Francis J. Beckwith is Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies at Baylor University, where he also serves as Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Philosophy, Affiliate Professor of Political Science, and Resident Scholar in Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR). With his appointment in Baylor’s Department of Philosophy, he also teaches courses in medical humanities, political science, and religion. From July 2003 through January 2007, he served as the Associate Director of Baylor’s J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies. He is also member of the Board of Scholars of the James Wilson Institute in Washington, D.C.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Professor Beckwith grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, the eldest of the four children of Harold (“Pat”) and Elizabeth Beckwith (née Guido). He graduated in 1974 from St. Viator’s Elementary School and in 1978 from Bishop Gorman High School, where he was a three-sport letterman and a member of the 1978 Nevada State AAA Basketball Championship Team.
The 2016-2017 Visiting Professor of Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he has also served as the 2008-09 Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow in the de Nicola Center for Ethics & Culture at the University of Notre Dame as well as a 2002-03 Research Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. Professor Beckwith is a member of Princeton’s James Madison Society. He has also held full-time faculty appointments at Trinity International University (1997-2002), Whittier College (1996-97), and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (1989-96).
A graduate of Fordham University (Ph.D. and M.A. in philosophy), he also holds the Master of Juridical Studies (M.J.S.) degree from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, where he won a CALI Award for Academic Excellence in Reproductive Control Seminar.
His books include Never Doubt Thomas: The Catholic Aquinas as Evangelical and Protestant (Baylor University Press, 2019); Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith (Cambridge University Press, 2015 ), winner of the American Academy of Religion’s 2016 Book Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the category of Constructive-Reflective Studies; (w/ R. P. George, S. McWilliams) A Second Look at First Things: A Case for Conservative Politics (St. Augustine Press, 2013); Politics for Christians: Statecraft as Soulcraft (InterVarsity Press, 2010); Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic (Brazos Press, 2009); Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007); (w/ W. L. Craig, J. P. Moreland) To Every One An Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview (InterVarsity Press, 2004); Law, Darwinism, & Public Education: The Establishment Clause and the Challenge of Intelligent Design (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); (w/ C. Mosser & P. Owen) The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement (HarperCollins/Zondervan, 2002), finalist for the 2003 Gold Medallion Award in theology and doctrine; Do the Right Thing: Readings in Applied Ethics and Social Philosophy, 2/e (Wadsworth, 2002); (w/ G. P. Koukl) Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air (Baker, 1998); (w/ L. P. Pojman) The Abortion Controversy 25 Years After Roe v. Wade: A Reader, 2/e (Wadsworth, 1998); (w/ T. Jones) Affirmative Action: Social Justice or Reverse Discrimination? (Prometheus, 1997); and Politically Correct Death: Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights (Baker, 1993), winner of the 1994 Cornerstone Magazine ethics book of the year award.
His articles have been published in a number of academic journals including Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy; San Diego Law Review; Synthese; International Philosophical Quarterly; Nevada Law Journal; Public Affairs Quarterly; Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy; Journal of Law & Religion; American Journal of Jurisprudence; Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly; Chapman Law Review; Journal of Medicine & Philosophy; Social Theory & Practice; Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics; Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society; Cleveland State Law Review; Santa Clara Law Review; Christian Bioethics; Ethics & Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics; Josephinum Journal of Theology; Journal of Church & State; Sacred Tribes Journal; University of St. Thomas Journal of Law & Public Policy; Human Life Review; Journal of Social Philosophy; Studies in Christian Ethics; Journal of Libertarian Studies; Journal of Medical Ethics; Ratio Juris; Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture; The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology; The Heythrop Journal; Catholic Social Science Review; and Philosophia Christi.
Professor Beckwith has also contributed to a number of reference works including Dictionary of Christianity and Science (HarperCollins, 2017); Encyclopedia of the Fourth Amendment (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2013); The New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2009 (Gale 2009); Encyclopedia of the First Amendment (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2009); Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties (Taylor & Francis, 2008); Encyclopedia of American Civil Rights & Liberties (Garland, 2008); Religion: Past and Present, 4/e (English translation of Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart) (Brill Academic Publishers, 2007); Dictionary of Contemporary Religion in the Western World (InterVarsity, 2002); Encyclopedia of Religion in American Politics (Oryx, 1999); and Encyclopedia of Biblical and Christian Ethics, 2/e (Thomas Nelson, 1992).
Among the books in which his writings appear as chapters are The Achievement of David Novak: A Catholic-Jewish Dialogue, eds. M. Levering and T. Angier (Pickwick, 2021); A History of Apologetics: A Biographical and Methodological Introduction, eds. B.K. Forrest, J.D. Chatraw, and A. McGrath (New York: HarperCollins, 2020); Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews Worship the Same God? Four Views, eds. R. Campbell and C. Gnanakan (HarperCollins, 2019); Handbook of Philosophy & Public Policy, ed. D. Boonin (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2018); Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, 3/e, eds. L.P. Pojman and L. Vaughn (Oxford University Press, 2014); Political Philosophy and the Claims of Faith: Reason, Revelation, and the Civic Order, eds. P. DeHart and C. Holloway (Northern Illinois University Press, 2014); Today’s Moral Issues: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives, 7/e., ed. Daniel Bonevac (McGraw-Hill, 2013); Contemporary Moral Arguments: Readings in Ethical Issues, 2/e, ed. L. Vaughn (Oxford University Press, 2013) Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Anglicanism, ed. R. Plummer (Zondervan, 2012); Persons, Moral Worth, and Embryos: A Critical Analysis of Pro-Choice Arguments (Springer, 2011); .Bob Dylan & Philosophy, ed. C. Porter and P. Vernezze (Open Court, 2006); What’s Wrong?: Applied Ethicists and Their Critics, ed. D. Boonin and G. Oddie (Oxford University Press, 2005); The Rationality of Theism, ed. P. Copan and P. Moser (Routledge, 2003); Bioengagement: Making a Christian Difference Through Bioethics Today, eds. N. Cameron, S. E. Daniels, and B. J. White (Eerdmans, 2000); In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case For God’s Action in History, ed. R. D. Geivett and G. Habermas (InterVarsity, 1997); Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, 3/e, ed. L. Pojman (Wadsworth, 1996); Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Political Issues, 9/e, ed. G. McKenna and S. Feingold (McGraw-Hill, 1995); and Faith in Theory and Practice: Essays on Justifying Religious Belief, ed. E. Radcliffe and C. J. White (Open Court, 1993).
Professor Beckwith has been quoted in a variety of publications including the New York Times, the Dallas Morning-News, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, World Magazine, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Las Vegas Sun, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Los Angeles Times, the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Washington Times, Touchstone Magazine, the National Catholic Register, Commonweal, Moody Magazine, Christian Research Journal, the Baptist Standard and the Salt Lake Tribune. Both colleagues and students have recognized him for teaching excellence. On April 25, 2006 he was awarded a certificate by Baylor’s undergraduate journal (The Pulse) for his “outstanding contributions to undergraduate scholarship.” In November 2004 he was recognized as a distinguished faculty member by Baylor University`s Mortar Board. The students of Trinity Graduate School (California campus) selected him Professor of the Year for the 1997-98 school year. During his seven years at UNLV he received a 1995 merit award (given by the Multicultural Student Affairs Office of UNLV), a professor of recognition award by the UNLV alumni association (1992), and was a finalist for university-wide and/or college-wide teaching awards in 1996, 1993, 1992, and 1991.
He has presented academic papers, chaired sessions, and offered commentaries at the conferences of a number of professional societies including the American Philosophical Association, the American Political Science Association, the Society of Christian Philosophers, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the American Bar Association (Science & Technology Section), the Christian Legal Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, the American Academy of Religion, the Southwestern Political Science Association, the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, the University Faculty for Life, and the Conference on Faith and History. He has served on the executive committees of both the Society of Christian Philosophers (1999-2002) and the Evangelical Philosophical Society (1998-2003, 2015-2017). The 2018 President of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, he served as the 58th President of the Evangelical Theological Society (November 2006-May 2007) as well as a member of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Philosophy and Law from 2005 through 2008. He is an invited founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance, launched in March 2021. In January 2008 he was selected as the 2007 Person of the Year by Inside the Vatican Magazine. He and his wife, Frankie, make their home in Waco, Texas.