Understanding Religion’s Roles in Peacebuilding

James Christie is Ambassador-at-Large for the Canadian Multifaith Federation. The following is an edited summary of his remarks at the 29th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, 3 October 2022.

It is not my custom to dedicate a particular paper or talk to any one person, but in this case, I wish to make an exception. Recently the world, and my country especially, lost the Honorable the Reverend Professor William Alexander Blaikie, one of Canada’s longest-serving politicians and Social Democrats, statesman, and the director of the Knowles-Woodsworth Centre for Theology and Public Policy, which came under my administrative purview many years ago. His contributions were enormous, and I should like to dedicate these thoughts to the inspiration of Bill and his memory. May he rest in peace.

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Why Religious Freedom Matters to Me: The 2022 Religious Freedom Annual Review

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; links to videos of the opening session and other sessions are available here.

Reverend Marian Edmonds-Allen presenting on the importance of religious freedom for all

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Why Religious Freedom Matters to Me

Chris Seiple is the president emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement, a think- and do-tank operating at the intersection of religion, realpolitik, and reconciliation. The following is an edited summary of his remarks at the ICLRS 2022 Religious Freedom Annual Review, 16 June 2022.

Religious Freedom Is the Only Thing that Works

Why does religious freedom matter to me? The answer is that religious freedom is the only thing that works. It is the only thing that brings together principles and practicality in a way that speaks to all audiences and serves all citizens. It is as simple as that. It is a philosophy of self, societal, and state governance, holistic from the bottom up (the individual/grassroots) to the top down (the institution/government). This approach works, but it takes a lot of work to make it work.

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