Friday, November 20, 2015

Since 1791, when the First Amendment to the US Constitution was adopted, the free exercise of religion and the protection of free speech, press, and assembly, have been enshrined as deeply held American values. Yet free speech and religion have historically, and recently, sometimes been at odds. These conflicts have occasionally resulted in vitriol and even violence, as witnessed in the January 2015 murders of journalists, editors, and cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo publication in Paris. Web connectivity and the 24-hour news cycle have enabled nearly immediate transmission of news, and sometimes, nearly immediate social unrest. Recently, religious freedom legislation claiming to protect religious belief and practice has emerged in several state legislatures across the country. Through the lenses of Constitutional law, journalism and communications, cultural practice, and public security, this conversation examines the rights and limitations of free speech - and the rights and limitations of holding and practicing personal beliefs.

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Panelists

Moderator

  • Kimberly Hewitt, Director, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, Office for Equity & Diversity