Nathan C. Walker is president of 1791 Delegates, a public charity named after the year the Bill of Rights was ratified. As First Amendment and human rights educators, 1791 Delegates develops legal literacy and education technology programs and philanthropic initiatives.
Dr. Walker is an award-winning instructor of First Amendment and human rights law at Rutgers University-Camden, where he serves as a lecturer, Honors College faculty fellow, and public humanities fellow. He is a recipient of the 2022 Extraordinary Teaching Award and the 2022 and 2024 Chancellor’s Grant for Pedagogical Innovation. His classes include “AI Ethics & Law,” “Happiness: Evidence-Based Research on Human Flourishing,” “Religion and Law,” “Religion and Health, “Religion and Human Rights,” “Religion and Contemporary Culture,” and “Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation.”
AUTHOR & EDITOR
He is a consulting editor of the peer-reviewed journal Religion & Education (Taylor & Francis). As a scholar in law, religion, and education, Dr. Walker has published five books and various policy reports.
‣ The First Amendment and State Bans on Teachers’ Religious Garb (Routledge 2019), which Kirkus Reviews called “a thorough, magisterial account of a timely and historically important legal debate.”
‣ In November 2016, Publishers Weekly listed Nate’s Cultivating Empathy (Skinner House Press 2016) as one of the top “six books for a post-election spiritual detox.”
‣ In endorsing his book Exorcising Preaching (Chalice Press 2014), the Rev. Meg Riley says, “Nate Walker is boldly creative—a visionary, on-the-edge kind of thinker.”
‣ Nate co-edited with Michael D. Waggoner The Oxford Handbook on Religion and American Education (Oxford University Press 2018), which Reading Religion called “An impressive feat bringing order to this topic without sacrificing scope.
‣ He co-edited with Edwin J. Greenlee the book, Whose God Rules? (Palgrave Macmillan 2011), which Cornel West called “provocative and pioneering.”
‣ He co-authored with Lyal S. Sunga the policy report, “Promoting and Protecting the Universal Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief through Law” (IDLO 2017), which they presented at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
He authored the policy report “Following the Student’s Dollar through the Federal Aid System,” published by the Pell Institute (2005), which he presented at a United States Senate staff briefing.
Building upon his work as a First Amendment and human rights educator, Dr. Walker teaches “AI Ethics & Law” at the Rutgers Honors College. This seminar builds upon his research for his current book project, Moral Compass: Principled AI Leadership (MoralCompass.ai). His upcoming book draws upon his doctorate in First Amendment Law and his master’s degree at Columbia University, where he studied how effective use of technology can enhance students’ moral and intellectual development. He also earned professional certificates in AI ethics from IBM, DeepLearning.AI, Lund University in Sweden, and Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy. In support of his work in AI ethics, Dr. Walker is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).
As a specialist in education technology, Dr. Walker designed two dozen websites and three mobile apps, including founding the social learning communities at ReligionAndPublicLife.org, EducationLaw.org, and AbolitionistSanctuary.org. He previously served as an advisor at New York University’s Virtual College and fundraised and hired a team of forty faculty and staff to build the blended learning courses for the Newseum Institute in Washington, DC, a museum about the five freedoms of the First Amendment.
As a specialist in nonprofit leadership, Dr. Walker currently serves as board chair for the Public Religion Research Institute, board treasurer of the Utah 3Rs Project, and a coalition member of the Radiant Foundation’s Faith & Media Initiative. Dr. Walker served as the executive director of the Education Law Association and the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute. He also served on the boards of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Abolitionist Sanctuary, and an advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He currently volunteers as a tutor/coach at Ready, Willing, & Able to help reintegrate formerly incarcerated neighbors of his in Philadelphia.
As a leader in various professional associations, Dr. Walker helped write the Religious Studies Companion Document for the C3 Framework for the National Council for the Social Studies. He served the American Educational Research Association as the chair of the Religion & Education group and program chair of the Law & Education group. He also served as a member of the American Academy of Religion’s Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion. He is an affiliated professional member of the American Bar Association and a member of the Association for Continuing Legal Education.
He served as a resident fellow in law and religion at Harvard University. He received his Doctor of Education degree in First Amendment law from Columbia University, where he received his Master of Arts and Master of Education degrees in higher education. He became a certified public school teacher in communications and performing arts after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emerson College.
Reverend Nate is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and received his Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary. He spent 15 years serving congregations in New York and Boston and the last seven as the senior minister of the historic First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia. Since 2014, he has been serving as the affiliated community minister for religion and public life at the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
Nate enjoys learning American Sign Language, was raised in the Lake Tahoe area in Northern Nevada, and currently lives with his husband Vikram Paralkar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Nathan C. Walker
President, 1791 Delegates
- Executive Leadership
- Financial Management
- Online Education
- Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
- Legal Research
- Strategic Planning
- Organization Development
- Academic Publishing
- Curriculum Design
- Higher Education Administration
- Continuing Legal Education
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Research & Teaching Areas
- First Amendment Law & Human Rights: Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition; human right to freedom of religion or belief.
- Religious Studies: Religious literacy, religious pluralism, American religions, religion and democracy, world religions.
- Equal Protection & Civil Liberties: Marriage, privacy law, and freedom from identity-based discrimination;
- Education Law: K-12 student and teacher rights; curricula, books, libraries; higher education finance;
- Technology: Ethical AI, EdTech, online education, social learning communities.
Current Book Project
- Dr. Walker is currently writing Moral Compass: Principled AI Leadership (moralcompass.ai), a book that explores the First Amendment and human rights frameworks for professionals to use artificial intelligence ethically.