J. Reuben Clark Law Society
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Revert to History:

30 Seconds Contest Winners


First Place (tie): Dustin Bradshaw

First Place (tie): Alisa Olson
A Lesson from Shoes

Third Place: Jill Jasperson

Honorable Mention: Dustin Bradshaw
Liberty to Choose

Honorable Mention: Dustin Bradshaw


First Place: Ariane S. Afshari
Religion- To choose or not to choose

Religious freedom is often an alien concept for most Iranians like myself. Decades of religious prosecution and the curbing of individual liberties have inevitably left their mark on Middle-Easterners. This collective trauma is often exemplified in the misguided, but widely held belief that religion is not only incompatible with democracy, but even directly opposed and in contradiction to civil liberties.
As a teenager, I had no reason to doubt this anti-religious orthodoxy. It was only as an 18 year-old university student (whilst googling "Christian-inspired Rock bands" and "Alaskan extreme sports") that I chanced upon Professor Christensen's testimony on religious freedom. He recounted the story of his final encounter with a Marxists economist friend from China who asserted (with astonishment) just "how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy". I began to see that even for people from traditionally "godless" societies, religion was a diamond of inestimable value.
Sadly, today I feel that much of the Western world stands at a moral crossroads. We have embarked on a crusade against (not for) religious freedom and we mistakenly believe that religion is the antonym of democracy. We desperately seek, but cannot find spiritual fulfilment.
Modern society creates and sustains this moral vacuum. Keeping religion tightly to the periphery of our lives. However, Religion, I feel, is the beating heart of democracy that affords me the freedom of conscience to choose "my" God, "your" God or "no" God.

Second Place: Rand Hawk
If I fight for freedom of speech, I am called "patriot".
If I fight for freedom of the press, I am called "patriot".
If I fight for freedom to protest, I am called "patriot".
If I fight for freedom of property, I am called "patriot".
If I fight for freedom to trial by jury, I am called "patriot". 
But if I fight for freedom of religion... 
I am called "bigot", "intolerant", "prejudiced", "close-minded", "hateful". 
Can any one of these rights exist without the others?

Third Place: Andrew Thomas
A Test for Religious Liberty

If you want to know if a country has religious freedom, attempt to declare, at the top of your lungs and in a busy city square, beliefs contrary to the majority population. If nothing happens, there is hope of liberty in that place.  If the State stops you through police or government-inflicted restrictions, then the State has taken away the rights of the People.  If the People stop your message through force or other means, then society itself is not ready for liberty, no matter what rights are given by the government.  However, if the People debate your beliefs and state that you are wrong, but allow you to defend your belief, and to live by that belief, then you should live in that country, for the people there understand the need for both the freedom to belief, and the right to disagree with that belief through nonviolent, civil means.

Honorable Mention: Bennett Briggs
The Essence of America 

Religious liberty is the essence of the American dream. The opportunity to believe something with all your heart and then to act on it is why people founded this country then and why people continue to defend her today. Respect and compromise will go much farther than rejection and coercion when differences arise. Tolerance for others and their viewpoints, especially when they are different from our own, is key to this nation’s future success.   

Honorable Mention: Sean Kikkert

When I was a teenager, I attended a private Christian high school whose Latin motto was "fortiter in re, suaviter in modo".  Translated this means "firm in principle but gentle in manner."    
My high school teachers weren't perfect in living up to this motto.  Sometimes they weren't firm enough and let us get away with things when we really deserved to be punished.  On other occasions the punishments that I received were harsh and even unfair.  Generally, however, my teachers exemplified being both firm and kind, and their Christlike attitude towards me helped me to grow both academically and in character. 
While I never thought too much about this motto while I was at school, I have pondered on it since leaving school.  And I have concluded that this motto embodies the attitude that we should have in defending religious liberty.  We can be firm and resolute in standing up for our convictions and contending for religious freedom.  This takes courage when our religious convictions are unpopular or may be vigorously, and sometimes even viciously, challenged.  However, at the same time we can be gentle, kind and loving in our manner.  We can show great respect, courtesy and understanding to our opponents, even if that same courtesy is not returned.  We can also be generous and assume good intentions in others.  As we content for religious liberty in a way that is firm in principle but gentle in manner, we can shape our public environment for good.  

Honorable Mention: Adam Balinski
Church believers and secular-believers

Politics is unavoidably religious. Morals and rights are belief choices about good and evil. There's no scientific way to prove them. In a proper-functioning democracy, everyone is free to politically proselytize beliefs, even if those beliefs have roots in organized religion, scripture, or spirituality. When belief choices are popular enough-regardless of their source-they become law.
Today, examples abound of church-based belief choices being scornfully rejected simply because of "religious" roots. Indeed, the media often grants more credibility to secular belief choices, not because of merits, but because of source. This apparent presumption against church-based beliefs cannot be what the founders-who built our nation on countless church-based beliefs-meant by the "separation of church and state." Overcoming this misunderstanding will help restore balance to the political playing field between church believers and secular believers.

Honorable Mention: Brian Grim
Business is Good for Religious Freedom, Interfaith Understanding & Peace

Businesses are uniquely situated to solve problems caused by religious restrictions and hostilities because they are at the crossroads of culture, commerce and creativity. Indeed, they have a vested interest because religious freedom is good for business. Research shows that religious freedom not only benefits the bottom line, but also improves the lives of women, consolidates democracy, and increases peace and stability.
How does business promote religious freedom, interfaith understanding and peace?
Using Marketing Expertise to Bridge Borders: Companies can make positive contributions to peace in society by mobilizing advertising campaigns that bring people of various faiths and backgrounds together, as seen in a variety of Coca-Cola advertisements, including one bringing Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan together through live video feeds in their vending machines.
Incentivizing Innovation: Because cross-cultural dialogue and cooperation is an essential part of daily work for multinational companies, one company, the BMW Group, incentivizes other organizations to create innovative approaches to interfaith understanding through an award organized in collaboration with the UN Alliance of Civilizations. Organizations that have won this award include a tour company in the Middle East, which offers new paths to build bridges and bring cultures together through profitable interfaith tourism. Another recognized intercultural innovator uses job placements agencies to help contribute to the religious diversity of workforces, including helping Muslim youth from poorer areas of the Philippines get jobs in the Catholic-majority parts of the country.
Incubating and Catalyzing Social Entrepreneurship: Business can also provide common ground where religious differences give way to shared concern and enterprise. In Nigeria, for instance, the Yola Innovation Machine, a peace-building organization, works to support companies and new entrepreneurs in conflict-affected areas as a way to reduce extremism.
Supporting Workforce Diversity: In Indonesia, businesses are at the forefront of efforts to promote interfaith understanding. For instance, EXPRESS Taxi, with a fleet of more than 7,000 taxis in Jakarta, promotes a faith-friendly workplace by setting up prayer rooms and facilitating Muslim and Christian observances as well as celebrations of Chinese New Year. In addition, businesses in Indonesia have worked to fix large, seemingly intractable social problems such as helping 4,541 poor couples receive the proper marriage licenses in large-scale interfaith weddings. 
For these and more case studies, see: http://religiousfreedomandbusiness.org/2/post/2014/07/business-brings-peace-and-religious-freedom-finds-new-study.html


First Place: Greg Wurm
Believing in the Freedom to Believe

Anyone who believes in freedom must also believe in the freedom to believe.

Second Place: Eric Johnson
State interference with religion is state-sponsored religion.

State interference with the free exercise of religion is the inherent implementation of a state-sponsored religion.

Third Place: M. Gregg Fager
Thirty Sound Bites/Slogans to Choose from  

Separation of Church and State Fails Unless State Sustains Religious Liberty   

Honorable Mention: M. Gregg Fager
Thirty Sound Bites/Slogans to Choose from  

The Free Exercise of Religion Is the Free Exercise of Conscience

Honorable Mention: Michaela Stephens

I can choose my beliefs, and I'll let you choose yours too. #ReligiousFreedom

Honorable Mention: Reed Hopper
Freedom of Conscience

Freedom of conscience--upon which relgious liberty rests-- is the defining attribute of human existence and cannot be annulled by any man, government or even God Himself.


First Place: Emily Anderson
Without Religious Liberty

Second Place: Emily Anderson
What is Religious Liberty?

Third Place: Allison Jackson

Honorable Mention: Frances Rice
Lawyers Defend Religious Freedom

See other Submissions!