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.

Journal of Law and Religion Celebrates 40th Anniversary

On April 28th, the Center for the Study of Law and Religion hosted a special webinar to celebrate “4o Years of the Journal of Law and Religion.” Silas Allard, Managing Editor of the Journal of Law and Religion and Harold J. Berman Fellow in Law and Religion at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, welcomed supporters and friends to engage with several presentations on JLR’s long history. Allard has been the managing editor for the Journal of Law and Religion for the past 10 years and oversaw the journal’s move from Hamline University School of Law to Emory in 2013. Allard began the event by echoing the mission and mandate of JLR since its first issue in 1983. As the Journal of Law and Religion’s inaugural editors proudly proclaimed in their first issue: “in undertaking this venture, we seek to provide a forum a place to hear and be heard for all those interested in exploring how law and religion are related.” The journal has succeeded in offering the latest research in the field of law and religion for the past four decades. 

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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.

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Pope Benedict XVI 1927–2022

Pope Benedict

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.

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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.

Read the full interview here!

CSLR Welcomes Matthew P. Cavedon as Robert Pool Fellow

Matthew P. Cavedon

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."

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The Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University is proud to announce the publication of Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment (5th edition) by John Witte, Jr., Joel A. Nichols, and Richard W. Garnett from Oxford University Press.

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.
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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.”

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Ari Colston

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.

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Bioethics Initiative

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.

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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.


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