In a recent article for The Catholic Thing, Ismail Royer, Director of RFI’s Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team, reflected on the Supreme Court’s June 20 decision in American Humanist Association v. American Legion, in which the Court ruled that “despite its inherent religious symbolism, the presence of the Peace Cross on public land [in Bladensburg, Maryland] did not imply government endorsement of Christianity…”
Reflecting on the legacy of the Treaty of Versailles at its 100th anniversary, Eric Patterson, Executive Vice President of the Religious Freedom Institute, highlights how, in at least a limited way, it advanced the religious freedom of average citizens.
In an article for Providence, Patterson briefly unpacks the history around this set of treaties that signaled the end of World War I.
In an article appearing at First Things, Thomas Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, commented on the announcement of a “Commission on Unalienable Rights” at the U.S. Department of State.
On June 25th, 2019, RFI President Thomas Farr joined other prominent scholars and leaders in signing a letter to President Donald J. Trump expressing “serious concerns over the human rights violations and religious freedom abuses” in China.
Everyone should welcome the Supreme Court’s holding in American Legion v. American Humanist Association that the Bladensburg Cross memorial does not violate the Constitution’s ban on a government establishment of religion. The American Humanist Association argued in error that the presence of the Cross on Maryland public land represented an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Such a view misses a fundamental First Amendment purpose: free exercise equality.
Christians around the world continue to suffer persecution for their faith in record numbers. Following a century when more Christians were martyred than in the previous twenty centuries combined, Christians continue to be killed, tortured, exiled, and to see their property destroyed from North Korea to Nigeria, China to Egypt, and India to Indonesia.
Dr. Kent Hill, Senior Fellow for Eurasia, Middle East, and Islam with the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI), recently delivered a speech in Romania titled, “The Extraordinary Power of Religious Freedom to Promote Stability and Social Good.”
On May 29, the Religious Freedom Institute convened a working group of scholars to launch its Freedom of Religious Institutions in Society (FORIS) Project, an initiative dedicated to examining institutional religious freedom in countries around the world and its relation to the common good in those societies. “Institutional religious freedom” refers to the freedom of religiously defined organizations to live out their beliefs in society. This includes not only houses of worship, but schools, universities, hospitals, newspapers, TV channels, adoption and foster agencies, welfare agencies, and a welter of other organizations contributing in their particular way both to their own communities and to the common good.
In an article in the most recent issue of LegatusMagazine, Thomas Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, writes on the rise of religious persecution throughout the world and the decline of religious freedom in the West.
Farr insists that American Catholics should respond to these threats by exercising the freedoms guaranteed to them in the First Amendment and defending religious freedom for others. They should also, Farr continues, “Demand that [the U.S.] government’s foreign policy advance religious freedom for everyone.”
Farahnaz Ispahani, Senior Fellow with RFI’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team, writes in The Hindu that while Asia Bibi has been released, “her relocation to Canada does not reflect substantive change in the persecuted state of Pakistan’s religious minorities.”
For hundreds of individuals whose blasphemy cases remain pending for prosecution, “The Pakistani legal system offers little protection….and mere accusation is tantamount to punishment.”
Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at the human rights organization CSW and a Senior Fellow with the Religious Freedom Institute, writes at UCA News of Taiwan’s growing efforts to promote religious freedom, human rights, and democracy, at the risk of provoking China’s ire.
The deadly impact of ethno-religious nationalism in Burma is the focus of an important new report from CSW, authored by Benedict Rogers, CSW East Asia Team Lead and Senior Fellow with RFI’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team.
In an article in RealClearReligion, Thomas Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, contends that the Equality Act will “harm one of the most fundamental rights we all share as Americans – religious freedom.”
The Religious Freedom Institute’s (RFI) Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Tree of Life (TOL) Christian Schools, located in Upper Arlington, Ohio. The school is now waiting for the justices to decide whether they will accept the case for review.
Nilay Saiya,Senior Fellow with the Religious Freedom Institute’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team, writes at The Diplomat about the relationship between religious repression and the terror attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.
The largest single attack on Sri Lankan soil was not claimed by any extremist group until early Tuesday when ISIS declared responsibility. ISIS has conducted targeted attacks on Easter in the past, so the likelihood that the little-known Sri Lankan Islamic radical group, National Towheeth Jamaath (NTJ), is actually an ISIS affiliate or franchisee seems plausible.
Waking to the news of the Easter morning bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, my reaction was likely different than that of most people around the globe: Buddhist nationalists did this, I thought. The reason I reacted in this way requires some explanation, given the contemporary global and particularly western association of suicide bombings with radical Islamist groups.
On March 4, a group of leading Muslim and Christian scholars convened at Pepperdine University for three days of intensive discussion on this complex subject. The private consultation culminated in a public event, co-sponsored by the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI), Pepperdine University’s Center for Faith and Learning, Bayan Claremont, Pepperdine School of Law, and Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion
In the most recent issue of First Things, Thomas Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, makes the case that “We are witnessing a global crisis in religious freedom” and that “China presents a particularly troubling case.”
President of the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) Thomas Farr offered remarks today at an event held at United Nations headquarters titled, “International Religious Freedom: A New Era for Advocacy in Response to a New Age of Challenges and Threats.”
A religious school strives to pass on its faith through the spiritual and educational formation of children. Religious schools in the United States are privately-funded alternatives to public schools and aim to inculcate the values of their religion. It should be no surprise that in many of these schools, staff and students are expected to reflect those values in belief and behavior.
On February 12, the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) and The Bruderhof co-sponsored a multi-part forum commemorating the atrocity and the testimony of immeasurable courage and faithfulness it occasioned. The event included a lengthy discussion between Mosebach and RFI Executive Director Kent Hill about his 2018 book, The 21: A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs. A series of speakers and a panel discussion followed, each unpacking the broader social, political, and moral implications of what ISIS did, how these 21 young men responded, and the need for advancing religious freedom in the Middle East and around the world.
The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) held an Open House Wednesday to mark the relocation of its Washington, D.C. office to Capitol Hill at 316 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 501. The occasion gathered RFI leadership and staff with 200 friends and colleagues from government, business, media, higher education, and the NGO community.
The amicus brief calls for the reversal of the Fourth Circuit’s decision, arguing that “the textually- and historically compelled solution to Establishment Clause concerns is not the excising of religious expression from State speech and grounds, but the encouragement of more diverse religious expression.”
The internet promises both greater freedom and greater repression. It gives a chance of increased expression to millions of people whose views and voices have been and could still be silenced by politically repressive regimes or monopolistic media. But, it can also give those same repressive governments and media empires control so that they can erase contrary views.
Recent events suggest that currently the push for greater control is winning, sometimes abetted by major tech companies.
Contributors to this Cornerstone Forum series were asked to consider both the historical significance of recent developments in Ukraine, but also the practical implications for religious communities of the latest developments. What is the role religious communities can play in seeking to bring an end to the conflict and secure fundamental rights and freedoms, including religious freedom within a healthy denominationalism? What steps should policy makers take to promote peace and advance fundamental rights and freedoms for all in Ukraine.