the proper boundary lines and ask our fellow citizens to rally to the cause of fundamental freedoms.”

ERLC President Russell Moore said the Research Institute will confront society’s most pressing moral and ethical issues.

“The aim of the Research Institute is to be a catalyst to connect the agenda of the gospel to the complex issues of the day—and to do so at the highest levels of academic scholarship for the good of local congregations,” Moore said.

Barrett Duke, the ERLC vice president for public policy and research, will direct the Research Institute. It will hold its inaugural annual meeting in conjunction with the ERLC National Conference at the Opryland Hotel in October.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth,, 731-661-5215