Back to All Events

NextGen Speaker Series: Religious Freedom and Sports

  • Religious Freedom Institute 316 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Suite 501 Washington United States (map)


Center for Religious Freedom Education


Sports provide a shared civic space for all to play together – wonderful! But what happens when:

* A team tries to require a player to wear a political symbol on a jersey that violate's the player's conscience 
* A government tries to ban making the sign of the cross on a soccer field 
* A referee bans a team for wearing religious headgear
* A government punishes a team for hosting an exorcism after a losing season 
* A referee punishes a player for kneeling to pray on the field while wearing religious headgear

Join us Thursday, June 20th at 3pm to watch the World Cup match between Sweden and the United States, followed by remarks and discussion with Jennifer Bryson. A reception will follow. This event is intended for young professionals and college interns working in D.C.



Jennifer S. Bryson is the founder of Let All Play, which advocates for religious freedom and to keep politics out of sports. She studies and engages in policy advocacy related to religion, political freedoms, and sports. She has a B.A. from Stanford University in Political Science, an M.A. from Yale University in History, and a Ph.D. from Yale in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. From 2009-2018, Dr. Bryson studied and worked with Muslims who support religious freedom from within the traditions of Islam. She has served as the Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ. Dr. Bryson’s experience also includes work at the U.S. Department of Defense from late 2001-2008, and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), where she served as an interrogator at Guantanamo. Outside the office, Dr. Bryson is an enthusiastic fan of women's soccer.