Hi, I’m Tom Shakely. I’m Chief Engagement Officer at Americans United for Life, a national leader in advancing life-affirming law and policy.
I tend to be a generalist, but specific interests include culture, aesthetics, history, human dignity, and bioethics. It seems to me that the American dream of liberty and self-governance is only ever as sturdy as our shared concern for the common good and a constitutional way of life, and these require both moral and philosophical reasoning. There tends to be lots of talk about human dignity and human rights, but practically no one talks about human responsibilities and duties, for instance. Since every generation has to relearn how to be more humane than coarse, I’m interested in more comprehensive thinking about these topics. When I think about what it means to be humane, I think on these questions: Who are we? Why are we here? And how will we live? All of this is probably just a contemporary (and less succinct) take on Franklin’s belief that “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom,” but in any event these ideas root most of what I write and do.
I volunteer through the Penn State Alumni Association and helped to create the Robert K. Zimmerman Endowment for Student Broadcasting and Michael D. Walsh Student Broadcasters Trustee Scholarship to support public spirit and free speech. I’m a board member for the Mount Nittany Conservancy and wrote Conserving Mount Nittany to share the story of Central Pennsylvania’s most remarkable mountain and foster a stronger spirit of place. I’m also a board member for the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia which operates Guiding Star Ministries, a maternity home offering women a way to raise their children while equipping them for a successful life in what has been one of the highest-abortion zip codes in the city. I created the John & Marion Shakely Charitable Fund in memory of my grandparents and am a past member of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput’s pastoral council.
I’m a member of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, Knights of Columbus, and Democrats for Life. I’m also a National Review Institute Washington fellow, a Leonine Forum fellow, a Charlotte Lozier Institute guest contributor, and a Sons of the American Revolution and Penn State Alumni Association life member. I’m a reader, recreational traveler, and a runner. I live in Washington, D.C. and have lived in Philadelphia, New York, and State College. I’m working on visiting every state.