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January 13, 2010

MAYA ANGELOU TO DELIVER MLK ADDRESS AT WAKE FOREST - World-renowned author, poet and activist Dr. Maya Angelou will deliver the keynote address at Wake Forest University’s ceremony honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 18. Angelou, the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest, will speak in Wait Chapel. The program begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The doors to Wait Chapel will open at 6:15 p.m. The program is sponsored by Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State University, the 10th year the two universities have co-sponsored a keynote event to commemorate King’s life. For more, see

RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE - Are persons elected to serve as government officials required to place their hands on the Bible when making oaths or affirmations? May elected officials reference religious ideas and discuss their personal religious beliefs while operating in their official capacities? Are individuals and groups permitted to use government property for religious activities and events? Those are just a few of the questions asked – and answered – in a comprehensive statement on legal issues dividing church and state that was developed by a diverse group of leaders from religious and secular organizations, including Wake Forest University’s Melissa Rogers. The statement, “Religious Expression in American Public Life: A Joint Statement of Current Law,” was released Jan. 12 at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. “The role of religion in public life has long been a source of controversy and litigation,” said Rogers, director of Wake Forest University Divinity School’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs, which produced the document. “We have brought together a diverse group of experts on law and religion to clarify what current law has to say about some of these matters.” For more on the report, see

THE BATTLES TO COME IN THE HEALTH-CARE FIGHT - Wake Forest University professors David Coates, Michael Lawlor and Rebecca Matteo look at the large issues and nagging details yet to be resolved in the health-care reform legislation now before Congress, and the battles yet to come. They examine the points that the House and Senate have agreed to and the big issues still in dispute. “Commentary will invariably focus on the big ticket items in dispute within and between the two main political parties, but there will be devilment in the details too,” they write. For more on their report, see

CAN PRESIDENT OBAMA REQUIRE YOU TO HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE? - Is it constitutional to require people to have health insurance? Yes, says Wake Forest University Professor of Law Mark Hall.  Hall says that requiring U.S. citizens to carry health insurance is much like requiring auto insurance before driving. The Supreme Court would be unlikely to strike such a provision, he says. "The Constitution permits Congress to legislate a health insurance mandate. Congress can use its commerce clause powers or its taxing and spending powers to create such a mandate. Congress can impose a tax on those that do not purchase insurance, or provide tax benefits to those that do purchase insurance.”

Press Contacts:

Kerry King
(336) 758-6084

Ellen Sterner Sedeno
(214) 546-8893

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