• The Veritas Center for
    Ethics in Public Life

  • Religious Freedom Conference


    Truth, Conscience, and Religious Freedom

    A conference Featuring Leading Scholars
    on a Critical Current Topic in the United States

    April 4-5, 2014
    Franciscan University of Steubenville
    Steubenville, Ohio



    Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life
    Franciscan University of Steubenville
    Society of Catholic Social Scientists


    Focus of the Conference

    The HHS mandate for contraceptive, sterilization, and abortifacient coverage in health insurance plans, health-care institutions requiring medical personnel to participate in morally objectionable procedures, legal liability for businesses refusing on religious grounds to provide services for same-sex “weddings,” students forbidden to engage in religious expression in public schools, zoning laws used to stop Bible studies in private homes—these and many more issues have surfaced in recent years concerning religious freedom in the United States. Truth, Conscience, and Religious Freedom will explore some of these issues and examine the state of religious freedom in the U.S. in light of our founding, history, and constitutional principles; the broader thinking about rights prevalent in our culture; the international religious freedom situation; and Dignitatis Humanae, the Catholic Church’s leading document on the religious liberty, which was promulgated nearly 50 years ago.

    Dr. Robert P. George

    —Princeton University

    "The Nature and Basis of Religious Freedom"


    Dr. Kenneth L. Grasso

    —Texas State University

    "From Articles of Peace to Kulturkampf : Catholicism, the HHS Mandate, and the Problem of Religious Pluralism in America"


    Prof. Randy Lee

    —Widener University Law School (Harrisburg)

    "Thomas More, Dorothy Day, and Janis Joplin, and the Search for Religious Pluralism in America"


    Panel Discussion:

    • Fr. Sean Sheridan, T.O.R. —President of Franciscan University
    • Dr. Kurt Martens —The Catholic University of America; Consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
    • Jayd Henricks —Director of Congressional Liaison Office, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
    • Kim Daniels, Esq. —Spokesperson for the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Religious liberty lawyer
    • Dr. Daniel R. Kempton (Moderator) —Franciscan University of Steubenville, Vice President for Academic Affairs

    "The Frontline in the Struggle for Religious Liberty in the U.S. Today"


    Prof. Gerard V. Bradley

    —Notre Dame Law School

    "The Culture of Religious Liberty"


    Dr. Vincent Philip Muñoz

    —University of Notre Dame

    "The Founders' Philosophy of Religious Freedom"


    Dr. Kevin Schmiesing

    —Acton Institute

    "Marching in Opposite Directions: Religion and Liberty in the American Past and Present"


    Prof. Robert A. Destro

    —Columbus School of Law; The Catholic University of America

    "Rethinking the 'Non-Establishment' Principle: Text, Structure, and the Politics of Power"


    William Saunders, Esq.

    —human rights lawyer, 
Washington, D.C.

    "The Human Right to Religious Liberty: How Does the U.S. Measure Up?"


    "Franciscan University Faculty Commentary Panel"

    • Dr. John Crosby —Professor of Philosophy
    • Prof. D. Brian Scarnecchia —Professor of Legal Studies
    • Dr. Kevin Miller —Professor of Theology
    • Dr. Stephen M. Krason —Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies
    • Dr. Jonathan Sanford (Moderator) —Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs


    Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life

    The mission of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life is to seek the truth about the good. Toward that goal, the center encourages and supports inquiry that is grounded in faith and reason, and focused on ethical questions of significance for contemporary culture in the areas of business, law, politics, social services, education, and the arts. Inspired by Blessed Pope John Paul II’s teaching in Veritatis Splendor that, too often, “human freedom has been detached from its essential and constitutive relationship to truth,” the Veritas Center is committed to clarifying and applying the natural law and Christian teaching, and defending the permanent validity of their precepts. In this way, it furthers the mission of Franciscan University of Steubenville to promote and teach the truth, under the guidance of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Veritas Center for Ethics.

    Dr. Anne Hendershott: Director of the Veritas Center

    Dr. Stephen M. Krason: Associate Director of the Veritas Center

    Society of Catholic Social Scientists

    Formed in 1992, the Society of Catholic Social Scientists brings together Catholic scholars, professors, teachers, researchers, practitioners, writers, and others in the social sciences and related disciplines to produce objective knowledge and analysis about political, social, and economic life to assist the Catholic Church in her apostolic efforts and to bring the Church’s social and other teaching and the natural law to bear on addressing the challenges and problems of modern culture. www.catholicsocialscientists.org

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