The Thomas L. King Lecture in Religious Studies was established in 1982 by a gift from the First Congregational Church in Topeka from funds donated in memory of Thomas L. King, an alumnus and benefactor of Washburn. The series enriches the Religious Studies program at Washburn by providing a forum for students, faculty, and persons from the greater Topeka community to become familiar with the work of leading scholars in the field.
The series has been fortunate in having a number of very distinguished scholars as speakers. Previous lecturers have included Walter Brueggemann, Jacob Neusner, Martin Marty, John Dominic Crossan, Huston Smith, Wendy Doniger, Bart Ehrman, and Peter Gomes. In addition to the formal public lecture, speakers' schedules are typically arranged so they can meet informally with a class of undergraduates.
The Thomas L. King Lecture is free and open to the public.
The title of Professor Wuthnow's lecture is "Red State Religion," an examination of the role of religion in Kansas and its relation to the social and political life of its citizens. A prolific author, Professor Wuthnow has written The Restructuring of American Religion, America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity, Red State Religion: Faith and Politics in America’s Heartland, and the God Problem: Expressing Faith and Being Reasonable.