Dr. Thomas S. Kidd, an award-winning author and a distinguished professor of history at Baylor University, will explore the enigma of Benjamin Franklin’s faith in a lecture Thursday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Liberty View Ballroom of the Independence visitors Center, Sixth and Market streets, Philadelphia.

The talk will explore the tension between Franklin’s well-known skepticism and the enduring influence of his Puritan upbringing with the Bible.

One of the most remarkable moments of the Constitutional Convention came during debates as polarizing as the ones today. It happened when the 81-year-old Franklin proposed to the delegates an unusual practice that received little support: To open sessions with prayer.


What made Franklin’s request so surprising? A self-described deist was insisting that delegates should ask God for wisdom. Franklin’s motion was tabled, but today, the issue still lingers.

Joining Kidd on a panel discussion are Dr. Page Talbott, a senior fellow at Drexel University who has served as president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and associate director of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary exhibition, and Dr. Randall M. Miller, a history professor at St. Joseph’s University. He is past president of the Pennsylvania Historical Association and has written and edited numerous books, articles and essays on topics such as colonial life and the American Revolution.

Kidd will also sign copies of his book, “Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father” (Yale University Press, 2017), at the event that is sponsored by the forthcoming Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, an initiative of the American Bible Society.

Registration is free but is encouraged as space is limited, which is free and open to the public.