The International Center for Law and Religion Studies maintains a Headlines News service covering news about freedom of religion or belief internationally, sent to subscribers daily (Monday - Saturday). All interested may subscribe to this service, free of charge, here.
Please note that the headlines posted do not necessarily reflect opinions or attitudes of members of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. We strive for balance in presenting issues of potential interest to our readers.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discussed the issues of faith, family and religious freedom on the campus of Chapman University on Thursday, February 26, 2015. Elder Holland was on the southern California campus when the Fish Interfaith Center was launched a decade ago, and he returned this week to help the center celebrate its 10th anniversary.
– From Mormon Newsroom (see link below).
Report from Cole Durham at the European Parliament
On February 4, 2015, the European Parliamentary Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance hosted, at the European Parliament in Brussels, a launch event for the newly published ODIHR/Venice Commission Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities.
The event was chaired by MEP Dennis de Jong, Co-President of the Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance of the EU Parliament, and featured introductory remarks by Snježana Bokulić, Head of the Human Rights Department, OSCE/ODIHR; a presentation of the Guidelines by Finola Flanagan, Former Member of the European Commission for Democracy Through Law (The Venice Commission) and Engy Abdelkader, Member of the OSCE/ODIHR Advisory Panel on Freedom of Religion or Belief; and comments by John Kinahan, of Forum 18. After formal presentations... more
As 2014 comes to a close, we at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies look back on a busy and productive year. We are constantly conscious of how much of our success depends on collaboration with others, particularly those receiving this newsletter, and for that collaboration we express our gratitude. We are working on an annual report for 2014, which will provide a more comprehensive review of activities, but we did not want to let the Christmas and New Year’s season pass without sharing greetings and appreciation.
Most notable as we look back is the impressive series of conferences in which the Center has participated, often as a co-sponsor. In addition to our annual International Law and Religion Symposium in Provo, we participated in or co-organized more than twenty-five other conferences this year. These included conferences held on every continent except Antarctica. Particularly significant... more
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput visited Brigham Young University on January 23, 2015, where he spoke to students, faculty, and guests on the topic "The Great Charter at 800" as part of BYU's "Faith, Family and Society" lecture series. Afterwards he met with leaders of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at the BYU Law School.
Archbishop Chaput was born in 1944 in Concordia, Kansas. He joined the Capuchin Franciscan order in 1965 and was ordained a priest in1970. He holds master’s degrees in theology and religious education, and served... more
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The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Kristina Arriaga, December 2014
It takes a special kind of courage to answer the call to step forward. This is especially true when it means putting your family, your livelihood, and your beliefs into the public spotlight. Yet, when the time came, this is exactly what the Green family of Hobby Lobby did.
Faced with an unjust government mandate, they sued the government, atgreat personal cost. After enduring over two years of litigation and a virulent and unjust public campaign against them, the Greens triumphed in Court in June. Because of their tenacious optimism and courage, their case set... more
Report by Laurie Williams Sowby, Deseret News, October 31
It began with a Jewish piano teacher who was dismissed from her job at a European music conservatory because she refused to give exams on Saturdays, the day she honored as the Sabbath. When he heard of the case, Professor Heiner Bielefeldt knew religious freedom in the workplace was an issue he wanted to pursue. Dr. Bielefeldt, human rights professor at the University of Erlangen-Nürnburg in Germany, was appointed as U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2010 with a three-year renewal of his appointment in 2013. He presented his report at the United Nations Oct. 23 and headed panels on the topic Oct. 23 and... more
The 21st Annual International Law and Religion Symposium opened on Sunday evening, October 5, 2014, in the Moot Court Room of the J. Reuben Clark Law School on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Those in attendance and listening in via live webinar were welcomed by Law School Dean James R. Rasband and Brigham Young University President Kevin J Worthen. Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the Symposium's sponsoring organization, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, presented the Center's Distinguished Service Award to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who... more
The 21st annual International Law and Religion Symposium, this year featuring 80 invited delegates, from 40 countries, addressed the theme "Varieties of Secularism, Religion, and the Law." The Symposium opened Sunday evening, 5 October, with welcoming remarks by BYU Law School Dean, James R. Rasband, and President of Brigham Young University, Kevin J Worthen. The Keynote Address was given by United States Senator for Utah Orrin Hatch, who also was presented with the Center's Distinguished Service Award, by Professor W Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.
This year's delegates included scholars, government officials, journalists... more
Credit to the BYU Law School News Team for content of this article
Robert T. Smith, Managing Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, testified on 18 September 2014 before the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight & Government Reform on the topic "Protecting International Freedom." Mr. Smith's testimony specifically addressed ways to improve international religious freedom through better implementation of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. With international tensions running high due to violence caused by religiously motivated groups such... more
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies was pleased to present awards to ten outstanding students from the J. Reuben Clark Law School on March 26, 2014, at the Law School's annual Barrister's Ball.
Receiving Meritorius Service Awards for a variety of contributions to the work of the Center were Michelle Jeffs, Carl Hollan, and Eimi Priddis. Outstanding Service Awards, recognizing three years of service to the annual International Law and Religion Symposium were presented to Cherise Bacalski, Jorge Gavilanes, Erica Berrett, Natalia Peterson, Joshua Bishop, Daniel Scow, Kia Hohaia, Michelle Jeffs, and Eimi Priddis.
On 5 March 2014, Dean Brett G. Scharffs presented the fifth and final lecture in the BYU Law School's 2014 World of Law brown bag series, designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to hear top legal scholars from BYU Law School address critical issues in the world. Dean Scharffs, who is Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law as well as Associate Dean of the Law School and Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, spoke on Religious Freedom, outlining three ways that law students help with this important work:
- Learning: Classes and seminars on US and international freedom of religion.
- Advocacy: Opportunities to work on Supreme Court briefs in pending
Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, was the keynote speaker at a Regional consultation on Promoting the Freedom of Religion or Belief in ASEAN in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 19-20 February 2014. The event was hosted by HRWG – Human Rights Working Group, a Coalition of Indonesian NGOs for International Human Rights Advocacy, in partnership with the Indonesian Representative for AICHR, Mr. Rafendi Djamin, and supported by the Canadian Government. Participants included members of AICHR, ACWC, representatives of relevant governmental agencies from ASEAN Member States, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI’s) from Indonesia and the Philippines, Think Tanks and academes, Human Rights NGOs, interfaith dialogue organizations, and religious organization from several ASEAN Member States and representatives from the diplomatic community in Jakarta.... more
Renata Uitz (Hungary), Cole Durham, Janet Ep Buckingham (Canada), Judge Françoise Tulkens (European Court of Human Rights)
Photo by Page Johnson
In a crowded, wood-paneled mock courtroom at a recent conference on religious liberty in Provo, delegates from 40 countries listened intently through their headphones as translators scrambled to integrate 15 languages, ranging from Macedonian to Vietnamese.
At the podium, a South African judge told how he twice overruled parental religious objections, forcing them to allow their child a blood transfusion. "I think in both cases the parents were eventually happy that their children survived," he said.
A Malaysian lawyer later stood to condemn any religious influence in public life. "Human rights is the enemy of all religions," he said, his perspective bent under the weight of a heavy-handed Muslim majority at home. “Human rights stem from... more