The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently released its 2024 Annual Report, which contains recommendations regarding U.S. government efforts to enhance religious freedom globally. Nadine Maenza comments on the report and the global religious freedom trends it reflects.

On 1 January 2024, the Israeli Supreme Court in its longest-ever judgment struck down a highly controversial law passed by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in its attempts to limit the judicial branch. Bar-Ilan University Professor Ori Aronson comments on the main issues of the case, explains the role in this decision of the October 2023 deadly Hamas attack on Israel, and elaborates on whether the government and the right-wing coalition in the Knesset will respect it.

On 29 June 2023, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina, declaring race-based college affirmative action programs unconstitutional. BYU Law Professor Frederick Mark Gedicks comments on the main issue in both cases and tries to predict its legal and social implications.

On 29 June 2023, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina, declaring race-based college affirmative action programs unconstitutional. Paul Gowder of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law criticizes the decision, but also the use of diversity as a justification for affirmative action. Gowder argues that there are ethically better justifications for affirmative action and explains where he sees hope for advancing equality in U.S. higher education.

Yeshiva University refused to recognize a student “Pride Alliance” club based on its inconsistency with Torah values. A group of students and alumni has sued the university, demanding official recognition of the club. On 14 September 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to protect the university from a New York trial court order requiring it to recognize the LGBTQ+ club. BYU Law Professor Frederick Mark Gedicks comments on the main issue of the case, elaborates on the strongest arguments in favor of Yeshiva’s and the club’s positions, and tries to predict how the U.S. Supreme Court would decide this case on merits.

On 27 June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a former high school football coach had a right to pray on the 50-yard line at the conclusion of a game. BYU Law Professor Frederick Mark Gedicks explains why he thinks this decision is problematic, particularly for small religious groups, and how it will affect the Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence.

Sociologist of religion Jerry Pankhurst (Wittenberg University) and political scientist Alar Kilp (University of Tartu) discuss the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Russian-Ukrainian war, explain why Moscow Patriarch Kirill supports Putin, and foresee the future of the church.

On 23 December 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. Dr. Nadia Bernaz discusses the Act’s main provisions, the reaction of the U.S. business community, the EU approach to combatting forced labor, and the expected effectiveness of this legislation.

Dr. Dmytro Vovk discusses the religious dimension of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict including the influence of religion on the conflict, threats to religious freedom in the territories affected by the conflict and church-state relations in Ukraine in the context of the conflict.

In this video, Dmytro Vovk,  member of the OSCE/ODIHR Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief and a co-editor of Talk About: Law and Religion, explains why freedom of religion or belief and security should be advanced as non-competitive goals.

Catherine Wanner discusses the role of anthropological approach in studying religion, the difference between religion and faith, atheists campaigns in communist countries, religiosity and religious life of post-communist societies, and religious lessons of the communist era.

Read the full printed version of Catherine Wanner’s interview here.

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 of Knox Thames’s interview here.
Shamshad Pasarlay, a former professor at an Afghanistan university, speaks on possible changes in the Afghan political and legal system after most of the country was seized by the Taliban. He focuses on the nature of the regime, the application of the Taliban’s version of sharia law, and its threats to women’s and girl’s rights.

Webinar Advancing Religious Freedom in Different Political Regimes held on 7 June 2021 to highlight opportunities and successful stories, as well as challenges and failures in promoting religious freedom globally.

Speakers: Brett G. ScharffsJán Figeľ, Mine Yildirim, Knox Thames, Elizabeth Clark.

Moderated by Dmytro Vovk.

Webinar God in Secular Constitutions held on 7 Dec 2020 to learn more about religion and secular constitutionalism with focus on the Australian, German, Polish, and Russian constitutions.

Speakers: Brett G. Scharffs, Justin Collings, Nicholas Aroney, Mikhail Antonov, Piotr Szymaniec.

Moderated by Dmytro Vovk.