Rights Cherished or Freedoms Perished? Symposium in London, 9 November 2015
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The International Center for Law and Religion Studies and the Brigham Young University London Centre were among sponsors of a breakfast symposium held Monday 9 November 2015 at the Inns of Court in London, entitled "Rights Cherished or Freedoms Perished? Perspectives on the future of freedom of conscience, religion and belief and freedom of expression."  

Mark Hill QC hosted the event at the Francis Taylor Building, Inner Temple. Speakers were Tim Wilson, Australian Human Rights Commissioner, and Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked Online, Britain’s first on-line only current affairs magazine, and a columnist for the Big Issue in London, the Australian in Sydney and a blogger for the Daily Telegraph. Wilson and O’Neill both promoted a strong religious freedom ethic despite neither lining up strongly in their remarks with the ideals and attitudes of traditional religion. With special reference to same-sex marriage laws, for instance, Wilson characterized himself as a strong proponent of social change but insisted that freedom of religion and conscience must be protected as that change occurs. He noted the potential of "hate speech" laws especially to jeopardize the free exchange of ideas.  A self-described atheist, O’Neill agreed, adding to anti-hate speech measures, current pushes for "equality" as a current trend inimical to free speech and freedom of belief. He noted dangers to a society where traditional religious beliefs become recharacterized as hate speech.  

The event was attended by academics, lawyers, and representatives of religions and NGOs. In addition to ICLRS and the BYU London Centre, other sponsors of the event included Neville Rochow SC, Barrister and adjunct professor, Notre Dame University Law School, Sydney; Sue Breeze, Head of Equality & Non-Discrimination Team, Human Rights & Democracy Department, Multilateral Policy Directorate I Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Katharine Thane, Operations Director, All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Charlotte Steinfeld, Barrister and Chapter Chair, United Kingdom Chapter, J Reuben Clark Law Society.  David Kirkham, Academic Director of the BYU London Centre and ICLRS Senior Fellow, represented the Brigham Young University Law School.