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UVU’s Symposium on Religious Liberty to feature New York Times opinion writer

31 March 2016 No Comment

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Melinda Colton | 801-863-6807 | melindac@uvu.edu

The Center for Constitutional Studies at Utah Valley University will host New York Times opinion writer Ross Douthat during its annual Constitutional Symposium on Religious Liberty on April 11-12. The two-day event features a lineup of distinguished religious studies and constitutional scholars and multidenominational contributors.

“This year’s spring symposium is a great opportunity to keep a conversation going on the place of faith in our society,” said Andrew Bibby, CCS interim director. “The 2016 symposium is unique for two reasons. This year we are working closely with the Religious Studies Program at UVU and its Mormon Studies Conference. Working together allows us to cover a fascinating spectrum of topics. This year’s symposium is also unique because it features the first panel dedicated specially to UVU students and the winners of the first CCS religious liberty essay contest. We look forward to a lively and productive conference on an issue that intersects with the most important questions in religious life and Constitutional studies.”

The symposium begins Monday, April 11, with Douthat’s opening keynote address, “All Mormons Now? The Religious Debate’s 19th Century Future,” at 7 p.m. in Classroom Building 101. The evening is co-sponsored by the UVU Mormon Studies Conference.

Presentations on Tuesday, April 12, include:

– Randall Balmer, prize-winning historian, prolific scholar, and frequent guest on television and radio on topics related to religion in American life, will provide the opening address, “Strangers in an Alien Land: Religious Liberty in a Secularizing Society,” at 8:30 a.m. in Classroom Building 101b.

– A roundtable, “Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics” at 1 p.m. in Classroom 101b, will feature University of Notre Dame political science professor David Campbell and BYU political science associate professor Quin Monson. Naomi Riley, weekly columnist for the New York Post, former Wall Street Journal editor, and author, will lead the discussion.

– At 2:30 p.m. the conference will explore legal and constitutional dimensions of religious liberty. Michael Zuckert, the Nancy Reeves Dreux professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and former director of the Tocqueville Program for Inquiry Into Religion and Public Life, will provide a historical overview of the contested meaning of the First Amendment. His paper is titled, “Freedom of, Freedom for, and Freedom from Religion: Contested Character of Religious Freedom in America.” Following his remarks, Matthew Franck, director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution, and professor emeritus of political science at Radford University, will provide background and comment on the oral argument in the March 23 Supreme Court case, Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell.

– The Center will announce the winners of the first CCS “Symposium on Religious Liberty Student Essay Contest.” Riley will discuss the winning student essays during a CCS student panel, at 54 p.m. in Classroom Building 510.

CCS was established at UVU in September 2011. The center is a nonpartisan academic institute that promotes the instruction, study, and research of constitutionalism. It employs a multidisciplinary approach to effectively equip a new generation of citizens and leaders with a broad understanding of political thought and economic and political practices critical to the perpetuation of constitutional government, ordered liberty, and the rule of law.

All events are open to the public at no charge. For more information visit uvu.edu/ccs.

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Ross Douthat Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Ross Douthat
Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

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