Religious Freedom Lecture and Seminar with Gerard Bradley

Religious Freedom: What it is and what it isn’t

In August 2019 the Institute collaborated with the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty to deepen discussion on religious freedom, given its current prominence within Australian public policy debate. Professor Gerard Bradley, Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, was invited to both Sydney and Melbourne to give a public lecture on the topic “The Future of Religious Freedom, in which he argued that “Religion is a relationship with a greater-than-human source of meaning and value” and that “Religious liberty is about religion as a distinct irreducible phenomenon, distinct and unique and something that’s a part of the human experience.”

The lecture acted as a thought starter for a seminar the next day focused on Religious Freedom: What it is and what it isn’t. Professor Bradley and other speakers ranged over religious freedom and its relationship to human rights both globally and within Australia, to religious persecution in a world context. Speakers included Associate Professor Catherine Renshaw and Professor Patrick Quirk from the Thomas More Law School at ACU, Dr. Michael Casey, Director of the PM Glynn Institute, Dr Bernadette Tobin from ACU’s Plunkett Centre for Ethics, Sharon Rodrick from the Centre for Civil Society, and Rocco Mimmo from the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty.

The events were situated within the ongoing debate around religious freedom and religious discrimination in Australia, centred around the draft legislation for the Commonwealth Religious Discrimination Bill. In addition to contributing to this discussion through this lecture and seminar, the Institute was also involved in the drafting of ACU’s submission to the first exposure draft of the Bill and produced a brochure outlining 10 Principles of Religious Freedom which was distributed to members and senators of the Commonwealth Parliament in November.


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