Ethical Analysis and Advocacy

Instructor: Miguel A. De La Torre


Office Hours: Arranged by email

TA: Hesron Sihombing | Email:

Course Synopsis:


  1. To teach students how to identify ethical and theological assumptions implicit in the moral life of persons and communities.
  2. To teach students to examine critically their own ethical assumptions as well as prevailing ethical assumptions in faith communities and society.
  3. To teach selected options in contemporary religious ethical theory, with special emphasis on Christian ethical theory.
  4. To enable students to develop an understanding of ethics which they can articulate and advocate with critical awareness as religious leaders.
  5. To relate theoretical ethical perspectives to select issues in church and society, especially those germane to pastoral practice.


  1. Participation in forum post discussions.  Specific kinds of preparation will be required.
  1. Complete required readings by the date they are to be discussed.
  1. Mid-term take-home examination.  Maximum Length:  10 pages, typed, double-spaced.
  1. Final take-home examination.  Maximum length: 10 pages, typed, double-spaced. 

A pass/fail grade option is available.  Please inform the teaching assistant in writing no later than February if you choose this option.  No reasons need to be given.


For those who choose a letter grade, the following scale is used:


            Mid-term take home examination      30%

            Final take home examination             40%

            Class Participation                              20%

            Academic Decorum                            10%


1) Written grades will be based on the midterm (30%) and final (40%) Written grades are determined as follows:

A: The student demonstrates exceptional quality in written work. Little room for improvement exists. Several primary sources (outside of class readings) are used in the writing assignment. Both effort and execution are first-rate. It is obvious that the reading assignment was critically analyzed.

B: The student’s work is above average. At least one primary source (outside of class reading) is used in the writing assignment. It is obvious that the reading assignment was completed.

C: The student has fulfilled the minimal requirements for this course. Effort and the execution of assignment are of average quality. It is obvious that the reading assignment was not thoughtfully read. There is room for improvement.

D: The student work is below average. It is obvious that the reading assignment was not done. The student is not living up to the expectations of graduate-level work.

F: The student failed to accomplish the class assignments.


A late paper will lose one letter grade for each class day that it is turned in late. If the student plans not to be in class the day an assignment is due, it is the student’s respon­sibility to get the work to the teaching assistant prior to the class meeting time. If extra ordinary circumstances exist which prevent the student from completing her/his  assignment on time, then the student needs to make an appointment with the teaching assistant to discuss an alternative schedule prior to when the assignment is due. Students who do not hand in ALL completed assignments must make prior signed arrangements for an Incomplete.  Students not making these prior arrangements will automatically receive an "F" for the course. 


2) 10% of the grade is based on academic decorum.  Being consistently present for class is a baseline expectation. Grade decorum is based on the following:

A: The student is respectful of others.  While disagreeing or challenging, the student never dishonors or disrespects. The student does not monopolize the conversation and is conscious of the need of all students having an opportunity to speak.

B: Every so often the student is insensitive to other student’s social location; rather than challenging or disagreeing with whatever point of view is being offered.  The student seems to speak more than others, insensitive that others have not had an opportunity to speak.

C: The student is disrespectful and is not willing to entertain different views. The student confuses their particular experience with the norm. Rather than paying close attention to the lecture and/or discussion, the student is texting, checking facebook, or engaging in some other form of social media unrelated to the class.

D: The student disrupts the learning experience of others by the way they conduct themselves in class.

F: The student creates a hostile classroom experience.


Submission of Assignments: In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we ask that no assignment be submitted in paper form.  Please electronically submit your midterm and final to the TA. 


Incomplete Policy: Students are responsible for following the procedures outlined in the attached document.

This quarter, we'll be having several Zoom meeting sessions as a way of communicating "in person" as well as through the online discussion forums.  These sessions will be a great way to talk about the readings and pose questions and comments in live format, and get some face time with your instructors!  Please attend at least three of the sessions.

We'll be holding them on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings from 6:00pm to 6:45pm MST.

The meetings will be held on the following dates:

Monday 1/11  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Tuesday 1/19 Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Wednesday 1/27  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Tuesday 2/2  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or

Monday 2/8  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Tuesday 2/16  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Wednesday 2/24  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Tuesday 3/2  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Book Discussion

Each week, the TA will serve as the facilitator for our discussions. The role of
the facilitators is to post questions to stimulate class discussion around the book
and other related course materials. These questions are intended to extend the
conversation beyond the 5 analysis questions, but may launch from this initial
reading analysis.

a) These conversations are an important space for our learning in this
class, so please take these postings seriously and don’t be afraid to
post more often than required. Some suggestions for types of questions

i) Connect the present book to other course material

ii) Share any questions that remained unanswered during your reading of the book

iii) Connect the present book to current events related to course material

iv) Ways in which the author’s ideological location might influence thesis or method and the ramifications.

v) Controversial or difficult topics raised in the book that could use further discussion

Weekly Forum Discussion Instructions

i)Questions for Discussion - by Monday at 12:00am
Each week, the TA will post a question or questions for discussion. You are welcome to begin responding as soon as they are posted.

ii) Initial Response - by Wednesday at Midnight
All students must post a substantial response to the prompts posted by the TA or extending the conversation by responding to another student. Please be sure to keep all posts under the original thread.

iii) Comments and Conversation - by Sunday at 8:00pm

Everyone must post a minimum of one additional substantial contribution to the conversation.

After reading the assigned book for the week, students are required to answer these 5 questions based on the reading, send them in writing to the TA's email or on Canvas by Fridays at 8 pm. The purpose is to make sure that everyone is reading the material, besides to help analyze each book. The answer should be short, in bullet form is fine, no longer than a page. This is not a graded assignment. Below are the five questions:

1. The author: who is the author and their background, how their context and background might influence their writing.
2. Thesis of the book: what is the main argument of the book.
3. Methodology and theory: who are the theorists the author engages with, what methodology does the author use.
4. Ethical issues: how does the book further your understanding of some ethical issues.
5. Takeaways: your takeaways from the book.

Required Readings

Order of Readings:

Week 1 (1/5) Kant Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

Week 2 (1/12) Sheldon In His Steps

Week 3 (1/19) Fletcher Situation Ethics

Week 4 (1/26) De La Torre Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins

Week 5 (2/2) De La Torre Latina/o Social Ethics

Week 6 (2/9) Alinsky Rules for Radicals

Week 7 (2/16) hooks Ain't I A Woman

Week 8 (2/23) Jones and  Smith Spirit and Capital in an Age of Inequality

Week 9 (3/2) Cone, Martin & Malcolm & America

Week 10 (3/9) Final Exam

Jan 06, 2021WedIntroductionsdue by 06:59AM
Jan 13, 2021WedDeliberative Motif Lecturedue by 06:58AM
Jan 18, 2021MonKant Discussiondue by 03:00AM
Jan 20, 2021WedPrescriptive Motif Lecturedue by 06:58AM
Jan 23, 2021Sat5 Questions Assignmentdue by 03:00AM
Jan 25, 2021MonSheldon Discussiondue by 03:00AM
Jan 27, 2021WedRelational Motif Lecturedue by 06:58AM
Jan 30, 2021Sat5 Questions Assignmentdue by 03:00AM
Feb 01, 2021MonFletcher Discussiondue by 03:00AM
Feb 03, 2021WedLiberationist Lecturedue by 06:58AM
Feb 06, 2021Sat5 Questions Assignmentdue by 03:00AM
Feb 08, 2021MonDe La Torre Discussion #1due by 03:00AM
Feb 10, 2021WedPostmodern/Postcolonial Lecturedue by 06:58AM
Feb 13, 2021Sat5 Questions Assignmentdue by 03:00AM
Feb 13, 2021SatMidtermdue by 06:59AM
Feb 15, 2021MonDe La Torre Discussion #2due by 03:00AM
Feb 17, 2021WedPolitical Ethics Materialsdue by 06:58AM
Feb 20, 2021Sat5 Questions Assignmentdue by 03:00AM
Feb 22, 2021MonAlinsky Discussiondue by 03:00AM
Feb 24, 2021WedGender Ethics Materialsdue by 06:58AM
Feb 27, 2021Sat5 Questions Assignmentdue by 03:00AM
Mar 01, 2021Monhooks Discussiondue by 03:00AM
Mar 03, 2021WedClass Ethics Materialsdue by 06:58AM
Mar 06, 2021Sat5 Questions Assignmentdue by 03:00AM
Mar 08, 2021MonJones & Smith Discussiondue by 03:00AM
Mar 10, 2021WedRace Ethics Materialsdue by 06:58AM
Mar 11, 2021ThuFinal Examdue by 06:59AM
Mar 13, 2021Sat5 Questions Assignmentdue by 03:00AM
Mar 15, 2021MonCone Discussiondue by 02:00AM