Everybody's Business: The Legal, Economic, and Political Implications of Religious Freedom

Is religious freedom good for business? Can religious liberty aid economic development, or help reduce poverty? What are the limits of religious freedom? Under the law, are for-profit businesses entitled to the exercise of that right in the United States? Does the HHS contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act restrict the religious freedom of businesses? What are the legal, economic, and political implications of the answer to that question?

On March 24, the day before Supreme Court oral arguments on the Hobby Lobby case, the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs co-sponsored a half-day conference on these and related questions. The conference announced a new partnership between the Religious Freedom Project and Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, the co-sponsor of the event. The conference began with an “On Topic” keynote conversation between Baylor University President and Chancellor, Judge Ken Starr, and Harvard University Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz. Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker reported on the "On Topic" conversation for the Washington Post.

12:00 - 12:30 p.m. | Buffet Lunch

12:30 - 2:00 p.m. | "On Topic" with Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz: "Beyond Hobby Lobby: What Is at Stake with the HHS Contraceptive Mandate?"

Ken Starr, Baylor University
Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School

2:00 - 2:15 p.m. | Break

2:15 - 3:45 p.m. | Panel 1: "Entering Hobby Lobby: The Case and Its Implications for Religious Freedom and Business"

Helen Alvare, George Mason University Law School
Kyle Duncan, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Michael Kessler (moderator), Berkley Center
Ira Lupu, George Washington University Law School
Micah Schwartzman, University of Virginia Law School

3:45 - 4:00 p.m. | Break

4:00 - 5:30 p.m. | Panel 2: "Is Religious Freedom Good for Business and for the Poor?"

Anthony Gill, University of Washington-Seattle
Brian Grim, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation
Byron Johnson (moderator), Baylor University
Rebecca Samuel Shah, Religious Freedom Project
Sr. Deirdre Byrne, Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts

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