WATCH LIVE: Conference on Religious Freedom December 13-14 in Rome

WATCH LIVE: Conference on Religious Freedom December 13-14 in Rome December 13, 2013

Religious freedom is under siege.  Around the world, from Cairo and Damascus to Tehran and Beijing, Christianity finds itself increasingly persecuted.

Beginning today the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University, together with Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, is hosting a two-day conference in Rome to highlight Christianity’s contributions to the understanding and practice of freedom for all people.  At the conference, new findings will be presented from a two-year study by dozens of scholars concerning Christianity’s contributions to freedom.

The Sorbonne’s Rémi Brague, winner of the 2012 Ratzinger Prize, and His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphaël I Sako of Baghdad, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldean Catholic Church, will deliver keynote addresses. Other speakers will include Baylor University President Ken Starr, former solicitor general of the United States, and Marcello Pera, former president of the Italian Senate.

CLICK HERE to watch the LIVE WEBCAST from Rome on Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14 from 3:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST at the Aleteia website.

Following is a detailed agenda. 


Friday, December 13, 2013, 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

9:30-10:00 a.m. | Welcoming Remarks
Thomas Farr
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Christians and Religious Freedom
Marcello Pera, Why We Should Call Ourselves Christians (Even if We Aren’t)

10:00-11:15 a.m. | The Terrible Facts: What is Happening to the World’s Christians?

Kirsten Powers (Moderator)
Paul Marshall, Who Persecutes Christians—and Why?
Todd Johnson, How Many Christians Are Persecuted?
Mariz Tadros, Where and How are Christians Persecuted?: Spotlight on Egypt and the Middle East

11:15-11:30 a.m. | Coffee break

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. | The First Thousand Years: Christianity’s Early Relationship to Freedom (as Persecuted and as Persecutor) 

Timothy Samuel Shah (Moderator), Theological and Secular Arguments for Religious Freedom in Early Christian Thought
Robert Louis Wilken, The Christian Roots of Religious Freedom
John Rist, Augustine on Religious Freedom and Religious Coercion
Elizabeth DePalma Digeser, Lactantius’ Doctrine of Religious Freedom and Its Influence on Constantine
Ian Christopher Levy, Tolerance and Freedom in the Age of the Inquisition

1:00-3:00 p.m. | Lunch

3:00-4:15 p.m. | Christian Views on Dignity, Slavery, Proselytism, and Democracy

William Inboden (Moderator)
Kyle Harper, Christianity and the Roots of Human Dignity
Robert Woodberry, Protestant Missionaries: Cultural Imperialists or Agents of Democracy?
Donald Miller, Where the Spirit Leads: Pentecostalism and Freedom
Daniel Philpott, Christianity: A Straggler on the Road to Liberty?

4:15-4:30 p.m. | Coffee break

4:30-5:45 p.m. | Religious Freedom in the Lion’s Den?

Mariz Tadros (Moderator)
Anthony O’Mahony, The Contributions of Ancient Christian Communities to the Contemporary Middle East
Duane Alexander Miller and Philip Sumpter, Between the Hammer and the Anvil: Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land
Elizabeth Prodromou, Orthodox Christian Contributions to Freedom

6:00-7:30p.m. | Keynote Address by Professor Rémi Brague, God and Freedom: Biblical Roots of the Western Idea of Liberty.

Saturday, December 14, 2013, 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

9:30-10:00 a.m. | Opening address by Ken Starr

10:00-11:15 a.m. | Christians Among the Most Vulnerable: Empowering Women and the Poor in Developing Societies 

Allen Hertzke (Moderator), Christian Contributions to the World’s Newest Nation
Rebecca Shah, Empowering Poor Women in Asia, Africa, and Latin America
Richard Burgess and Daniel McCain, Christianity and Freedom in Central and Northern Nigeria
Sara Singha, The Challenge and Leaven of Christian Communities in Pakistan

11:15-11:30 a.m. | Coffee break

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Christianity and Freedom in Asia

Chad Bauman and James Ponniah, Growth and Challenges for Christianity in      India
Fenggang Yang, The Dynamism of Chinese Christianity
Robert Hefner, Christianity and Religious Freedom in the World’s Largest Muslim Nation
Reg Reimer, Christianity in Vietnam: Contributions to Freedom Amidst Adversity

1:00-3:00 p.m. | Lunch

3:00-4:15 p.m. | Would Europe or America Exist Without Christianity?

Roger Trigg (Moderator)
John Witte, Calvinist Contributions to Freedom in Early Modern Europe
David Little, Early Experiments in Religious Freedom in Colonial America
Matthew Franck, Christianity and Freedom in the American Founding

4:15-4:30 p.m. | Coffee break

4:30-5:45 p.m. | A conversation on Christianity and Freedom in the Future of the West

Matthew Franck (Moderator)
Roger Trigg
David Novak
Remi Brague
John Allen

6:00-7:30 p.m. | Keynote Address by Archbishop Louis Raphael Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Iraq, Christianity Matters: What Middle Eastern Societies Will Lose If Christians Flee

This event is made possible by a grant from the Historical Society’s Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs Program.


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