A club educating students on freedom of religion and belief was formed at BYU. The Freedom of Religion and Belief club, known as FoRB, was created by students seeking to find a way to communicate with other students who have similar interests.
The club’s website explains that the club is designed to “empower members of the BYU community to become actively aware of the freedom of religion or belief in the broader context of human rights and actively engaged in defending it.”
“I pondered on the admonition of church and national leaders who have emphasized the importance of protecting religious freedom. I realized that BYU is uniquely positioned to create a powerful impact for freedom of religion or belief,” club president Rachel Miner states on their website. “Together with amazing faculty and friends, the beginning of the BYU FoRB Club sprung to life.”
Miner said the idea for the club came from Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reads, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
She explained that the right to religion or belief is one students cannot overlook, especially at a religious university. “We are protecting the right to believe in God as much as we protect the right to not believe in God,” she said.
Anna Bryner, another founding member and president of the FoRB club, shared that after a mission in upstate New York, she became curious about restrictions on religious freedom. Since then, she has taken classes and attended conferences and seeks to inspire others to care about religious freedom.
“We hear about the importance of religious freedom a lot, but it’s hard to know what we can do to get involved,” Bryner said.
Bryner said she hopes that those interested in the club will understand that rather than a time commitment, the club hopes for a commitment of heart.
Brady Earley, another FoRB club president, explained that the club is designed in regard to BYU’s mission statement, leading to lifelong learning.
“We feel that there is so much that students at BYU have to contribute to this issue. There is a lot that everyone can do right now to be educated,” he said.
The club plans on having two to four main events throughout the semester. The first is scheduled for Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. with speaker Elizabeth Clark, the Associate Director for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.