Durham at Conference on Religion as a Social Institution – Moscow, September 2011

J. Reuben Clark Law School Professor Cole Durham presented a paper at the International Academic Conference, “Religion as a Social Institution,” held in Moscow on 5-6 September 2011. The conference was organized by the Center for Religious Studies “ReligioPolis” (Moscow), the Department of Sociology and Administration of Social Processes, Academy of Labor and Social Relations (Moscow), the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah), the Department of Religion and Religious Studies, Philosophy Faculty (St. Petersburg State University, Russia), and the Coordinating Counsel for CIS and Baltic Countries on Theological and Practical Religious Studies (Kyiv, Ukraine).

In a paper entitled “Institutional Conscience,” Professor Durham examined religion and the generation of social capital, the importance of expressive institutions, dilemmas of conscience faced by religious institutions, and erosion of standards of review of religious claims, against the background of transformational shifts in the understanding of human rights, a “reasoned analysis of the principles of secularism, secularity and religiosity from the position of case law.” 

In addition to addresses by scholars from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and the United States, the conference featured a session “Confessions Talks: Social Projects of Religious Organizations of Russia,” with participants from the following groups: the Russian Orthodox Church, the Union of Muftis of Russia, All-Russia Council of Jewish Religious Congregations, the Roman Catholic Church, the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of Russia, Seventh-day Adventists Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and the Church of Scientology.