BYU religious freedom review to feature Bednar, focus on COVID-19 and racial tensions

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BYU’s Religious Freedom Annual Review will be broadcast free online from June 17-19 and will include Elder David A. Bednar as a keynote speaker.

The conference, which is hosted by the BYU Law School, will go from 10-11 a.m. each of the three days. Speeches and discussions will be centered around this year’s theme: “Religion and religious freedom in the COVID-19 era: finding community and hope.”

Elizabeth Clark, the program chair of the review, said she hopes to provide a space where many different voices can be heard.

“I’m hoping that there will be a wide variety of responses. What we try to do with the religious freedom review in particular, and in everything we do, is bring people from different perspectives together,” Clark said.

She said she wishes that the review could include more presenters this year, but that she’s glad to be able to do something. She said she’s excited to help start conversations about how religious freedom relates to the coronavirus pandemic and to other current events, including the widespread unrest related to race and racism.

The Thursday session of the conference will be a discussion between U.S. senators Mike Lee and Kyrsten Sinema, and Clark said they will discuss race relations in the U.S. and how it relates to religious freedom.

“We don’t see religious freedom as a partisan issue. We see it as a human rights issue, and one that everyone should be concerned about. Everyone needs to listen to everyone’s voices, to listen to people that have concerns about religious freedom,” Clark said.

Clark said that as of Thursday, June 11, several thousand people from across the U.S. and 30 other countries had already registered to watch the review.

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