Blog series on current law and religion topics
Following our previous series on (un)friendly algorithms and human rights, this series traces the historical roots of using machines for spiritual purposes and elaborates on AI’s influence on religious expression in the contemporary world (Panin); discusses the phenomenon of the sacralization of AI as a new “omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent” deity (Razmetaeva); argues that AI encourages the commodification of religious experiences, turning believers into consumers of “superior religious services” (Eddebo); and asserts that “tech giants and their algorithms” are the latest iteration of destructive monsters that have oppressed human freedom and rights since early modern times (Rochow).
Stanislav Panin. Challenges and Promises of Artificial Intelligence in Religion
Yulia Razmetaeva. Sacralization of AI
Johan Eddebo. AI and Commodification of Religion
Neville Rochow. Another Case of Déjà-Vu: The Sacrifice of Conscience to Monsters
In March 2022, after Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine had begun, we published a series exploring the role of religion in the war. In that series, we argued that the religious component of the conflict has manifested itself in a variety of aspects: from religious justification and rhetoric employed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to the perception of the war by Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches, to threats to religious freedom in territories under Russian control. Commemorating the first-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, we provide an update on these topics.
Catherine Wanner. The Effects of War and Collaboration on Trust in Ukraine
Stanislav Panin. Russian Alternative Spiritualities During the First Year of the War
The ICLRS held its 29th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, “Religion’s Roles in Peacebuilding,” 1–5 October 2022. While the Covid pandemic restricted Symposia to online meetings in 2020 and 2021, this year’s Symposium gathered more than 80 delegates from 40 countries for sessions and related events at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, and in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The following select presentations are illustrative of the depth and breadth of the Symposium’s 90-plus presentations.
Daniel Philpott. Religion and Peace
James Christie. Understanding Religion’s Roles in Peacebuilding
Elizabeth A. Clark. Enemies and Brothers
Andrew Teal. Fidei Defensor
Jennifer G. Woods. Peacebuilding and the Seventh-day Adventist Church￼
Muhammadou M.O. Kah. Religions’ Roles in Peacebuilding in The Gambia￼
The 2022 Religious Freedom Annual Review, held on 16 June at Brigham Young University, focused on the theme “Living Peaceably: Religious Freedom as a Foundation for Religious Harmony.” Panelists in the opening plenary session shared personal reflections on “Why Religious Freedom Matters to Me.” Edited summaries of their presentations are available below:
Reverend Marian Edmonds-Allen. Why Religious Freedom Matters to Me
Simran Jeet Singh.Why Religious Freedom Matters to Me
Chris Seiple. Why Religious Freedom Matters to Me
In September 2022 The Review of Faith & International Affairs published an issue dedicated to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) and women’s rights across the OSCE region. The issue brought together a broad and rich variety of papers focusing on international law issues; the role religions and religious freedom play in the promotion of gender equality, as well as in religion-related reservations and political opposition to relevant international law; and tensions between religious organizations and human rights defenders working in this sphere. In this series, we continue exploring this multifaceted topic.
Marie Juul Petersen. Religion, Gender, and Sexuality: Three Points on Freedom of Religion or Belief
Montserrat Gas Aixendri. How to Make Progress on Gender Equality Without Decreasing Religious Freedom: The OSCE Context
In 2022, the ICLRS cosponsored two conferences as part of The AMAR International Charitable Foundation’s Windsor Dialogue series. The following posts, summarizing conference presentations, are representative of just some of the expertise and viewpoints shared during the 2022 Windsor Dialogue conferences.
Bishop Alastair Redfern. Fostering Frameworks that Set People Free
Sharon Eubank. Eight Years, Three Steps
Alastair Ager. A Faith‑Sensitive Approach in Humanitarian Response
Fitzroy Morrissey. Islamic Views on Music
Aldo Zammit Borda. Why Iraq Should Enact Laws Criminalizing Genocide
The First Brazilian Symposium on Religious Freedom was held in Rio de Janeiro, 23–25 March 2022. The symposium was organized by the Brazilian Center of Studies in Law and Religion and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University. Participants included dozens of leaders from religious organizations, academic institutions, government entities, and nongovernmental and civil society organizations—from Brazil and other Latin American countries, the United States, and Europe. The following summaries provide a small glimpse into ideas exchanged at this first-of-its-kind event
Edna Vasconcelos Zilli. Panorama of Religious Coexistence in Brazil
Marcio Henrique Pereira Ponzilacqua. Law, Religion, and Society: Sociology’s View of Law and Religion￼
Ruth Junginger de Andrade. Thoughts on Law, Religion, and Society￼
Carmen Asiaín Pereira. The Reception of the Right to Religious Freedom in Latin America￼
Carmen Asiaín Pereira. La Recepción del Derecho de Libertad Religiosa en América Latina￼
The religious component of the Russian-Ukrainian war has manifested itself in a variety of aspects: from religious justification and rhetoric employed by Russian president Vladimir Putin, to the perception of the war by Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches, to the dramatic situation with religious freedom in the territories under Russia and its proxies’ control. These and other issues are discussed in this series.
- Dmytro Vovk. Religion and the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict
- Elizaveta Gaufman. Religion, the Russian-Ukrainian War, and Social Media
- Regina Elsner. The End of Unity: How the Russian Orthodox Church Lost Ukraine
- Andriy Fert. Pray Against Foreign Invasion or Pray for Peace? Ukrainian Orthodox Churches and the Russian-Ukrainian War
- Stanislav Panin. Reactions of Russian Religious Minorities on the Aggression Against Ukraine
- Andrea Pin. The Madness of War and the Weapons of the Spirit: The Catholic Church and Peace for Ukraine
- Kristina Stoeckl. The Use of Religious Arguments for the Justification of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The series contains tributes to Archbishop Desmond Tutu who recently passed away. The posts commemorate Tutu’s life-long efforts to promote peace, reconciliation, and human dignity and reflect on his legacy as a theologian and human rights advocate
- Christine Venter. Archbishop Tutu and the People Left in the Dust
- Greg Marcar. Being (W)holy Selfish with Desmond Tutu
- Lee-Shae Salma Scharnick Udemans. Religious Privilege and Intolerance: Unveiling the Rainbow Nation
The First Annual Forum on Law and Religion of the Southern Cone, “Human Dignity and Religious Freedom,” was held in Santiago, Chile, 28–29 October 2021. The forum was sponsored by BYU’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies, the Chilean government’s National Office of Religious Affairs, and the Center for Law and Religion at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Below are links to select forum remarks, available in both Spanish and English
- Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Religious Liberty: The Basis of a Free and Just Society
- Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Libertad religiosa: La base de una sociedad libre y justa
- Gary Doxey, What Should a Constitution Contain in Regard to Religious Freedom?
- Gary Doxey, ¿Qué debe contener una constitución en materia de libertad religiosa?
- Reyna I. Aburto, Panelist: The Social Role of Religious and Faith Communities
- Reyna I. Aburto, Panelista: El rol social de las religiones y las comunidades de fe
- Christina Tobias-Nahi, Panelist: The Social Role of Religious and Faith Communities
- Christina Tobias-Nahi, Panelista: El rol social de las religiones y las comunidades de fe
- Ana María Celis Brunet, Remarks on the Punta del Este Declaration on Human Dignity for Everyone Everywhere
- Ana María Celis Brunet, Comentario: La Declaración del Punta del Este sobre la dignidad humana para todos en todo lugar
This blog series explores some threats that digital technologies can create to freedom of religion or belief and other human rights.
In this series, we provide different perspectives on religion and judging. Five contributors, academics and a U.S. federal judge explore religious diversity and the judiciary, interplays between religious convictions and judicial ethics, and the role of religion and religious beliefs in professional and personal biographies of judges.
- Jeremy Patrick. Fair Reflection of Religious Affiliation and the High Court of Australia
- David G. Campbell. Is Religious Devotion Consistent with Good Judging?
- Andrea Pin. Religious Rulings and Nonreligious Judges: The Importance of Legal Education
- Christine Venter. What South Africa Doesn’t Need in a New Chief Justice: One Who Will Bring Religion into the Public Sphere
- David Kenny. Mr. Justice Brian Walsh, the Natural Law, and Irish Catholicism
- Adelaide Madera. Taking Judges’ Religion Seriously: Some Reflections Based on U.S. and Italian Cases
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies speakers at the 2021 G20 Interfaith Forum Summit in Bologna, Italy along with leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Summit Theme is “A Time to Heal.”
- Cole Durham, Jr., Welcome and Overview
- Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Religious Freedom and Its Impact on Minority Religions
- Sister Sharon Eubank, Religious Commitments to Global Sustainable Development Focusing on Child Hunger, Water, and Sanitation
- Brett G. Scharffs, Our “Kairos” Moment: The G20 and the Challenge of Immunizing the World
- David H. Moore, Religion’s Impact on World Issues and the Necessity of Freedom of Religion
In June 2021 the ICLRS Blog, “Talk About: Law and Religion,” hosted a webinar on advancing religious freedom in different political regimes. The panelists (Brett G. Scharffs, Seng Mai Aung, Ján Figeľ, Mine Yildirim, Knox Thames, and Elizabeth A. Clark) talked about their personal experiences in Iraq, Myanmar, Pakistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan focusing on challenges and restrictions religious and belief communities face in these countries and other parts of the world.
- Brett G. Scharffs & Seng Mai Aung, Religious Freedom in Difficult Places
- Jan Figel’, Advancing Religious Freedom in Different Political Regimes
- Mine Yildirim, In for the Long Haul—Advocating for Freedom of Religion or Belief
- Knox Thames, Saving Iraqi Religious Minorities and Their Heritage
- Elizabeth A. Clark, Advancing Religious Freedom in Different Political Regimes in Theory and Practice
This series offers a set of essays written from various perspectives—Catholic, Orthodox, and secular—and with different outcomes—more positive and supportive, and more critical—concerning both ideas and approaches articulated in the 2019 Declaration and its political implications.
- Andrea Pin. The Place of Religion in the Public Sphere: Speaking the Unspeakable
- Montserrat Gas Aixendri. Contemporary Challenges of Religious Freedom: State Neutrality and the Role of Religion in Public Life
- Mirjam Künkler&Tine Stein. Böckenförde, Religious Freedom and the Open Neutrality of the State
- Mikhail Antonov. Religious Freedom and Ecclesial Illiberalism
- Jeremy Patrick. Neutrality and “Religious Freedom for the Good of All”
In this series we discuss the conception “grievous religious persecution” developed by Werner Nicolaas Nel in his recently published book.
In this series, we look at the individualization of religious beliefs through lenses of social philosophy, religious studies, and law.
- Paolo Costa. Secularization is (Also) Individualization
- Stanislav Panin. In Search for a Language for Individualized Religiosity
- Jeremy Patrick. Individual Spirituality and Establishment
This series develops the theme we were discussing in one of our previous conversations: the normative, political, and symbolic role of mentioning God in the Australian Constitutions.
- Nicholas Aroney. God and Religion in the Australian Constitution
- Alex Deagon. The Symbolic Significance of God in the Australian Constitution
This series explores the normative, interpretative, political, and symbolic role of mentioning God, the Trinity, and other sacraments in secular constitutions. The contributors consider the German, Greek, Irish, Polish, and Russian cases.
- Justin Collings. God in Grundgesetz
- Effie Focas. The Trinity, the “Prevailing Religion,” and the Greek Constitution
- David Kenny. God in the Irish Constitution
- Piotr Szymaniec. The Notion of God and Christian Heritage in Polish Constitutions
- Mikhail Antonov. God in the Russian Constitution
In October 2020, Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis’s new encyclical was released. This 287-paragraph document provides a Catholic perspective on a variety of questions from human dignity and political integration from the lack of public trust and peacemaking to the death penalty and fake news. Talk About: Law and Religion posts a series of theological and philosophical reflections on Fratelli tutti.
- Thomas Massaro. The Renewal of Catholic Social Concerns in Fratelli tutti
- Greg Marcar. Universal Love and Borderless Rights: Attending to Our Neighbour with Pope Francis and the Good Samaritan
- Mikhail Minakov. Universalist Response to Particularistic Regression: Political Philosophy behind the Pope Francis Encyclical Fratelli tutti
- Rafael Domingo. Fratelli tutti: A Marvelous Gift of Pope Francis
- Montserrat Gas-Aixendri. Religious Peacebuilding in Fratelli tutti
- Patrick Hornbeck. Pope Francis’s Politics of Love
- Marco Ventura: Introduction to the Conversation
- Paolo Costa: Prisoners of an Image Secularization as an Epidemic
- Regina Elsner: Digitalizing the Church? Different Contexts, Similar Theological Challenges in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches
- Stanislav Panin: Pagan Communities in the Time of Pandemic
- Jennifer Lane: Global Church and Home Church in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Brett Scharffs and Brock Mason: Constitutional Cultures Creating Constitutional Space
- Alex Deagon: Towards a Constitutional Definition of Religion: Challenges and Prospects
- Jeremy Patrick: Individual Spirituality and the Future of Freedom of Religion
- Brett Scharffs and Brock Mason: Three Ways of Thinking about Reasonable Accommodation
- Neil Foster: Religious Freedom and Same Sex Marriage Laws: Constitutional and Other Issues
The Series Hosts join to reflect upon issues raised in the 14-part webinar series, COVID-19, Religion and Belief, sponsored by BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints European Office, Bruno Kessler Foundation / CIRIS and University of Sienna, FGV Escola de Direito do Rio de Janeiro, and the Cambridge Institute on Religion & International Studies.
- Brett Scharffs: Reflections upon the completion of the Covid-19 Webinar series
- Judd Birdsall: Reflections upon the completion of the Covid-19 Webinar series
- Pasquale Annicchino: Reflections upon the completion of the Covid-19 Webinar series
- Marco Ventura: Reflections upon the completion of the Covid-19 Webinar series
- Obergefell, Our Common Humanity, and Putting Children First
- Judicial Overreach and Reasonable Accommodation: Some British Reflection on the US Supreme Court Decision in Obergefell v. Hodges
- Postmodern Marriages for Postmodern Times: The Obergefell Case and the Strasbourg Court’s Jurisprudence
- Human Dignity, SOGI Claims, and the Obergefell Decision
- Alaa Murabit: Why Religious Freedom Matters to Me
- David A. Bednar:And When He Came to Himself
- Religious Freedom Annual Review 2020: Discussion with Sentors Sinema and Lee
- Michael O. Leavitt: COVID-19: Present and Future Implications for Religious Groups, Individuals, and Society
- Elizabeth A. Clark: The Transformative Power of Loss: Finding Community and Hope for All
- Brett G. Scharffs: Religious Freedom in the Age of Coronavirus: Legal and Non-Legal Strategies for Finding Community and Hope
- Jane Wise: Religious Freedom Annual Review 2020: Reports on the Sessions
We have opened a conversation on the important and timely topic of Religion and the Rule of Law. Existing posts are listed below.
- Paul Gowder: Religion and the Rule of Law: Elements of Desperation and Inspiration
- Brett Scharffs: The World-Defining Contest between Monism and Dualism and the Future of Religious Freedom
- Andrea Pin: The Rule of Law and the Place of Religion: Lessons from the Pandemic
- Sohail Wahedi. Private Beliefs, Public Platforms and the Rule of Law
Participants representing academic and human rights institutions in the US, Spain, Turkey, and Germany weigh in.
- Eugenia Relaño Pastor: Can We Reconcile the Freedom of Religion with the Right to Be Free from Gender Discrimination?
- Mine Yıldırım: Synergy and Conflict—Competing and Overlapping Interests of Freedom of Religion or Belief and Equality
- Fairness for All: An Answer to the Special Rapporteur’s Call for a Practical Resolution between Freedom of Religion or Belief and LGBT+ Non-discrimination
- Montserrat Gas-Aixendri: Is Religious Autonomy a Threat to Gender Equality?
Developed from contributions to an international Webinar held 16 April 2010, Episode 2 of the Webinar Series COVID-19 and Freedom of Religion or Belief. Hear panelist addressing: How is this global emergency affecting our concept of human dignity? How can we ensure that restrictions to civil liberties that we accept for our collective safety respect human dignity and human rights?
- Dmytro Vovk: Religious Policies under President Zelensky
- Andriy Fert: A Year after the Tomos: The Moscow Patriarchate’s Narratives About the New Church and Itself
- From Chaplains of Maidan to Military Chaplains: One Year after the Tomos
- Andrii Krawchuk: The Orthodox Church of Ukraine: Can Relations with the Russian Orthodox Church Be Normalized?
- Robert C. Blitt: U.S. Interference in Ukraine’s Autocephaly: An Ineffective, Unnecessary, and Unlikely Affair
- Stanislav Panin: A Language of “Sects” in Russian Reflections of Ukrainian Autocephaly
- Elizabeth A. Clark: Symbols, Speech, and Security
- Jane Wise: Modern Book-Burning: Protected Speech?
- Elizaveta Gaufman: More than a Feeling
- Maria Kravchenko: Disproportionality of Anti-Extremist Measures: The Case of Faizrakhamanists in Russia
- Jeroen Temperman: Freedom of Religion or Belief and Security – Some Reflections
- Mine Yıldırım: Security Measures and the Gender Dimension of Freedom of Religion or Belief
- Asma T. Uddin: More Security Does Not Require Less Freedom: The Case of the NYPD Surveillance Program
- Dmytro Vovk: The Names of Religious Groups and Security-Related Concerns
- Peter Weiderud: Let Freedom of Religion or Belief Pave the Way to Peaceful and Inclusive Societies