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Friday, February 06, 2009

Religious Freedom: An Easy Freedom to Lose (Praise for Cole Durham)

Religious freedom is a blessing and right that everyone should have, but one of the easiest liberties to lose. Intolerance and bigotry are rarely noticed by those afflicted with those burdens of the mind, especially when the afflicted are a majority and the victims an easy-to-malign minority (you know, like Christians). I'm grateful for people who stand up for religious freedom. One of the quiet heroes of religious freedom around the world is a quiet but inspiring law professor at BYU, Cole Durham. Just learned a little about his work yesterday in an interesting teleconference. Thank you, Dr. Durham!

Brother Durham just received a major international award for his work. Here's an excerpt from the notice:
Brigham Young University law professor, W. Cole Durham, Jr., received the prestigious 2009 International First Freedom Award for extraordinary advocacy of religious freedom. The First Freedom Center will recognized Professor Durham on January 15, 2009 in Richmond, Virginia in conjunction with National Religious Freedom Day. Each year, the First Freedom Center recognizes an individual for their work in advancing freedom of conscience and basic human rights for people of all faiths, traditions and cultures.

“We are so delighted to be able to honor Professor Durham with this international award,” said Isabelle Kinnard, vice president for education at the First Freedom Center. “Professor Durham truly stands out amongst a group of esteemed internationalist as an exemplar for the international protection of religious freedom. He has helped countries from around the world make religious freedom constitutionally protected.” [Read more]

May religious freedom come soon to nations where it has been damaged or eradicated. It can be frightening to open the flood gates to diverse thought, but that flood gate brings many blessings to the people and the nation. Could it be possible that religious freedom brings financial blessings as well to a nation that protects it? Is that just wishful thinking? This would be difficult to test in a controlled way - any literature on this topic?

2 comments:

opampman said...

I took a class in law school from this guy, and he's a genius. We called him Kolob Durham. Way to go dude.

Dan Weston said...

I would say that since there is a high correlation between fundamentalist Muslim countries and oil wealth, with the highest wealth accruing to those with the least tolerance of other religions, either God has a very highly developed sense of ironic humor, or else your hypothesis that "religious freedom brings financial blessings as well to a nation that protects it" needs some refining.