International affairs leaders discuss religious freedom


Brett G. Scharffs, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, opens the main discussion of the Symposium on International Law and Religion and introduces the speakers. Speakers Francesco Di Lillo and Susan Kerr discussed religious freedom and the challenges many organizations face. (J. Reuben Clark Law School)

International affairs leaders in Europe discussed collaboration between religious organizations Tuesday morning on Zoom, on the final day of the Symposium on International Law and Religion.

Among the panelists were Francesco Di Lillo, director of the European Office for International Affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Susan Kerr, Senior Advisor on Freedom of Religion or Belief in the Organization’s Office for security and cooperation in Europe Democratic institutions and human rights.

Kerr and Lillo shared ideas in an interview-style discussion on “Working Together to Promote Freedom of Religion or Belief in a Divided World”.

“Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief is about protecting people, not about protecting religion. It’s not just for religious people; it’s also for people who don’t have faith, ”Kerr said during the discussion.

Francesco Di Lillo and Susan Kerr discuss religious freedom and the challenges groups and organizations face. They said that many organizations with different values ​​and beliefs can often find it difficult to collaborate, and offered some tips for finding solutions. (J. Reuben Clark Law School)

Kerr explained that religious freedom requires the cooperation of many different people and groups at the same time, and can be a very difficult problem to solve. She said that while there are challenges, there are also many opportunities for solutions.

Kerr and Lillo continued to discuss the importance of collaboration between the many different organizations in the community. One of the key points raised during the discussion was how religious organizations that share core values ​​or different belief systems can collaborate effectively.

“If we only look at what makes us different, we can never act for peace in society. And we are all different, even within a religion or a group of beliefs, ”Kerr said. “It is important that we all recognize each other’s humanity and that we do not see people according to their religious, ethnic or alternative identities, but in the end we see ourselves as human beings.”

Kerr concluded the main discussion by re-emphasizing the idea that freedom of religion is not only for religious people, but also for those who have no faith. Freedom of religion is a basic human right, allowing everyone to openly express their ideas and beliefs.

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