Image for Robert Smith Testifies to Congress on Protecting International Religious Freedom

Professor 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." Other experts testifying at the hearing were:

  • The Honorable Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, U.S. Department of State
  • Katrina Lantos Swett, Ph.D., Chair, U.S. Commission on International
... more
Image for Center Honors Students for Extraordinary Service

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.

Image for Dean Brett Scharffs' World of Law Lecture: Religious Freedom

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
... more
Image for Durham Keynotes Conference: Promoting the Freedom of Religion and Beliefs in ASEAN

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

Image for A Quiet Voice in a World of Trouble, Cole Durham Works for Religious Liberty
Renata Uitz (Hungary), Cole Durham, Janet Ep Buckingham (Canada), Judge Fran├žoise Tulkens (European Court of Human Rights)
Photo by Page Johnson

Eric Schulzke, Deseret News - 9 January 2014

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

Image for UN Side Event: World-wide Human Rights, Religious Liberty and Religious Minorities

June 10, 2014 – United Nations  
[Thanks to Nancy Lyon in Geneva]

A United Nations side event, World-wide Human Rights, Religious Liberty and Religious Minorities, was held in Geneva on 10 June 2014. The event was sponsored by the Permanent Delegation of the Council of Europe, Permanent Mission of Uruguay, Spain, and Canada and the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty. The event presented and discussed perspectives on protecting freedom of religion and the rights of religious minorities, highlighting the importance that all actors work closely together to promote world peace.   

The International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty proposed a holistic... more

Image for Religious Freedom Linked to Economic Growth, Finds Global Study

Washington, D.C., May 29, 2014 – Religious freedom is one of only three factors significantly associated with global economic growth, according to a new study by researchers at Georgetown University and Brigham Young University. The study looked at GDP growth for 173 countries in 2011 and controlled for two-dozen different financial, social, and regulatory influences.

As the world navigates away from years of poor economic performance, religious freedom may be an unrecognized asset to economic recovery and growth, according to this new study. The study examines and finds a positive relationship between religious freedom and ten of the twelve pillars of global competitiveness, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (see example in chart at right).

The study, however, goes beyond simple correlations... more