2016 Mormon Studies Religious Freedom Conference

March 25, 2016 – March 26, 2016 all-day
Claremont Graduate University and adjacent campus addresses as listed below

Religious Free MS Conference 2016

We invite you to join our “Religious Freedom in the 21st Century” conference sponsored by The Howard W. Hunter Foundation and to be held March 25-26 on the southern California campus of Claremont Graduate University and adjacent campus addresses as indicated below.

This important and timely conference will feature many LDS luminaries including Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; U.S. Commissioner on International Religious Freedom Katrina Lantos Swett; and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge Thomas B. Griffith. 

They will be joined by other constitutional and religious scholars from BYU, Claremont, Northwestern, Notre Dame, USC, Virginia, Willamette, Yale, and elsewhere.

Important Updates / Announcements:

  • Admission is free to all events.  Seating is limited for the Keynote Address with Elder Oaks, so we strongly recommend you arrive early or CLICK HERE TO RESERVE SEATS by making a donation to the Claremont Mormon Studies program.
  • Important MCLE Update for Lawyers: Thanks to the sponsorship of Crockett & Associates, the Howard W. Hunter Foundation is pleased to offer up to 10 free California MCLE and Utah CLE credits [approval pending in both states] for attending the Religious Freedom Conference (including elimination of bias credits).
  • We are pleased to announce that Kristen McMain Oaks, wife of Elder Dallin H. Oaks, will be speaking prior to our Religious Freedom Conference’s Saturday sessions at 8 a.m., March 26, at the Claremont School of Theology’s Mudd Theater, 1325 N. College Ave., in Claremont.  Her remarks are entitled, “Women for All Seasons.”  This event is hosted by the Mormon Women’s Oral History Project at Claremont Graduate University.  Seating capacity is 250, so an early arrival is recommended.  Oaks has a doctorate in education from Brigham Young University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in special education from the University of Utah.  She is the author or co-author of three books, and worked for many years as an international educational consultant with Houghton Mifflin’s high school division.
  • We express our deep appreciation to Drs. Oi-Lin and Tei-Fu Chen (founders of Sunrider International) and their family for joining the Howard W. Hunter Foundation as our religious freedom conference sponsors.  The Chen family’s $100,000 gift includes establishment of the Drs. Oi-Lin and Tei-Fu Chen Family Graduate Fellowship in support of tuition relief for our bright young corps of Claremont Mormon Studies graduate students.
  • If you are interested in Co-Sponsoring the event and attending a private reception/dinner with Elder Oaks and a private luncheon with Judge Griffith, please click here: 2016 Religious Freedom Conference Co-Sponsorship Levels & Benefits
  • Full conference schedule is located below or by clicking here to go to the Claremont Graduate University website event.
  • Available parking for the Elder Oaks event includes: South Campus Parking Structure, 295 E. First Street, Claremont, CA 91711 (Cross streets: Columbia Ave. and Amherst Ave.)

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The conference will run for two days:

Abbreviated Schedule:

Friday Mar. 25th: 9:30am – 4:30pm Day One Speakers
Albrecht Auditorium (925 N. Dartmouth Ave., Claremont, CA 91711)

Friday Mar. 25th: 7:30pm – 9:00pm Keynote Address featuring Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Bridges Auditorium (450 N. College Way, Claremont, CA 91711)

Saturday Mar. 26th: 8:00am – 2:15pm Day Two Speakers featuring Kristen Oaks, Katrina Lantos Swett and Judge Thomas B. Griffith
Mudd Theater (1325 N. College Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711)


Full Schedule of Events:


All Friday daytime sessions 9:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. at Albrecht Auditorium, 925 N. Dartmouth Ave., Claremont

9:30 A.M. Welcome and Introduction

Patrick Mason​, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies, Associate Professor of Religion, Claremont Graduate University


9:45 A.M. Historical and Theoretical Considerations

Moderator: Taylor Kerby, Claremont Graduate University


“Catholics in the Tri‐Faith Movement: Race, Religion, and American Freedom, 1920‐1950”

Tisa Wenger​, Associate Professor of American Religious History, Yale Divinity School and Yale University


“Religious Freedom: From What? For What? Liberalism and Mimesis”

Sherman Jackson​, King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture, University of Southern California


11:00 A.M.  Islam and the Protection of Religious Minorities

Moderator: Shelby Hamm, Claremont Graduate University


“Religious Freedoms for Minorities in Muslim Majority Countries: Lessons from the Struggle Against Apartheid”

Rashied Omar​, Research Scholar of Islamic Studies and Peacebuilding, University of Notre Dame


“Islam, Religious Freedom, and Intra‐Muslim Conflict”

Amjad Khan​, Adjunct Professor of Law, UCLA Law School; Partner at Brown, Neri & Smith LLP


“Guantanamo: The American Gulag”

Brent Rushforth​, principal, McKool Smith


12:15 P.M. Lunch Break


1:30 P.M. Church and State

Moderator: Ben Spackman, Claremont Graduate University


“The Irrelevance of Church‐State Separation in the Twenty‐First Century”

Steven Green​, Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law; Director, Center for Religion, Law, and Democracy, Willamette University School of Law


“Freedom from Religion and Religious Group Rights: A Tentative Pairing for Religious Liberty”

Frederick M. Gedicks​, Guy Anderson Chair and Professor of Law, Brigham Young University Law School


“The Religious Accommodation Experiment”

Andrew Koppelman​, John Paul Stevens Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law


“Religious Liberty as a Fundamental Right Essential to Pluralism”

Alexander Dushku​, Kirton McConkie


3:15 P.M. Global Outlooks

Moderator:  Hillary Laga, Claremont Graduate University


“Protecting Claims of Conscience in an International and Corporate Age”

W. Cole Durham Jr.​, Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law; Director, Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University


“Religious Freedom, Defined Freely”

Hans Noot​, President, Gerard Noodt Foundation for Freedom of Religion or Belief


“Religious Freedom in the Classroom: The Politics of Safety in Higher Education”

Najeeba Syeed​, Assistant Professor of Interreligious Education, Claremont School of Theology


7:30 P.M. Keynote Address

Bridges Auditorium, 450 N. College Way, Claremont, CA 91711

“Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Society”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks​, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints

Available Parking for Elder Oaks Keynote Address: South Campus Parking Structure, 295 E. First Street, Claremont, CA 91711 (Cross streets: Columbia Ave. and Amherst Ave.)



All Saturday sessions 8:00 A.M. to 2 P.M. at Mudd Theater, Claremont School of Theology, 1325 N. College Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711


8:00 A.M. Morning Devotional

“Women for All Seasons”

Sister Kristen Oaks​, sponsored by the Mormon Women’s Oral History Project at Claremont Graduate University


9:00 A.M. Roundtable Discussion (Recorded Live for Rebroadcast as an episode of KUER’s “RadioWest”)
Religious Freedom, Politics, and Law in Contemporary America
Moderator: Doug Fabrizio​, host of KUER’s “RadioWest”

Kathleen Flake​, Richard L. Bushman Chair of Mormon Studies, University of Virginia

Monica Miller​, senior counsel, American Humanist Association

Rev. Stephen Pieters​, Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles

Michael Uhlmann​, Professor of Politics and Policy, Claremont Graduate University


10:45 A.M. Keynote Address

“The First Freedom in the 21st Century: Navigating the Shifting Terrain”

Katrina Lantos Swett​, Chair, US Commission on International Religious Freedom


12:00 P.M. Lunch ‐ limited number of box lunches available for purchase


12:45 P.M. Keynote Address

“Religious Liberty after Obergefell”

Judge Thomas Griffith​, Washington DC Court of Appeals



Please contact the Advancement Office at (909) 621-8027 with any questions.