Religious Freedom Annual Review 2022: Living Peaceably: Religious Freedom as a Foundation for Civic Harmony

BYU’s Religious Freedom Annual Review addressed multiple religious topics under this year’s theme of “Living Peaceably: Religious Freedom as a Foundation for Civic Harmony” on June 16 at the BYU Conference Center.

“Our hope is that you leave more empowered, more positive about the ways we can live as

said Brett G. Scharffs, the director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. “Listen carefully and learn from people with whom you disagree, because we believe religious freedom can actually bring us together and it can become a foundation for civic harmony.” This year’s diverse board of speakers and panelists included Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Rev. A.R. Bernard, Founder and CEO of the Christian Cultural Center; Imam Talib Shareef, President and Masjid Muhummad of The Nation’s Mosque; Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of The New York Board of Rabbis; Simran Jeet Singh, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Program on Religion & Society; and Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, Executive Director of Parity, an organization seeking to bridge the divide between faith and LGBTQ+. Among many others, these panelists and speakers shared their individual perspectives on the varying topics which fell under this year’s theme.

“We have different forms of worship, we have different practices, but … there is enough space in our society for all of us to practice freely,” said Rabbi Potasnik. Religious freedom indicates the provision of this right to people of all belief systems, or non-belief systems.

Elder Quentin L. Cook emphasized two of the benefits of religious freedom.

“The first is the way religious accountability benefits secular society,” he said, noting that faith inspires people to be morally upright and obey laws.

“The second is the multitude of good works that religion inspires people of faith to perform on behalf of others,” he added.

Each session is detailed within our website, as well as available for viewing via the International Center for Law and Religion Studies YouTube Channel. While the 2022 Religious Freedom Annual Review has concluded, the themes and principles discussed there will apply to our daily lives as we strive to build a more civil society.

Copy Credit: Deseret News, Church News, and The Daily Universe

To learn more about the presenters or the theme, visit the conference website. CLE credit is still available but you will need to register via the conference website.

Recordings of all sessions are now available and Spanish translation of the opening session, discussion sessions, and closing session will be available by July 1, 2022.

Watch on Youtube (English)   Ver en YouTube (español)

Discussion Sessions

Why Religious Freedom Matters to Me

Speakers: Chris Seiple, Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, Simran Jeet Singh

Religious Freedom, Living Peaceably, and Bringing People Together in Unity and Love

Moderator: Paul S. Edwards

Panelists: Timothy Dalrymple, Dalia Fahmy, Yair Rosenberg, Stephanie Summers

Living Peaceably, Religious Freedom and the Dignity of Difference

Moderator: Elizabeth A. Clark

Panelists: Ron Ahrens, Bishop Victor A. Brown, Rabbi Diana S. Gerson, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

Building Religious Partnerships for Stronger Communities

Moderator: Elder Quentin L. Cook

Panelists: Rev. A. R. Bernard, Elder David L. Buckner, Rev Dr. Que English, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

Breakout Sessions: What can I do locally?

Building Bridges with LGBTQ Groups

Moderator: Erin Cranor

Panelists: J. Paul Hoybjerg and Alice L. Parkin

Building Interfaith Partnerships

Moderator: David H. Moore

Panelists: Rob Howell, Alex Shapiro, Rev. Mark V. Scott, Kisha Sogunro

Religious Freedom Alliances Network: Coalition Building

Moderator: William Benac

Panelists: Mark Romney, Kayleen Stroud

Breakout Sessions: Legislation and Court Cases

Future of Smith and Religious Exceptions

Moderator: James Phillips

Panelists: Frederick Gedicks, Mark Movsesian, Gene Schaerr

Legislative Initiatives: Problem Solving by Negotiation

Moderator: Derek Monson

Panelists: Marcus G. Faust, Eric D. Patterson, J. Cody Nielsen

What to Expect After Lemon

Moderator: Gene Schaerr

Panelists: Daniel Benson, Steven T. Collis, Bradley Girard

Repairers of the Breach: Religion Making a Difference

Preventing Genocide

Moderator: Paul E. Kerry

Panelists: Sara Abosch-Jacobson, Sam Rushforth, Katrina Lantos Swett

Welcoming the Stranger

Moderator: Gary B. Doxey

Panelists: Christina Tobias-Nahi, Chelsey J. Johnson, Wade Kusack

The Positive Role of Religion in Criminal Justice

Moderator: Chelsea Langston Bombino

Panelists: Imam Talib M. Shareef, Rev. Dr. Denise Strothers, Elder Jeremy R. Jaggi