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The Catholic and Marianist University

Conference on Justice and Social Concerns to cover religious freedom

The St. Mary’s University School of Law will host a series of talks and conversations related to religious freedom during its Conference on Justice and Social Concerns on Sept. 27-28.

Dahlia Lithwick

Lithwick

Robert George, D. Phil, J.D.

George

Abdullahi An-Na’im, Ph.D.

An-Na’im

Among the highlights will be the Lin Great Speakers Series at 7 p.m. both days, held in Conference Room A of the University Center.

Emory University professor Abdullahi An-Na’im, Ph.D., Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, will give a Lin Great Speakers keynote presentation on Wednesday. His talk is titled “Religious Freedom and the Universality of Human Rights: A Modernist Islamic Perspective.”

Princeton University professor Robert George, D. Phil, J.D., will deliver a Lin Great Speakers keynote presentation on Thursday. George, the Founding Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, will discuss “Constitutional Structures, Civic Virtue, and Political v Culture.”

Additionally, legal affairs columnist Dahlia Lithwick, of Slate magazine, will deliver the Rosenfield Family Lecture on religious freedom and the courts. University of St. Thomas law professor Thomas Berg will offer a talk on religious freedom in an era of polarization. Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Brown and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Kevin Yeary will reflect upon faith, religion and the legal profession.

Panel sessions with experts on faith, religion and the law will invite participants to consider the facts and moral obligations of the topics, and to reflect on how religious freedom affects our global community and the common good.

Wednesday, Sept. 27
9:20 a.m.: Welcome/Religious Expression at a Catholic University
10:20 a.m.: Student panel: Religious Life on Campus
11:20 a.m.: Community panel: Religious Freedom in South Texas
2:30 p.m.: Rosenfield Family Lecture: Religious Freedom in the Courts
4:15 p.m.: Student Open Forum
7 p.m.: Lin Great Speakers Series Keynote: “Religious Freedom and the Universality of Human Rights: A Modernist Islamic Perspective”
– Abdullahi An-Na’im, Ph.D., Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law and Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University

Thursday, Sept. 28
9:45 a.m.: Judicial panel: Faith, Religion, and the Legal Profession
2:30 p.m.: Lecture: Religious Freedom in an Era of Polarization
4:15 p.m.: Student Open Forum
7 p.m.: Lin Great Speakers Series Keynote: “Constitutional Structures, Civic Virtue, and Political v Culture”
– Robert George, D. Phil, J.D., McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence and Founding Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University

More about the Conference on Justice and Social Concerns
The annual Conference provides the St. Mary’s University campus community with the opportunity to engage with issues of social justice, faith, and personal and communal responsibility for the common good.

The Conference follows the direction set out from the Second Vatican Council to read, interpret and respond to the signs of the times (Gaudium et Spes, 4). The two-day event is hosted each year by one of the University’s schools and brings together experts from both academic and practical realms to lead the campus in dialogue around issues challenging our community locally and globally. The Conference will always include a keynote lecture supported by the Lin Great Speakers Series endowment.

Planned by a committee of students, faculty and staff, the conference is meant to invoke dialogue and even debate, recognizing the value of critical thinking and healthy tension. It provides an opportunity for all to encounter new perspectives and adopt methods for thoughtful critique and questioning. The value of a Catholic, liberal arts education is to learn to engage, to think critically and creatively, to have healthy dialogue, and to do so from a place of compassion and respect, rooted in love for one another and a desire to be agents of positive change in our world.

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