college campuses

A University Without Religious Freedom is Not a University

By: Grant Jones

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom.” As the young Benjamin Franklin notes in these cogent words, the pursuit of knowledge and freedom to think, contemplate, and consider go hand in hand. Though a man of questionable morality, Franklin’s palpable intellect assisted him in—many years following his transcription of these words—shaping a nation based upon the defense of one’s right to individual thought and expression. 

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Building a Culture of Religious Freedom

By: Kevin D. Sullivan

At the heart of the Catholic faith, and indeed even in its very name “Catholic,” is a recognition and appreciation for the universality of Catholicism. The beliefs, doctrines, and way of life that flow from Catholicism have a specific nature, but are applicable in an incredibly diverse number of ways. Learning this reality, especially through the lens of the Ignatian tradition, showed me the importance of religious freedom not only to my alma mater, Georgetown University, but to all universities. In many ways, I have seen the Georgetown community express why religious freedom is not just about surface-level tolerance, but about benefiting from an environment where faith is welcome in the public square. From this perspective, it is not just important that universities protect religious freedom in the legal sense, but that they also seek to encourage a culture of religious freedom.

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Religion and Speech: A View from Healy Lawn

By: Viet Phuong Dao

I have a confession to make. Three years ago, when I decided to come to Georgetown, I did so despite the university’s affiliation with the Catholic Church. I was decidedly agnostic about the existence of a higher power and believed firmly in the virtue of a robust separation between government policy and religious beliefs. After three years, those beliefs have not changed. What has shifted is my view on the role of religion at my university.

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Religion on College Campuses: Time to Lift the Taboo

By: Gwen Brown

Young people are an important part of the battle to sustain religious freedom. This may not seem to be the case when we see the Pew Research Center pointing out in the fall of 2012 that the number of “nones,” that is, those who have no religious affiliation at all, is rising, and the largest part of those “nones” are young people 18 to 29. If they care so little about religious affiliation, how could they possibly aid religious freedom? The answer may be in understanding why the “nones” are on the rise.

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Religious Freedom at a Jesuit University: A Muslim Student's Perspective

By: Aamir Hussain

When I was looking at colleges during my senior year in high school, I found myself especially attracted to Georgetown because the university celebrated religion and its Catholic-Jesuit identity as a central facet of campus life. This was in stark contrast to secular and public universities that had religious life as a fringe activity. As I learned more about Georgetown, I was intrigued that the university provided chaplaincy support to five faith traditions, and was the first college in the nation to hire a full-time imam. In fact, Imam Yahya Hendi was hired in 1999, before the 9/11 attacks and well before Islam came to the forefront of religious freedom discussions in the United States; thus, as a devout Muslim, I was happy to attend a university that was “ahead of the curve” when it came to discussions about religion. 

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