Managing Director Robert T. Smith to Serve as a Mission President in Argentina

With many thanks for his hard work and dedication, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies announces the departure of Robert T. Smith, who has served the Center as Managing Director since 2006. Beginning June 22, 2016, Bob will begin a three-year term of service as President of the Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“For the past decade Bob has served the Center with grace and patience,” said ICLRS Director Brett Scharffs, “often performing tasks of uncertain and almost limitless…

Brett Scharffs and BYU Law Students in Venice for Conference and Moot Court Competition

Professor Brett Scharffs, Center Associate Director and Law School Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum, participated at the conference “The Legitimate Scope of Religious Establishment”, held March 7-9, 2016 in Venice, Italy.  The conference was sponsored by the Fondazione Studium Generale Marcianum (Fondazione Marcianum), and features prominent academics from throughout the world, assembled to discuss such questions as “What are the essential features of establishment regimes? Should any limits be set to the establishment of religion? Are there any means of support that should be ruled out? May a decent state grant preferential treatment to one religion over other religions (or some of them)? If so, on which basis could…

BYU Law School’s Eva Brady Named Best Speaker at Moot Court Competition in Venice

The Center is pleased to announce that third-year BYU Law Student Eva Brady has been named Best Speaker at the 2016 Law and Religion Moot Court Competition, sponsored by Fondazione Marcianum and held in Venice, Italy, March 9-11, 2016. The Case for this year’s competition concerned school prayer in the light of American Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence.

Eva is from Charlottesville, Virginia. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Philosophy with a minor in Logic. and studied Spanish extensively for ten years. Before beginning law school, she served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Korean, Busan mission. As an ICLRS Student Fellow for 2014, Eva spent a summer externship in Lima, Peru, and served as a student…

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies Outstanding Service Awards 2016

The Barrister’s Ball, an annual tradition of the BYU Law School, provides an opportunity to recognize students and faculty for their accomplishments. Each year, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies honors those students who have dedicated service to both the Center and to the cause of international religious freedom. At the 24 March 2016 awards ceremony, Center Associate Director Elizabeth Clark presented the award to Bennett H. Briggs, Travis J. Hyer, Jedi Knight, Aline Marie H. Longstaff, Zachary D. Smith, Ryan Andersen, Eva Marie Brady, Tara Fitzgerald, Roman Harper, Annalee Hickman Moser, Laura Monique Mullenaux Laing, and Lauren Ravsten Robins. These students have devoted many hours as Student Research Fellows, Student Management Board members, or Symposium Student Executive Committee members. In some cases…

ICLRS Student Management Board 2016-2017

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to announce the 2016-2017 Student Management Board. Members of the board are chosen based on their interest in law and religion and their skills in writing, research, editing, and languages. These excellent law students speak a variety of languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Korean, French, and Russian. Throughout the school year they will participate in research, writing and editing projects, conferences, and other assignments with the Center. The 2016-2017 Board Members are third-year students Tanner Bean, Jeremy DriggsLauren FloresRaquel Flores-Vera, Michael Goodrich, and McKenna Mills, and second-year students Reed Adlish, Alexander Alton, Sarah Clifford, Jessica Farnsworth, Rebecca HorneRyan Hughes, Minji Kim, Thomas Palmer, Joshua Prince, and Benjamin Thornell.

Brett G. Scharffs Appointed Director of International Center for Law and Religion Studies

Outgoing BYU Law School Dean James R. Rasband announced the appointment, effective May 1, 2016, of Brett G. Scharffs as the new Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.

The Center, since its beginning on January 1, 2000, has played an internationally significant role in the work of the Law School. With a mission to help secure the blessings of freedom of religion and belief for all people, Center faculty and staff, aided by hundreds of BYU law students, have worked to disseminate knowledge and expertise regarding the interrelationship of law and religion, through scholarship, network building, participation in law-reform processes, and organization and sponsorship of hundreds of conferences, at BYU and throughout the world….

Brett Scharffs Delivers Brigham Young University Forum Address, 18 October 2016

Professor Brett G. Scharffs. Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law and Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU Law School, delivered the University Forum Address on 18 October 2016, in the Marriott Center on the BYU Campus. His address was titled “Audacious Faith: Appreciating the Unique Power and Singular Appeal of LDS Doctrine”. The Forum was broadcast live on BYUtv,, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, and BYUradio. You may view or listen to Professor Scharffs’ address at this link.

Read about Professor Scharffs work to help pilot a Sharia and Human Rights Masters Program in Indonesia on BYU’s homepage. Don’t miss Professor Scharffs’ “Cougar Query” here.

Distinguished Visiting Professor Alan E. Brownstein, Fall Semester 2016

The Center was privileged to be able to enjoy contributions from Professor Alan E. Brownstein, who joined the BYU Law faculty during the 2016 fall semester as a distinguished visiting professor. He taught the law school course on the Fourteenth Amendment, and joined Professors Brett Scharffs and Cole Durham in teaching US Church and State and Internationial Protection of Religious Freedom. He also attended and acted as a moderator at the Center-sponsored International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies conference in Oxford, England, in September.

A nationally recognized Constitutional Law scholar, Brownstein is Professor of Law and Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality at UC Davis School of Law. He was an attorney in general litigation and corporate…

Clark and Scharffs: Religion and Law in the USA

A new book by Professors Elizabeth A. Clark and Brett G. Scharff, Religion and Law in the USA, has just been issued by Kluwer Law International as part of its innovative prints and online series, International Encyclopaedia of Laws. Each volume of the Encyclopaedia is designed to cover an identical set of topics from the legal viewpoint of a particular country. Professors Scharffs and Clark were selected by the editor of the Religion volume, Rik Torfs, Rector at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, to write the United States book on law and religion.

“It is a recognition of the International Center of Law and Religion’s stature in the international law and religion…

Center Fellow Aline Marie Longstaff in the Spotlight – April 2016

For 2016 graduate Aline Longstaff, studying at BYU Law School offered an opportunity to continue to explore her passion, the intersection of legal and religious studies. Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Longstaf was surrounded by a variety of cultural and religious communities. In such a diverse environment, she became fascinated with the relationships between law and religion, and she sought to make it the emphasis of her studies. “I [took] an interdisciplinary approach in trying to better understand the topic throughout my formal education,” she said.

Longstaff began her education by obtaining bachelor’s degrees in history, International Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Utah in 2011. She then went on to obtain a master’s degree of…