Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Tom Brokaw Present Special – “9/11: Rising Above”

Guest narrator Tom Brokaw will join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square to present a special broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word to be aired on Sunday morning, September 11, marking the tenth year since the tragedy that shook Americans and friends worldwide at the losses resulting from terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington DC, and the prevention of attacks by heroes on United Airlines Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. Mr. Brokaw, who was for 21 years the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News and is “one of the most trusted and respected figures in broadcast journalism,” has received numerous honors for his work, including the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award and an Emmy Award. He joined the Choir and Orchestra in recording a program…

New York Times ‘Room for Debate’ – Religious Freedom, 22 December 2011

From The New York Times Opinion pages’ Room for Debate, a discussion by American religious freedom experts on the topic “Is America’s Religious Freedom Under Threat?” 

Tim Shah and Tom Farr  
    Religion in the Public Square.

Michael McConnell  
    Falling short of our ideals.

Rajdeep Singh  
    Liberty is elusive for Sikh Americans.

Noah Feldman 
    As American as religious persecution.

Salam Al-Marayati 
    A campaign against patriotic Muslims.

Helen M. Alvaré 
    Human rights vs. religious freedom?

Hamza Yusuf   
    Federal law, at least, is on our side.

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan  
    A risk even for the majority.

House Judiciary Committee Hearing on The State of Religious Freedom

The Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives held a hearing on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 on the subject “The State of Religious Freedom in the United States.” The hearing convened under the auspices of the Subcommittee on the Constitution by direction of the Chairman of the Committee, Trent Franks. Witnesses included Bishop William Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State; and Colby M. May, Senior Counsel and Director of the Washington Office of the American Center for Law and Justice. Reports of the hearing and testimony transcripts are available at the following links…

Analysis of the Significance of the “Arab Spring”

3 June 2011.   Arab Summer: How unstable will the Middle East’s new democracies be? (Fred Kaplan, Slate Magazine)

3 June 2011.  Europe must rise to the challenges presented by the Arab Spring. (Timothy Garton Ash, Huffington Post)

2 June 2011.

Inaugural Meeting of State Department Working Group on Religion and Foreign Policy

From the Institute for Global Management24 October 2011

On October 18th, the U.S. Department of State (Office of the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs) launched its Working Group on Religion and Foreign Policy as a part of the Secretary of State’s “Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society.” Representatives from civil society—including religious leaders from around the…

Thoughts on Secularism and Religion

18 October 2011. Embrace secularism; keep religion out of politics. (Ronald A. Lindsay, The Washington Post)

18 October 2011. Secularism and its discontents. Interview with José Casanova. (McGill Daily [Canada])

10 September 2011.  Tolerance and Secularism (II) (Salman Arshad, The International Herald Tribune)

10 September 2011.  Secularism: The religious touchstone in vogue. (Rümatho Nyusou, The Morung Express)

7 September 2011.  Secularism doesn’t equal tolerance. (Daniyal Noorani, The International Herald Tribune)

Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty

“Given the state’s size and influence, New York’s legislation will surely be a baseline for any state that recognizes same-sex marriage through legislation going forward. The wrangling over … religious protections is evidence of just how important they are. Without such protections, groups that hew to their religious beliefs about marriage would be at risk of losing government contracts and benefits and would be subject to lawsuits from private citizens. … If New York’s law stands for anything, it is that legislatures can advance one civil right without simultaneously eroding another.” – Robin Fretwell Wilson, The New York Times (Opinion)

24 July 2011.  Liberty’s loss:…

Congressional Hearing on Religious Freedom

3 June 2011.  Leonard Leo (USCIRF Chair), Thomas Farr (Berkley Center), Joseph Grieboski (Institute on Religion and Public Policy), and Brian Grim (Pew Forum) testify at Congressional Hearing: Prioritizing International Religious Freedom in U.S. Foreign Policy

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…

Debate over Obama’s Decision to Stop Support for Defense of Marriage Act

24 September 2011.  Catholics warn of “national conflict” over gay marriage. (David Gibson, Religion News Service)

19 July 2011.  Obama backs bill to repeal Defense of Marriage Act.  (David Nakamura, The Washington Post)

February – April 2011

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Wednesday, 23 February 2011, that the U.S. Justice Department will no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law…

Berkley Center Religious Freedom Project To Address Democracy, Extremism

January 2011 – Georgetown University

As announced on 12 January 2011, Thomas Farr, first director of the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom (1999 – 2003) and now senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs of Georgetown University, will lead a team of international scholars in exploring religious liberty and its relationship to democracy and extremism. Funded by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the three-year Berkley Center project will be, in the words of Foundation vice president Kent Hill, “of critical importance to the defense of religious freedom around the world.” An aim of the project, says Berkley Center Director Thomas Banchoff, “is to establish religious liberty as an interdisciplinary field of study here and abroad and to inform better policy on the issue.” Controversy surrounding…

LDS Leader Dallin H. Oaks Delivers Religious Freedom Address at Chapman College

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered an address, “Preserving Religious Freedom,” at the Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California, on 4 February 2011. The address was a call upon all who believe that the rights and wrongs of human behavior have been established by a Supreme Being to “unite more effectively to preserve and strengthen the freedom to advocate and practice our religious beliefs, whatever…