International Center for Law and Religion Studies
Center Reflections on 2011
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  January 16, 2012
Center Reflections on 2011

Reflecting on the endeavors of 2011 and plans and hopes for the coming year, it is fitting that we send this New Year's Greeting on January 16, Religious Freedom Day in the United States. This is a traditional day of celebration for our nation's commitment "to religious liberty not only for all Americans, but also for individuals around the world." As we celebrate this day, at the beginning of the 12th year of the official existence of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, we recall 2011 as a year of exceptionally hard work, with exceptionally gratifying results.

During 2011, Center personnel, with the help of many friends and colleagues, organized, sponsored, and otherwise participated in some 48 conferences, training sessions, and other events worldwide, including the 18th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium here in Provo. In addition, the first Religious Freedom Discussion Series, co-sponsored ... more

U. S. Religious Freedom News
Presidential Proclamation – Religious Freedom Day, 16 January 2012


For nearly four centuries, men and women have immigrated to America's shores in pursuit of religious freedom.  Hailing from diverse backgrounds and faiths, countless settlers have shared a simple aspiration -- to practice their beliefs free from prejudice ... more

U.S. High Court Decides Landmark "Ministerial Exception" Case

Europeans interested in religion-state issues may wish to take note of an opinion delivered by the United States Supreme Court on 12 January 2012. The decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been termed the most significant U.S. religious freedom case in half a century. In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that employment discrimination suits against leaders and teachers of religious organizations impermissibly interfere with the internal governance of religious organizations and thus violate the U.S. Constitution's Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. ... more

Center News
Congratulations on the Center's Hosanna-Tabor Amicus Brief

The "unanimous Supreme Court decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, upholding a small Lutheran school’s right to control its employment of 'commissioned ministers' on its teaching staff, is very good news indeed for religious freedom. Congratulations are due to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, to Professor Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia (who teamed up with Becket in representing the school) ... more

First Issue of Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Set to Publish

Advance access  to the first issue of The Oxford Journal of Law and Religion is now available online, with print publication to follow shortly. The issue features case notes by ICLRS Managing Editor Donlu Thayer and by ICLRS Research Advisors Joseph Hepworth and Keith J. Allred. A note about the recently decided Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC case by ICLRS Associate Director Elizabeth A. Clark, a principal drafter of the Center's amicus brief in the case, is also set for the first ... more

Professor Clark Presents Discussion Series Lecture, 1 December 2011

Professor Elizabeth A. Clark, Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and the Center's regional advisor for Central and Eastern Europe, presented the final lecture in the first International Religious Freedom Discussion Series on Thursday, 1 December 2011 in Room 472 of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. 

Professor Clark's lecture, "Recent Legislative Trends Affecting Religious Freedom in Eastern Europe and Central Asia," addressed ... more

19th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium

The theme for the 19th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, to be held in Provo, Utah, 7-9 October 2012, has been announced.  Symposium participants will discuss "Religion, Democracy, and Civil Society," exploring the following sub-themes:

  • Religious Organizations, Civil Society, and Pluralism
  • The Role of Religion in Democratic Transformation
  • Religion in Public and Private

More information will follow. Check the Annual Symposium page of the ICLRS website.

Sharing Sacred Space – Interdisciplinary Conference in Rome

An interdisciplinary conference "Sharing Sacred Space: Legal, Theological, and Sociological Perspectives," was held 14-15 December 2011 at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome.

The conference was co-organized by the Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion, Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School, United States, in addition to the Angelicum's The John Paul II Center. Additional sponsors were the International Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Education (IFIIE), Italy, and the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding, Brigham Young University.*  ... more

In the News
Pew Survey: Latter-day Saints in the United States

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has published the findings of a comprehensive survey of more than 1,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in the United States. The study is "the first of its kind ever published by a non-LDS research organization." The findings were made available on the Pew Forum website on 12 January 2012, and three articles summarizing the findings were prepared by Joseph Walker of the ... more

Pew Internet: Civic Engagement of Religiously Active Americans

According to a study released on 23 December 2011, "religiously active Americans are more trusting of others, and they are more involved in groups and in their communities – they also feel better about their locales." The study, conducted by the ... more

Pew Report: Global Christianity

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has announced results of a demographic study of more than 200 countries, tracking the size and distiribution of the world's Christian population. According to the study, released on 21 December 2011, "there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. Christians are also geographically widespread - so far-flung ... more

Pew Study: Religious Advocacy Groups in Washington, D.C.

A study released 21 November 2011 by the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life  notes a dramatic increase in religious advocacy groups over the past forty years. "The number of organizations engaged in religious lobbying or religion-related advocacy in Washington, D.C., has increased roughly fivefold in the past four decades, from fewer than 40 in 1970 to more than 200 today." Such groups ... more

CA Supreme Court Says Prop 8 Backers Have Standing to Defend Measure

On 17 November 2011 the Supreme Court of California announced its ruling in Perry v. Brown, the case concerning the legal standing issues involved in the controversial "Proposition 8" case, Perry v. Schwarzennegger. The Ninth Circuit had in January 2011 asked the Court to answer the following question: "Whether under Article II, Section 8 of the California Constitution, or otherwise ... more

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies -
J. Reuben Clark Law School    Brigham Young University
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