J. Reuben Clark Law Society
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JRCLS Members in Action

"Latter-day Saints and other churches must be ever more effective in making the persuasive case for why both religious belief and institutional identity are more relevant than ever and deserve continued consideration and privilege within our society."

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Denver JRCLS Chapter Brings Together Members, Catholic Lawyers Guild, and Tenth Circuit Judge for Religious Liberty Discussion

In October 2014, the Denver Chapter of the JRCLS organized and hosted a lunch-time event to discuss recent developments in religious liberty law and, in particular, the Tenth Circuit and Supreme Court decisions in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. Speaking at the gathering was Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich, who drafted the Tenth Circuit opinion. The JRCLS invited Catholic Lawyers Guild members to the event, and over 100 attorneys from private practice, in-house positions, and government posts attended. Read More...

Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the JRCLS Hosts 5th Annual International Religious Liberty Award Dinner and Reception

On October 9, 2014, the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Mid-Atlantic Chapter hosted the 5th Annual International Religious Liberty Award Dinner and Reception. In conjunction with the J. Reuben Clark Law School's International Center for Law and Religious Studies, the 2014 International Religious Liberty Award was presented to Congressman Frank Wolf from Virginia for his many years of support and work for religious liberty. Read More...

Moscow Chapter Focuses on Religious Freedom

Braving the November chill and heavy traffic, fifteen members of the Moscow, Russia, chapter of the JRCLS were welcomed at the home of Brent and Lorinda Belnap for the second meeting of the chapter on November 14, 2014. The hospitality of the Belnaps, including delicious food, fueled the socializing and introductions, as several in the chapter had not met before. David Channer, Regional Legal Counsel for the LDS Church, gave a timely presentation on Trends in the Narrowing of Religious Liberty.Read More...

2015 Religious Freedom Conferences

The BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) is hosting its yearly Religious Freedom Annual Review at the BYU Conference Center in Provo, UT July 6-8, 2015. For more information, please visit http://religiousfreedom.byu.edu. ICLRS is also co-hosting a conference at Oxford in the United Kingdom June 21-24, 2015. The conference will commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. For more information, contact wrightde@law.byu.edu or call (801) 422-6842.

Religious Freedom is Good for Business

Attendees of the JRCLS Leadership Conference were treated with a speech by Brian Grim, Founder and President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. Prior to his work with the foundation, Grim worked at Pew Research Center. He is viewed as a world leader regarding religious freedom issues.

The Foundation is the first organization dedicated to educating businesses about why religious freedom will enable them to be more productive and successful. To that end, Grim has been traveling the world to meet with government and business leaders. Recent research shows that "economic growth and global competitiveness are stronger when social hostilities involving religion are low and government respect for, and protection of, the universally recognized human right of freedom is high."

Grim calls for a broader definition of corporate social responsibility ("CSR"), advocating that part of being good corporate citizens includes respecting the religious beliefs of employees. Such measures would be welcome in the United States, for example, as one-third of its citizens have experienced or witnessed religious discrimination in the work force. Grim has published a brochure regarding four to five companies who have included respect for religious beliefs as part of their definition of CSR. He was recently able to present the brochure to the Secretary General to the United Nations.

The application of the principles Grim advocates are evidenced by his work to help Lutheran converts in Pakistan. Grim met with leaders of the Lutheran Church in Finland who told him of the Dalits, prior Hindus of the "untouchable" caste, consigned to be garbage collectors. Grim suggested getting the Pakistani business community involved to create training and jobs in the waste management industry for these converts in an effort he coined "waste to wealth." For the Dalits and others experiencing religious persecution worldwide, Grim's efforts are an immeasurable blessing.

For more information, the Foundation's website address is: http://religiousfreedomandbusiness.org/.

Congressman Frank Wolf Receives Religious Liberty Award from JRCLS

On Thursday night, October 9, 2014, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU hosted a religious freedom dinner at which Congressman Frank Wolf was presented with the International Religious Liberty Award. This is the fifth annual dinner at which this award has been given. Congressman Wolf was also the keynote speaker and highlighted the challenges facing religious freedom both domestically and internationally. He urged the attendees not to be silent and to speak up for religious freedom. Five monetary awards were also presented to students who had submitted papers on religious freedom for consideration. About 180 people attended the event. Congressman Wolf's great talk is posted in three parts on the JReubenClarkLaw YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/JReubenClarkLaw.

2014 Religious Freedom Conference: A Galactic Battle

"Just because you turned to the dark side...." Yes, even allusions to Star Wars were included in the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies' Religious Freedom Conference held July 7-9. Panelists exchanged these pleasantries as they played out the arguments from the Supreme Courts' recent decision in Hobby Lobby.

Turning from the galactic battle over the Hobby Lobby case, the Conference got down to "Business." Religious freedom and business became the Conference's focus as participants discussed cutting-edge research showing the benefits of religious freedom to the business community. A subsequent panel of professors from across the country discussed the implications of same-sex marriage for religious freedom.

After covering these "cutting-edge" topics, speakers covered the nuts and bolts of religious freedom. Two panels covered the establishment and free exercise clauses. Subsequent speakers then delved into the religious freedom implications of taxation, land use, RFRA, and education. The final day of the conference focused on international religious freedom protections.

In a luncheon on the final day of the Conference, Bill Atkin, Associate General Counsel for the Church, laid down a passionate challenge that we all do something to promote and protect religious freedom. He explained that with the array of topics covered in the Conference, and so many topics not covered by the Conference, it doesn't matter where we start. We just need to start somewhere.

Information about the Law Society's current religious freedom efforts is available here: http://www.jrcls.org/?folder=religious_freedom&page=action Video recordings of the conference are available for purchase at http://ce.byu.edu/cw/iclrs/ The Center plans to hold another conference in July 2015. Additional details to follow.

Conscience v. Same-Sex Rights: Orange County Chapter Hosts Debate

For the tenth year, the Orange County JRCLS chapter hosted its Religion & the Law Symposium at Chapman University law school in Orange, California. This year's symposium, held March 20, was titled "Rights of Conscience v. Same-Sex Rights: Religious Liberty in the Post-Prop. 8 Environment."

The event was co-sponsored by Chapman law school, the Christian Legal Society (both Orange County and Los Angeles chapters), the Federalist Society (Orange County Lawyers Chapter), Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County, the Orange County Jewish Bar Association, Pepperdine University School of Law, the St. Thomas More Society of Orange County, Trinity Law School, Western State College of Law, and Whittier Law School. Read more...

Phoenix JRCLS Chapter Brings Life to the Desert with First Law and Religion Symposium

This past January the Phoenix JRCLS chapter hosted its first Law and Religious Symposium at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, at Arizona State University. The conference was timely, given the recent controversy regarding Arizona Bill SB 1062, which would have granted an individual or legal entity an exemption from any state law that substantially burdened the exercise of religion. The Phoenix chapter hosted the event in partnership with the Thomas More Society. Chairperson Kent Kammack was pleased with the turnout, noting that the 135 attendees represented many different faiths. Read more...

JRCLS Co-Hosts Religious Liberty Festival Event in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Dozens of entrepreneurs gathered on the night of Tuesday, May 21, at the Business Franklyn Covey Brazil offices in Sao Paolo to mark the start of a week-long Religious Liberty Festival in Sao Paulo. The various religious freedom events, which took place between 21 and 25 May, was overseen by the Religious Freedom Commission of the Brazil Bar Association, Sao Paulo (OAB / SP), in partnership with the Adventist Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints. Read more...