Image for Archbishop William E. Lori Receives 2015 International Religious Liberty Award

The J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies are honored to announce that the Most Reverend William Edward Lori, in presented with the International Religious Liberty Award for 2015. 

Archbishop Lori is Archbishop of the Baltimore Archdiocese and head of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He has played a leading role in gathering an interfaith coalition to promote the freedom to exercise one’s faith in both private and public life. 

Religious liberty "is not merely a privilege that the government grants us and so may take away at will, Archbishop Lori observed in an address before Congress in 2011. Religions liberty, rather, "is inherent in our very humanity, hard-wired into each and every one of us by our Creator. Thus government has a perennial obligation to acknowledge and protect religious liberty as fundamental, no matter the moral and political trends of the moment."*

In his speech at the Awards Dinner, Archbishop Lori recalled the "renewed vision of religious freedom" of Pope Francis, who... more

Image for Winners of the 6th Annual Founding Fathers Religious Liberty Writing Contest October 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies of Brigham Young University are pleased to announce the winners of the Sixth Annual Founding Fathers Religious Liberty Writing Contest

The following students were honored at an Awards Dinner held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC on 8 October 2015.

First Place:Cash Award of $4000 

  • Nicholas Reaves (University of Virginia School of Law) – "Uniquely Qualified: The Constitutionality of Police
... more
Image for ICLRS to present at the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions

The International Center of Law and Religion Studies will participate in three sessions of the upcoming 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions, October 15-19, 2015 in Salt Lake City, UT. W. Cole Durham, Jr., Center Director, and Brett Scharffs, Associate Director, have organized three sessions to discuss religious freedom issues highlighted by Parliament organizers.

Friday, October 16th, at 12:15 p.m. in room 251 F, Professor Durham will moderate a panel on Religion, Religious Freedom and Development. He will be joined by panelists, Rosalind I.J. Hackett, Professor and Head of Religious Studies and adjunct in Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Katherine Marshall, Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue and Senior Fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, and Nokuzola Mndende, Director... more

Image for 22nd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium:  'Religion, Law, and Social Stability'

The Twenty-second Annual International Law and Religion Symposium was held 4-6 October 2015 on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. This year's delegates — approximately 90 leading scholars, jurists, and political and civil society leaders from 38 countries — joined in exploring issues surrounding the theme Religion, Law, and Social Stability

The Center expresses its gratitude to the distinguished keynote speakers, who also received this year's Distinguished Service Award. Professor David Little and Dr. Gunnar Stålsett opened the conference with excellent and thought-provoking addresses. We are also immensely grateful to all of the other delegates, many of whom made considerable sacrifices to travel long distances to be with us in Provo and Salt Lake City. The depth and breadth of the presentations concerning complex and difficult issues, conducted in an atmosphere of collegiality, respect, and hope were truly remarkable. 

We are profoundly grateful as well to members of the International Advisory Council for their help in hosting the delegates, and our outstanding Student Executive Committee from the BYU Law School, whose volunteer service in planning and organizing throughout fall semester and sacrifce of time and energy during a mid-semester break, as they, along with some 100 students they... more

Image for Symposium 2015: Keynote Speakers Gunnar Stålsett and David Little
L-R: Center Director Cole Durham, BYU President Kevin J Worthen, David Little, Gunnar Stålsett, BYU Law School Dean James R. Rasband

Keynote addresses at the 22nd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, held Sunday evening October 4, 2015, were delivered by Dr. Gunnar Stålsett, Moderator of the European Council of Religious Leaders and International President, World Council of Religions for Peace, and Professor David Little, currently a research fellow at Georgetown University's Berkley Center, who was at the time of his retirement in 2009 T.J. Dermot Dunphy Professor of the Practice in Religion,... more

Image for Symposium 2015: Distinguished Service Awards to David Little and Gunnar Stålsett

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies was honored to present Professor David Little, Emeritus Professor, Harvard Divinity School, and currently Fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and Dr. Gunnar Stålsett, Moderator, European Council of Religious Leaders; International President, World Council of Religions for Peace with the Center's Distinguished Service Awards for 2015, at the Opening Session of the 22nd Annual International Law and Religion SymposiumThe award is given to outstanding proponents of the cause of freedom of religion or belief worldwide, and the Center is honored to be able to "celebrate the important role David Little... more

Image for Center Welcomes Blythe Shupe and Sandy Stephenson
Sandy Stephenson, Blythe Shupe

The Center is pleased to welcome Sandy Stephenson and Blythe Shupe. As the new International Advisory Council and Conference Liaison, Sandy will be working closely with the Center’s International Advisory Council and assisting with the Center’s many sponsored and co-sponsored conferences. Blythe will be taking on the Center’s website content, social media, and other communications in her role as Communications Specialist. Both are graduates of Brigham Young University’s Humanities Department, Sandy in Art, Art History, and French, and Blythe in Comparative Literature. Sandy comes to us with experience as a business owner as well as working at the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and for the U.S. Senate. Blythe has spent the last several years in account management within the background screening industry and the technology industry. Both are excited to embark on this new adventure with the Center and to use their talents and experience to further the Center’s mission. 

Image for ICLRS Student Management Board 2015-2016

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to welcome its Student Management Board for 2015-2016. The members of the board are second- and third-year law students chosen for their interest in law and religion and their expertise in writing, research, editing, languages, and website management. Languages spoken by this year's Management Board students include French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Turkish, and Hindi. Third-year students selected this year are Ryan AndersenAlex BiggsEva BradyBennett BriggsTara Fitzgerald, Travis HyerJedediah KnightMonique Mullenaux LaingAline Longstaff, Annalee MoserLauren Robins, and Jarvis Yau. Second-year students are Tanner Bean, Lauren FloresRaquel Flores-Vera, Ryan JolleyMichael GoodrichLeilani MaldonadoAbby McKeon, and McKenna Mills

Image for Advancing Freedom of Religion or Belief for All: Cole Durham Joins Experts in Turkey
From the Facebook page of the Conference of European Churches

Professor Cole Durham, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (Brigham Young University, USA), and President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (Milan, Italy) was amoung the Experts gathered at the Theological School Halki in Istanbul/Heybeliada, Turkey, from 6-9 September to discuss "Advancing Freedom of Religion or Belief for All". The conference convened under the auspices of The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Conference of European Churches (CEC), as Churches Together for Human Rights. For an account of the conference, see CEC Press Release No: 15/34... more

Image for Symposium 2015: The Student Executive Committee

The success of the International Law and Religion Symposium each year is due in large part to the planning and performance of a group of outstanding students from the BYU Law School who serve as members of the Student Executive CommitteeThe Center is honored to announced the Committee for the 22nd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium:

  • Master Schedule.  Aline Longstaff, Chair, with Cara Duchene and Laura Shrum. The team coordinates and oversees the Master Schedule of all Symposium events, including delegate schedules. 
  • Recruitment
... more
Image for G20 Interfaith Summit in Istanbul: Religion, Harmony, and Sustainable Development

A Message from the Conference Conveners 

Religion plays a major role in global events, touching issues from medical ethics to cross-border conflicts to macroeconomic trends. However, religion can be misunderstood or even overlooked as a factor in world events and, thus, the contributions faith and religion make to social well-being and policies, which impact national and international communities, are often not recognized.

The 2015 G20 Interfaith Summit, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, 16-18 November, will bring together opinion leaders such as scholars, lawyers and political leaders with faith and interfaith leaders from around the world for three days of discussion and dialogue as a substantial contribution... more

Image for The Center Thanks the Student Research Fellows for 2015

Each year the International Center for Law and Religion Studies welcomes a group of outstanding scholars who have completed their first year of study at the J. Reuben Clark Law School into the Research Fellows Program.

The program brings the students into the worldwide work of the Center, as they complete internships with the offices of the legal counsels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City and in many other parts of the world, participate in Center research, writing, and publishing... more

Image for The 2015 Oxford Conference: Magna Carta and Freedom of Religion or Belief

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies, in cooperation with the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, hosted its 2015 Oxford Conference June 21-24  at St Hugh's College, Oxford, commemorating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, "the greatest constitutional document of all times—the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot".{*} 


The event began with a devotional Sunday evening at the Oxford LDS Meetinghouse, featuring an address Religious Freedom and the Habits of the Heart by Elder Bruce C. Hafen, Emeritus General Authority and Member of the First Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a violin performance of Ave Maria (Bach / Gounod) by Mark Oshia of Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, accompanied by Elder Hafen.

Monday featured presentations... more

Image for Professor Scharffs Participates in Two Indonesian Programs on Sharia and Human Rights

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.

Image for Brett Scharffs at Symposium in Beijing on Marxist Theories of Religion

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

Image for Advances and Setbacks in the Legal Protection of Religious Freedom, Mexico City, May 2015

The 15th Annual Colloquium of the Latin American Consortium for Religious Liberty was held May 21-23, 2015 at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, Mexico. Sponsored by the Latin American Consortium for Religious Liberty, the Universidad Iberoamericana, and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU, the conference focused on the theme "Advances and Setbacks in the Legal Protection of Religious Freedom". The inaugural session was chaired by the principal host and organizer of the colloquium, Prof. Dr. Alberto Patiño Reyes of Universidad Iberoamericana.  Other participants included Prof. Dra. Maria Concepción Medina González, acting as the "Relatora General" of the colloquium. Prof. Dr. Raul Gonzalez Schmal, who delivered the inaugural address, and Prof. Dra. Carmen Asiaín Pereira, President of the Latin American Consortium... more