Wishing You Joy and Prosperity in the Year to Come

At the beginning of 2011, we at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University mark the opening of the second decade of the Center’s formal existence. This is a time of both reflection and recommitment, of both gratitude and hope. As we ponder what we have attempted to accomplish during the past decade in service to the people and the causes we hold dear, we remember and cherish associations with our friends in many lands who are likewise engaged in promoting what is to us a most fundamental human freedom: the freedom to think and to express those thoughts, the freedom to believe and to manifest beliefs, alone or in peaceful association with others, according to the dictates of individual conscience. We know that much remains for us to do. In many ways the challenges have never been greater, and we are deeply grateful for all who join in the endeavor….

Becket Fund Founder Seamus Hasson Receives 2011 Religious Liberty Award

Jordan Pendergrass

Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson, founder of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has successfully defended religious liberty in the courts of law, the court of public opinion, and the academy. His accomplishments, both in the United States and abroad, have benefitted the religious rights of people from “A to Z,” from Anglicans to Zoroastrians. In recognition of his work and great character, Mr. Hasson received the International Religious Liberty Award on 6 October 2011 in Washington, DC. As Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University has observed, “no persons will be more deserving of celebration than the truly great lawyers of the Becket Fund and its…

Wishing You Peace at Easter Time

23 April 2011 – Provo, Utah

“Freedom of religion matters, even if you’re not religious,” wrote Mark Milke for the 23 April 2011 edition of the Calgary Herald (“proudly Calgary since 1883”). “Westerners,” wrote Mr. Milke, “especially where state and religion are practically separate (in Canada and Europe), or constitutionally separate (the United States), often forget that freedom of conscience and expression is not the norm around the world.”

Is it truly important that we do not forget this? We at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies devote our lives to answering yes to this question, and attempting to help others promote and secure such freedom for everyone, everywhere. For us, the most sacred day of the year is the Sunday celebrating the morning when Mary, going to attend to the body of her Master, beheld the empty tomb, and an angel declared, “Behold He is not here, for He is risen,” and then Jesus himself beckoned Mary, adding a beautiful new dimension to His invitation: “Come, follow me.” We are grateful beyond measure that we are able to celebrate this event, freely and openly, as individuals and in congregation with other members of our faith tradition worldwide.

Surely, we know that evil can be done, has been done, in the name of religion. But evil is not what religion, pure religion…

Winners of the 2011 Religious Freedom Student Writing Competition

Winners of the Second Annual Religious Freedom Student Writing Competition were announced at an Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., on 6 October 2011.

First prize of $1500 was awarded to Kevin L. Brady, University of Chicago Law School, for his paper “Religious Sincerity and Imperfection: Can Lapsing Prisoners Recover Under RFRA and RLUIPA?”

Second prize of $1000 went to R. Walker Humphrey II, Charleston School of Law, for “Dennis the Menace?: An Analysis of Whether the Episcopal Church’s…

Cole Durham Named ICLARS President at Conference in Santiago, Chile – September 2011

Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) at Brigham Young University, was installed as President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS) at the Second ICLARS Conference, held 8-10 September 2011 in Santiago, Chile. Professor Durham succeeds Professor Silvio Ferrari of Università degli Studi di Milano. Professor Robert Smith, ICLRS Managing Director, serves as member of the ICLARS Secretariat. 

ICLARS is an international network of scholars and experts of law and religion. It began in 2007, with the aim of providing a place where information, data, and opinions could be exchanged among members and made available to the broader scientific community. To this end, ICLARS…