Professor Elizabeth A. Clark, Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University, presented "Is Religion Different? Should We Care?": Contemporary Religious Freedom Controversies and Arguments on the Value of Religion" as the third in the 2012 Religious Freedom Discussion Series lectures, on 11 July 2012 at BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School.
The role of religion and religious freedom fills public debate, whether the topic is the religious exemption to the contraception mandate, exemptions for religious employers, or Proposition 8. Much of the debate, however, turns on assumptions about the value of religion and whether it is different from other belief systems in a positive way that is worthy of protection. Professor Clark explored the various arguments for and against the distinctiveness of religion and its value to society and connected these with some contemporary controversies.
Video recordings of the lecture are available at the links below.
As Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Elizabeth Clark has co-organized and taken part in dozens of conferences and academic projects with other scholars and with government leaders from around the world. She has from the beginning played a major role in organizing the Annual International Law and Religion Symposium at Brigham Young University. She has taken part in drafting commentaries and legal analyses of pending legislation and developments affecting religious freedom, and has assisted in drafting an amicus brief on international religious freedom issues for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Before joining the Center, Professor Clark was an associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Mayer, Brown & Platt, where she was a member of the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Group. Professor Clark also clerked for Judge J. Clifford Wallace on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Clark graduated summa cum laude from the BYU Law School, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the BYU Law Review.
Drawing on her multilingual talents in Russian, Czech, German and French, Professor Clark has been active in writing and lecturing on church-state and comparative law topics. She has taught classes on Comparative Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, International Human Rights, and European Union law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. She has published numerous articles and chapters on church-state issues and has been an associate editor of three major books: Facilitating Freedom of Religion and Belief and two books on law and religion in post-Communist Europe. Professor Clark has also testified before Congress on religious freedom issues.
The Religious Freedom Discussion Series is sponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School.