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Please note that the headlines posted do not necessarily reflect opinions or attitudes of members of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. We strive for balance in presenting issues of potential interest to our readers.
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Photo credit: Barry Bussey
The 17th annual "Meeting of Experts," organized by the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) met August 10-14, 2015, at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. A diverse panel of scholars, representing universities and organizations from seven countries, examined the role of religion in current global conflicts while also focusing on ways that faith can forge peace. Presenters included Robert A Seiple, current IRLA president, and Professor Cole Durham, acting in his role as President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies. You may read more about the meeting at the link below.
In June 2015 Professor Brett Scharffs participated in two teaching programs designed to create bridges between Islamic Law and Human Rights. One program was held at a leading secular university in Yogyakarta, Gadja Mada University, and the other was at an Islamic University in Malang, Muhammadiyah University. The programs bring together experts on Human Rights and on Islamic Law with students of law, Islamic Law, sociology and history, as well as practitioners from a range of NGOs. Professor Scharffs made presentations on the history and drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and freedom of religion from a human rights perspective. The papers from the courses are being compiled into a textbook that will be published in both English and Bahasa in Indonesia next year. John Lowe, who just completed his first year at BYU Law School, also participated in the program, providing informal translation support and helping with logistics.
Dean Brett G. Scharffs, Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum, Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law, and Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, participated in a Symposium on Marxist Theories of Religion sponsored by the Institute of World Religions, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on May 30-31, 2015, in Beijing. Professor Scharffs' presentation was titled, "The Relationship of Religion and the State: The Surprising Similarities and Important Differences in the Political Philosophy of Marx and Locke." The paper, which will be... more
Michael Purdy, Sen. Stuart Adams, Prof. Robin Fretwell Wilson. Photo by Tom Smart, Deseret News
PROVO — Utah lawmakers struck a compromise between anti-discrimination and religious freedom earlier this year, but left the sticky matter of public accommodations for another day.
It is one of many issues that could arise in the near future as the tension between often competing rights continues to mount in Utah and across the country.
Cole Durham, director of the BYU International Center for Law and Religious Studies, said he would be surprised if the state didn't address whether businesses can discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation, such as bakers, florists and photographers... more
BYU Press Release: BYU Religious Freedom Conference to promote 'Fairness For All'
BYU News Article: What You Can Expect at BYU Religious Freedom Conference
Associated Press (Michelle L. Price): Governor: Utah may look at more religious protections. The Washington Times —July 8, 2015
- BYU conference explores what's next for religious freedom—July 6, 2015
- A look at the ’12 religious freedom grenades’ launched by the Supreme Court decision on marriage (National Edition)—July 8, 2015
- Gov. Gary Herbert hesitant to tweak Utah anti-discrimination and religious freedom law—July 8, 2015
Salt Lake Tribune:
- BYU conference to examine religious-freedom issues—July 1, 2015
- Trib Talk: Religious freedom in wake of Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discussed the issues of faith, family and religious freedom on the campus of Chapman University on Thursday, February 26, 2015. Elder Holland was on the southern California campus when the Fish Interfaith Center was launched a decade ago, and he returned this week to help the center celebrate its 10th anniversary.
– From Mormon Newsroom (see link below).
Professor Javier Martínez-Torrón of the Law Faculty of Complutense University in Madrid, and Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University, General Reporters for the topic "Religion and the Secular State" for The 18th Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law, along with Donlu Thayer, project editor, are pleased to announce the publication in final form of the National Reports prepared on this topic.
The Congress is the once-every-four-years meeting of the experts of the International Academy of Comparative Law. The 18th Congress, held in Washington, DC, in July 2010, was the first Congress of this 90-year-old Academy to be held in the United States. The Reports prepared on the the topic... more
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput visited Brigham Young University on January 23, 2015, where he spoke to students, faculty, and guests on the topic "The Great Charter at 800" as part of BYU's "Faith, Family and Society" lecture series. Afterwards he met with leaders of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at the BYU Law School.
Archbishop Chaput was born in 1944 in Concordia, Kansas. He joined the Capuchin Franciscan order in 1965 and was ordained a priest in1970. He holds master’s degrees in theology and religious education, and served... more
Report from Cole Durham at the European Parliament
On February 4, 2015, the European Parliamentary Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance hosted, at the European Parliament in Brussels, a launch event for the newly published ODIHR/Venice Commission Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities.
The event was chaired by MEP Dennis de Jong, Co-President of the Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance of the EU Parliament, and featured introductory remarks by Snježana Bokulić, Head of the Human Rights Department, OSCE/ODIHR; a presentation of the Guidelines by Finola Flanagan, Former Member of the European Commission for Democracy Through Law (The Venice Commission) and Engy Abdelkader, Member of the OSCE/ODIHR Advisory Panel on Freedom of Religion or Belief; and comments by John Kinahan, of Forum 18. After formal presentations... more
As 2014 comes to a close, we at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies look back on a busy and productive year. We are constantly conscious of how much of our success depends on collaboration with others, particularly those receiving this newsletter, and for that collaboration we express our gratitude. We are working on an annual report for 2014, which will provide a more comprehensive review of activities, but we did not want to let the Christmas and New Year’s season pass without sharing greetings and appreciation.
Most notable as we look back is the impressive series of conferences in which the Center has participated, often as a co-sponsor. In addition to our annual International Law and Religion Symposium in Provo, we participated in or co-organized more than twenty-five other conferences this year. These included conferences held on every continent except Antarctica. Particularly significant... more
The 21st Annual International Law and Religion Symposium opened on Sunday evening, October 5, 2014, in the Moot Court Room of the J. Reuben Clark Law School on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Those in attendance and listening in via live webinar were welcomed by Law School Dean James R. Rasband and Brigham Young University President Kevin J Worthen. Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the Symposium's sponsoring organization, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, presented the Center's Distinguished Service Award to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who... more
Professor Gary Doxey, Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, along with the Center's long-time colleague and Academic Advisory Board Member from Argentina, Juan Navarro Floria, were invited as outside experts to attend a mark-up session of a comprehensive new bill regarding religious organizations that is before the National Congress of the Dominican Republic.
Also in 2014, the Center assisted with legislation in Costa Rica and Bolivia and provided research for a brief submitted to the Constitutional Court of Colombia.
Report by Laurie Williams Sowby, Deseret News, October 31
It began with a Jewish piano teacher who was dismissed from her job at a European music conservatory because she refused to give exams on Saturdays, the day she honored as the Sabbath. When he heard of the case, Professor Heiner Bielefeldt knew religious freedom in the workplace was an issue he wanted to pursue. Dr. Bielefeldt, human rights professor at the University of Erlangen-Nürnburg in Germany, was appointed as U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2010 with a three-year renewal of his appointment in 2013. He presented his report at the United Nations Oct. 23 and headed panels on the topic Oct. 23 and... more
Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum, Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law, and Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU Law School, participated in an Intensive Master Level Course on Sharia and Human Rights: Scholarly Background and Cases of Controversy in Contemporary Indonesia, held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2-6 June 2014. The event was co-sponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and the Faculty of Law, Universitas Gadjah Mada, which hosted the event. Among Professor Scharffs' contributions to the Course was a presentation was entitled "The Human Rights Framework for Freedom of Religion and Belief."