The mission of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion is to produce and promote path-breaking scholarship, teaching, and public programs on the interaction of law and religion around the world.
Human Rights Legend Johan van der Vyver (1934-2023)
On May 22, 2023, Johan D. van der Vyver, I.T. Cohen Professor of International Law and Human Rights and affiliated faculty with the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, passed away at 89. Johan was a great friend, colleague, mentor, and teacher to many within the CSLR community and well beyond. Johan leaves a remarkable 65-year record of scholarship, advocacy, teaching, public lecturing, project leadership, and humane living in pursuit of justice and human rights for all.
Follow the link below to read a tribute from John Witte, Jr., Robert W. Woodruff Professor at Emory Law and CSLR Faculty Director.
Pope Benedict XVI 1927–2022
On December 31, 2022 the Vatican announced the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the age of 95. A native of Bavaria, he was ordained in 1951 and became a cardinal in 1977 under Pope Paul VI. In 2005, Benedict succeeded Pope John Paul II and led the Catholic church until his resignation in 2013.
On the occasion of his funeral, CSLR's Rafael Domingo reflects on the life of Pope Benedict XVI, and CSLR Faculty Director John Witte, Jr. shares his 2015 chapter about Benedict's impact on religion, human rights, and human dignity.
CSLR Interview with Whittney Barth
On August 1st, the Center for the Study of Law and Religion welcomed our new executive director, Whittney Barth, to Emory's campus. In her new role, Barth will manage CSLR daily operations; recruit and lead staff, post-doctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and student fellows; create and support research projects; build new alliances across campus; and organize events, including celebration of the Center’s fortieth anniversary in the 2022-23 academic year.
We sat down with Whittney to learn more about her path to Emory and plans for the future.
CSLR Welcomes Matthew P. Cavedon as Robert Pool Fellow
On August 15th, the Center for the Study of Law and Religion welcomed Matthew P. Cavedon to Emory's campus as he began a three-year Robert Pool Fellowship. As CSLR Faculty Director John Witte, Jr. describes: "Matthew Cavedon came to Emory from Harvard as a strong JD/MTS candidate and quickly demonstrated his scholarly excellence, rhetorical and analytical skills, and deep commitment to building an excellent academic community within the Center and the Law School. We admire his meteoric professional rise after law school, commitment to providing high quality criminal defense, recent clerkship, and efforts to retain and build strong new ties to church, family, and academy. We are grateful for his service as an ambassador in the broader world of law and religion. And delighted that CSLR can now help him pivot and integrate his work as he prepares for a distinguished academic career."
This accessible and authoritative introduction tells the American story of religious liberty from its colonial beginnings to the latest Supreme Court cases. The authors analyze closely the formation of the First Amendment religion clauses and describe the unique and enduring principles of the American experiment in religious freedom - liberty of conscience, free exercise of religion, religious equality, religious pluralism, separation of church and state, and no establishment of religion. Successive chapters map all of the 240+ Supreme Court cases on religious freedom - covering the free exercise of religion; the roles of government and religion in education; the place of religion in public life; and the interaction of religious organizations and the state. The concluding reflections argue that protecting religious freedom is critical for democratic order and constitutional rule of law, even if it needs judicious balancing with other fundamental rights and state interests.
CSLR & Emory Law Welcome Terri Montague
The Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) is pleased to announce the appointment of Terri Montague as McDonald Distinguished Senior Fellow at CSLR, and Senior Lecturer at Emory Law School.
Terri Montague is a multi-disciplinary scholar, attorney, and leader who joins Emory following a seven-year tenure in the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where she served as program counsel for federal housing and community development grant programs and closed on $1.14 billion in federally-assisted and FHA-insured residential, mixed-use, and healthcare transactions. Most recently, Montague helped HUD develop guidance and tools to systematically embed an equity framework and redress inequities in HUD policies and programs, pursuant to the President’s Executive Order 13985, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”
Colston Receives Award for Leadership in Law and Religion
Ari Colston (JD/MDiv 2022) received the Eliza Ellison Prize for Leadership in Law and Religion. The prize was created in 2009 to honor Eliza Ellison, who served many years as the Center’s Associate Director and later Director of Publications. The award, made possible by the generosity of the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Center, is awarded to a graduate who has shown special initiative in leading law and religion studies within and beyond the classroom.
Holocaust, Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics Initiative
The Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University has received seed money to create the Holocaust, Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics Initiative. The donation, given by Dr. William S. Silvers, M.D., who completed his internship and residency at Grady Memorial Hospital, an Emory School of Medicine affiliated hospital, will be used to deliver an annual event on or around International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
CSLR Video Archive
CSLR has convened scores of interdisciplinary conferences, both physical and virtual. Our YouTube channel includes hundreds of lectures, presentations, and interviews from eminent scholars like Robert Bellah, Jimmy Carter, Jonathan Walton, Mona Siddiqui, Mary Ann Glendon, and more. These conversations cover a wide range of pressing issues including Vlada Knowlton on transgender rights, Rohit Chopra on the Bhagavad Gita, and a virtual conference on the first six-months of the COVID-19 pandemic.