2013 National Religious Freedom Conference

Faith and Government Leaders Set Aside Differences to Defend and Promote Religious Freedom in America

Leaders of widely diverse U.S. faith communities, religious-freedom policy experts, and a bipartisan group of elected officials will gather to strategize and build consensus for the defense and promotion of religious freedom across the country. The 2013 National Religious Freedom Conference will focus on bipartisan and multi-faith initiatives to mobilize faith communities to promote religious freedom, develop religious freedom caucuses in the 50 state legislatures, and support legislative protections for religious liberty and conscience rights. Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the preeminent voice of Hispanic Evangelicals, will give a special noontime address on the imperative of preserving robust religious freedoms in an increasingly diverse America. The award dinner will honor William Galston of the Brookings Institution with the 2013 American Religious Freedom Award, marking the 20th anniversary of the landmark, overwhelmingly bipartisan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law Galston was instrumental in shepherding to passage as an advisor to President Clinton.

The one-day, invitation-only conference is hosted by the American Religious Freedom Program of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a program devoted to protecting and strengthening all Americans’ First-Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion. The program brings together individuals and organizations of all religious faiths, regardless of ideology or political affiliation. Representatives from the Catholic, evangelical Christian, mainline Protestant, Latter-day Saint, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish Orthodox, Seventh-day Adventist, Muslim and Sikh faith communities will participate in the conference.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Georgetown Four Seasons Hotel, Salons A and B

2800 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007


8:45 a.m. Opening Address

Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, Director, Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, Yeshiva University


9:30 a.m. Legislative Panel: Engaging Government Leaders to Protect Core Liberties

Honorable Rebecca Hamilton, Oklahoma House of Representatives

Jennifer Kraska, Executive Director, Colorado Catholic Conference

Honorable Curt McKenzie, Idaho State Senate

Alan J. Reinach, Executive Director, Church State Council

Gene C. Schaerr, Chair, Nationwide Appellate Litigation Practice, Winston & Strawn LLP


**9:30 a.m. Media Q&A with Top Religious Leaders**


10:30 a.m. Religious Leaders Roundtable: Many Faiths, One America

Raymond Arroyo, EWTN News Director and Host of “The World Over Live”

Rabbi Abba Cohen, Vice President for Federal Affairs, Agudath Israel

The Very Reverend Dr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor/CEO and Professor of Missiology, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary

Reverend Eugene F. Rivers III, Pastor, Azusa Christian Community; Senior Policy Advisor to the Presiding Bishop, Church of God in Christ

Amardeep Singh, Director of Programs, Sikh Coalition

Elder Lance B. Wickman, General Counsel, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Shaykha Reima Yosif, Founding President, Al-Rawiya Foundation


1:00 p.m. Special Address: Renewing Religious Freedom for 21st-Century Diversity

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference


1:30 p.m. Joint Panel: Threats to Religious Freedom in the U.S. & Europe: Concerns of Majority and Minority Communities*

Dr. David Little, Retired T.J. Dermot Dunphy Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict, Harvard Divinity School

Jasjit Singh, Executive Director, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Dr. Roger Trigg, Senior Research Fellow in the Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford; Scholar of the Religious Freedom Project, Berkley Center


*Panel session sponsored in collaboration with The Religious Freedom Project of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs


7:30 p.m. National Religious Freedom Award Dinner

William A. Galston (Award Recipient), Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, and The Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies, Brookings Institution

Dr. Barry C. Black (Invocation), Chaplain, United States Senate

Matthew J. Franck (Master of Ceremonies), Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution, Witherspoon Institute

Dr. Richard Land (Award Presenter), President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; President-elect, Southern Evangelical Seminary

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett (Keynote Address), President, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice

Robust protections for religious liberty and individual rights of conscience have been the foundation for America’s two centuries of peaceful religious pluralism and diversity. Today some politicized factions are calling these freedoms into question. A united front from all faiths, parties, and ideologies on the issue of religious freedom ensures that every American enjoys the blessings of liberty equally.