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Law & Justice:

The Christian Law Review

1963 - 2023


The New Great Awakening of Religious Freedom in America Today

John Witte, Jr. Woodruf University Professor, McDonald Distinguished Professor, Faculty Director,
Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University.
Please find poster here (PDF)

Tuesday September 26th 2023
6:00 pm

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Organised by Law & Justice, the Christian Law Review and the
University of Notre Dame

Twenty years ago, American religious freedom was in trouble. The United States Supreme Court had weakened the First Amendment considerably, and religious freedom claims were often subordinated to sexual liberty and other rights claimants. States routinely denied funds and benefits to religious parties and removed traditional religious symbols and ceremonies from public life. Leading academics castigated religious group rights claimants given recent charges of sexual abuse and financial fraud. In 2000, religious freedom was a second-class right.

No longer! The past decade has seen a great awakening of American religious freedom, led by the United States Supreme Court. In more than two dozen cases since 2012, the Court has strengthened the First Amendment to strike down public regulations and policies that discriminated against religion. It has granted religious individuals and groups exemptions from general laws that substantially burdened religious conscience. And it has built strong new protections for the religious worship of prisoners, students, and teachers, and against state efforts to remove religious symbols, ceremonies, and statuary from public life.

Decisions of the US Supreme Court are not only influential in other counties but also evoke much interest and discussion. One example is the recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization which reversed Roe v Wade. This lecture will thus be of interest to all those concerned with religious freedom not only in America but world wide.

This Lecture will map and measure this new great awakening of religious liberty but also warns about the ample challenges that remain.

John Witte, Jr. is Woodruff University Professor of Law, McDonald Distinguished Professor of Religion, and Faculty Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He has published 45 books and 300 articles in 15 languages, and has delivered 425 lectures worldwide, including recently the Gifford Lectures at Aberdeen.

Law & Justice is a peer reviewed journal published by the Edmund Plowden Trust for the purpose of assisting and promoting the study and understanding of the law of this country (UK) and its legal systems in themselves and by comparing them with the laws and systems of other countries and by considering them in the light of Christian sources such as The Declaration of Religious Freedom (of the Second Vatican Council), International Law, Canon Law and the Law of Nature.

The online Case Index is a particularly valuable resource to scholars working in the field of law and religion. Abstracts of recent journal articles are also available online.

In addition to publishing "Law & Justice" the Trust

holds the Richard O'Sullivan Memorial Lecture,

when a distinguished lawyer speaks on a topic concerned with

Law and Christian values.



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