The 28th Annual Law and Religion Symposium “A Time to Heal: Peace among Cultures; Understanding between Religions”

Jane Wise is an Associate Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University

The 28th Annual Law and Religion Symposium, sponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and BYU Law School, was centered on “A Time to Heal: Peace among Cultures; Understanding between Religions.”

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began the 28th Annual Law and Religion Symposium Sunday, October 3, 2021, with a discussion about healing and equal privileges of belief among all people. From a pre-recording at the G20 Interfaith Summit in Bologna, Italy, held in September,  panelists included Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency and president of Latter-day Saint Charities, and Elder Jack N. Gerard, a General Authority Seventy. Brett G. Scharffs, a professor at BYU Law School and director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, moderated the discussion. This was the second time the symposium was hosted virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Video: Knox Thames on the U.S. Efforts to Advance Religious Freedom Globally

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sxlM5Xki3g In his interview, Knox Thames discusses U.S. religious freedom diplomacy, ambiguous interrelations between democracy and religious freedom protection, vulnerability of LGBT-community, converts, and atheists, and perspectives of international religious freedom. Read the full printed version…

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Interview: Knox Thames on the U.S. Efforts to Advance Religious Freedom Globally

Knox Thames is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement and Visiting Expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He previously served as the State Department Special Advisor for Religious Minorities under both the Obama and Trump administrations. He is writing a book on 21st-century strategies to combat religious persecution. Knox Thames was interviewed by Dmytro Vovk.

Watch a shorter video version of this interview here.

TalkAbout: Why is religious freedom an important part of U.S. foreign policy?

Knox Thames: The promotion of freedom of religion or belief, internationally, is a reflection of American values and history. Many of the first European settlers were religious minorities who came to North America because they were fleeing religious persecution in Europe. They were looking for a place where they could freely practice their beliefs and live out their faith, and they found that here in North America. It’s been a part of the American narrative from the very beginning. Once our Republic was established, our Constitution was written, and our Bill of Rights was created, the very first of ten amendments, the First Amendment, was created protecting freedom of religion or belief and preventing the government from interfering into the practice of religion. It was that framework that has served our country very well over 245 years. We have tremendous religious liberty here in the United States. It’s not perfect. But it has continually improved as we’ve become increasingly diverse religiously, ethnically, to allow everyone to pursue truth as their conscience leads.

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