• Essays and Events for Thinkers

    "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization," warned Thomas Jefferson, "it expects what never was and never will be." Alongside the academic education provided to Colorado Christian University's undergraduate and graduate students, Centennial Institute offers citizenship education for all comers, delivered on a campus without walls by way of programs, print, and the Web.

    Each month in Centennial Review, we publish essays on the fundamentals of a free and just society, adapted from speeches given by leading voices at our think tank or in the CCU community. Read the current issue here, or see back issues in left column. By way of precedent, we look to models as venerable as the American patriots' Committees of Correspondence in the 1770s, and as contemporary as Hillsdale College's Imprimis, the gold standard of conservative speech digests. Start your free subscription to Centennial Review.

    Every week or two in a CCU auditorium or other Denver venue, we sponsor lectures, panels, debates, and issue briefings for friends here on campus and any guests who wish to attend, free of charge. Centennial Institute has become known as the open forum where current issues are tested against timeless truths. See our upcoming calendar here, and learn about past events in the archive below.

    Past Events

    Fracking PanelIssue Monday: Ban Fracking in Colorado?

    Abundant, affordable, clean, reliable energy for America's prosperity and security, from domestically produced oil and gas, is suddenly a realistic possibility as the 21st century comes on. The key is a proven but newly prevalent technology called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. But is it safe? Beneficial? Or too good to be true? Political activism against fracking surged in Colorado last year and may go statewide this year. The debate was heated on Monday evening, April 21, when environmental activists Wes Wilson and Philip Doe (from right in photo) advocated the proposition, "Colorado should ban hydraulic fracturing," while for industry expert Simon Lomax and former state senator Josh Penry argued the negative. Capping the verbal fireworks, the "ban it" proponents actually likened the use of oil and gas in our modern economy to the moral equivalent of human slavery. Media outlets took note.


    Marijuana SalesIssue Monday: Can We Legislate Morality?

    Within one generation, the "brave new world" of amoral law and policy has moved from the pages of Huxley's fiction to the headlines of Obama's America. If you still uphold traditional values and a Judeo-Christian worldview, what's to be done? For Issue Monday on March 10, Centennial Institute presented a CCU professors panel on "Can We Legislate Morality? Matching Up Marijuana, Marriage, and Murder," An overflow crowd at the CCU Music Center heard provocatively contrasting views from political scientists Greg Schaller and Steve Shumaker, author and business professor Kevin Miller, and Institute director John Andrews. View complete video from the 90-minute forum here. Read Shumaker's opening statement here.


    Issue Monday: Who Hijacked Environmentalism?

    On Nov. 18, 2013 at CCU, Greg Walcher, a Centennial Institute fellow and former director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, spoke about his new book, Smoking Them Out: The Theft of the Environment and How to Take it Back. "Americans’ concern for the environment is being used against us by dishonest money-changers whose agenda has little to do with quality of life and everything to do with power," Walcher argued.


    Issue Monday: Reagan's Legacy for Today

    As the right regains its footing after bitter losses in 2012, Ronald Reagan's legacy as a visionary conservative and practical statesman looms large. At Issue Monday on February 18, Centennial Institute presented the Colorado premiere of a new PBS documentary on the Reagan Presidency. Special guests included Chip Duncan, who produced the film, and Donald Hodel, who served in Reagan's cabinet as both interior secretary and energy secretary.


    Losing Our SonsLosing Our Sons Screening

    After Melvin Bledsoe's son, a jihadist convert, killed Daris Long's son, an Army private, the two fathers joined forces to warn of homegrown terrorism. Centennial Institute hosted a special screening of Losing Our Sons, on December 10 in Lakewood. Denver's 9News reported on the event.


    News 21 ConferenceMedia fairness in 2012 race explored at CCU conference

    Students looked at political journalism through a series of panels with news professionals and newsmakers on March 2, concluding with an address by broadcaster Cal Thomas. C-SPAN brought the event to a national TV audience. Read More >  


    Does the Tea Party or the Occupy Movement best represent America's needs and goals?

    Overflow crowd heard verbal swordplay from State Senator Pat Steadman (D-Denver), former Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), State Senator Daniel Kagan (D-Cherry Hills Village), and Michelle Morin, "Mom for Freedom". Click for Details >


    WCS2011Summit 2011 Now Available on DVD

    Western Conservative Summit 2011, July 29-31 in Denver, drew more than 1000 delegates from 25 states. Presidential contenders Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Rick Santorum made their case for the straw poll. John Bolton, Arthur Brooks, Dennis Prager, Cal Thomas, Kate Obenshain, Juan Williams, Mark Steyn, and Dick Morris also spoke. The theme, "Fulfilling America's Promise," made for a great weekend.

    Order DVD Set of Full Summit - $30


    We will never forget, never falter

    9-11 Ten Year
    A student pauses by the 9/11 commemorative display of 2,977 flags, one for every life lost in the jihadist attacks 10 years ago, on the CCU campus green


    Agree that freedom is in the balance?

    Be a signer of the Lone Tree Declaration II, as presented at Western Conservative Summit 2011. Read and sign now!


     Sarah Palin at CCUSarah Palin: "CCU is spot on!"

    Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor, lauded Colorado Christian University for its strategic objectives and its support of US armed forces, in her keynote for our Tribute to the Troops event on May 2.

    Watch video of Palin's speech
    Read Denver Post coverage


    Debaters Weigh Liberty vs. Prudence

    Centennial Institute, the open forum where current issues are tested against timeless principles, again filled the CCU Music Center Auditorium on Feb. 17 for the first in our 2010 series, a panel debate on:

    Why Not Legalize All Marijuana?

    The five-way clash of views came in a murky policy climate with Coloradans having voted against outright legalization of marijuana in 2006 after approving it as a medicine in 2000. Lawmakers are now struggling with an upsurge in dispensaries and ill-defined "medical" users, amounting to what some call legalization by the back door.

    Centennial moderator John Andrews and student panelists Natasha Starceski & Drew Goorabian asked our debaters (shown below): How should public policy balance freedom, virtue, prudence, and practicality in dealing with this issue?

    • Legalize the drug in all forms?
    • Toughen regulation of users and dispensaries?
    • Ban the drug in all forms?
    • Ease regulation of users and dispensaries?

    Candidate forums help put CCU on the map

    Why is the nation watching our state's race for US Senate? And who will be the next Governor of Colorado? As the countdown to Election 2010 moved inside 365 days, a pair of Centennial Institute forums dug for the answers. The events not only contributed to civic dialogue, they also highlighted Colorado Christian University's commitment to educating for citizenship. Media coverage was wide and favorable. (See report and news links on our '76 blog)

    Governor of Colorado - November 3

    Contenders for Governor in both major parties were invited to face off on Tuesday, November 3, at 7:00 p.m. in the CCU Music Center Auditorium. Taking part in the sold-out event were Republicans Scott McInnis, Josh Penry, and Dan Maes. Democrat Bill Ritter, the incumbent, sent his regrets. Penry exited the race a few days later.

    U.S. Senator for Colorado - November 10

    Contenders for United States Senate in both parties had a similar opportunity on Tuesday, November 10, at 7:00 p.m., again in the CCU Music Center Auditorium. Jane Norton, Ken Buck, Tom Wiens, and Cleve Tidwell, Republicans all, took part. Participation was declined by Sen. Michael Bennet (D), and former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D).

    Both forums were taped for later statewide broadcast. Watch this site for air dates on Colorado Public Television and Salem Radio Network.


    Gabriel Keynotes 9/11 Commemoration as Sharia Alert Project is Launched

    Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT for America and author of two books on Muslim subversion, addressed an audience of over 300 at Colorado Christian University on the 9/11 anniversary. Her topic was "America Confronts Radical Islam."

    Ms. Gabriel thanked CCU for hosting her, in contrast to the dozens of prestigious campuses where her message is unwelcome because they are, in her words, "occupied territory" for Islamist sympathizers, partly due to the millions in petro-dollar grants (which she listed in detail) bestowed on those institutions by Arab donors.

    She urged Coloradans to inform themselves about the unusually high levels of jihadist activity present in metro Denver, nourished by radical mosques. That was on Friday. The following Tuesday, world headlines focused on terrorist suspect Najibullah Zazi of Aurora, Colorado, who has since been indicted on WMD charges.

    Centennial Institute Director John Andrews, introducing Ms. Gabriel, announced that with her help and that of Centennial Fellow John Guandolo, the institute will seek to build awareness of radical Islam through a new project called Sharia Alert.  


    2009 Fall Calendar Abuzz with Issues

    Our Issue Friday series resumed with an Aug, 28 workshop on "Liberty & Christianity: Allies or Adversaries?" led by Kevin Miller, former CCU business dean. An overflow crowd from the campus and community probed such questions as: Should the political priority for believers be righteousness or freedom? How should conservatives balance their belief in limited government with their conviction that law has a moral component?

    Watch for details on other Centennial Institute events coming up this fall, including a live broadcast with Hugh Hewitt, Sept. 18... a Colorado Springs repeat of our sold-out Issue Friday on the moral foundations of capitalism, Sept. 25... a conservative bloggers workshop, Oct. 10... another great climate debate, "Is Global Warming a Crisis," Oct. 20... and candidate debates in November for the major races of 2010.


    Capitalism Forum: Slides Posted

    Why can we say that the market economy and free enterprise are not only materially superior but ethically superior? What are the moral flaws in a centralized command economy? How is your intellectual ammunition for making these arguments at a critical moment in American history? Those questions were on the table for a capacity crowd from campus and community on July 17. The briefers were Dr. Paul Prentice, Centennial Institute Fellow & UCCS Economist, and Professor Tamara Hannaway of the CCU School of Business and Leadership. Click here for a copy of Prentice's presentation. Click here for a copy of Hannaway's presentation.

    '76 Blog features thoughtful voices on all the topics of the day. Read and react by posting your comments under any item. Pass along the link to friends. Become a registered contributor for your own original articles by e-mailing jandrews@ccu.edu.

    Go to '76 Blog >>


    2009 Washington Week Update

    Under Washington's Gaze: Former U.S. Senator Hank Brown (blue shirt, right) hosted members of CCU's Washington study trip for breakfast in the Senate Dining Room on May 15, prior to leading a half-day seminar on history and government as seen through monumental artworks in the US Capitol. One of those, in the dining room itself, is the 1910 stained glass window depicting General George Washington with Lafayette and Von Steuben. Seated clockwise from Brown were Sarah Shibley, Maria Katz, Callista Clark, Dean Bill Saxby, Mike Wheelis and Natasha Starceski. For several more reports on Washington Week 2009, click to our '76 Blog.


    Climate Debate Opens Speaker Series

    Climatologist James White debated author and attorney Christopher Horner on policy responses to global warming, April 8, at the Lakewood Cultural Center, in the debut event of the Centennial Institute distinguished speaker series at Colorado Christian University. Interest from the campus community and metro Denver friends of CCU was high, with attendance of about 400 overflowing the 300-seat auditorium.

    "Global Warming: Is the Kyoto Agenda Warranted?" was the topic for an hour-long exchange between White, who directs a research center at CU-Boulder, and Horner, whose book, Red Hot Lies, alleges unfounded alarmism about CO2 emissions. The adversaries were respectful but forceful with their dueling slideshows. Audience questions continued past the scheduled hour of adjournment.