Religious Freedom and the Common Good: A Symposium of the Religious Freedom Project

This conference explored the wide-ranging political, economic, and social dimensions of religious freedom and their enduring impact on the global common good. The RFP's 13 associate scholars and other experts from across the academy addressed a range of key questions about the broader implications of religious freedom.
Our symposium explored the following: To what extent is religious liberty critical for human flourishing? When and how does it contribute to economic prosperity, democratization, and peace? What challenges face religious communities living under repressive governments or hostile social forces? How is the persecution of religion related to other infringements of basic human rights? What is the relationship between religious freedom and violent religious extremism, and is there a role for religious freedom in efforts to undermine radicalization and counter violent religious extremism and terrorism over the long term?

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) delivered a keynote address on the promotion of international religious freedom as an urgent global imperative.


9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. | Welcome
Thomas Banchoff, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs
Thomas Farr, Religious Freedom Project

9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. | Religious Freedom and Human Flourishing
Byron Johnson, Baylor University (moderator)
Thomas Berg, University of St. Thomas
Rebecca Shah, Religious Freedom Project
Brad Wilcox, University of Virginia
Robert Woodberry, Baylor University

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. | Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. | Faith and Finance: A Productive Partnership?
Brian Grim, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (moderator)
Ilan Alon, University of Agder, Norway
Anthony Gill, University of Washington
Timur Kuran, Duke University
Rachel McCleary, Harvard University

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

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. | Keynote Address:
International Religious Freedom Promotion as a Moral, Economic, and Geopolitical Imperative
The Honorable Ben Sasse, United States Senator, Nebraska

1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. | Authoritarianism, Majoritarianism, and Religious Repression
Timothy Shah, Religious Freedom Project (moderator)
Peter Danchin, University of Maryland School of Law
Karrie Koesel, University of Notre Dame
John Owen, University of Virginia
Ani Sarkissian, Michigan State University

2:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. | Religious Freedom as an Antidote to Violent Religious Extremism
Thomas Farr, Religious Freedom Project (moderator)
Sahar Aziz, Texas A&M University School of Law
Allen Hertzke, University of Oklahoma
William Inboden, University of Texas
Daniel Philpott, University of Notre Dame

4:00 p.m. | Closing Remarks
Timothy Shah, Religious Freedom Project

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