A special ‘Mormon Land’ from Spain: Why everyone should care about religious freedom, not just Latter-day Saints

This fundamental right is at risk around the world, and BYU’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies is at the forefront of the fight.

(Manu Fernandez | AP) A man walks in front of a religious image of a Virgin of "Los Dolores" in Cordoba, southern Spain, Sunday, March 27, 2022.

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is a global academic leader in the field of religious freedom. Founded in 2000, the center is part of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, the flagship campus of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Religious freedom has long been a key concern of the Utah-based faith. So the BYU-affiliated center’s mission is to “help secure the blessings of religious liberty for all,” through scholarship, networking, educational activities and legal reforms.

Scholars at the center who specialize in comparative and international law concerning religion have provided advice to dozens of civil and governmental bodies in more than 50 countries, eager to implement safeguards on religious freedom.

Brett Scharffs, the Rex E. Lee Chair and professor of law at J. Reuben Clark Law School, is the center’s current director.

In this special “Mormon Land”, Scharffs speaks from Cordoba, Spain with Peggy Fletcher Stack, where he is presenting several papers at a European meeting of legal scholars on the topic “Human Dignity, Law and Religious Diversity: Designing the Future of Intercultural Society.”

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