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Leavitt to speak on religious freedom at UVU

Published: Thursday, April 4 2013 1:32 p.m. MDT

Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt's address on the free exercise of religion at UVU's Center For Constitutional Studies' spring conference will be delivered at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the UCCU Center.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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OREM — Utah Valley University has tapped former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt for the keynote address of the Center For Constitutional Studies' spring conference next week, university officials announced Thursday. 

Leavitt, who also served as secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, will be joined at the conference by several scholars on the subject of religious freedom, including Noah Feldman, an award-winning author and the Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School.

"We are honored to have such distinguished guests as Gov. Leavitt and Dr. Feldman come to this important UVU academic conference to share their insights and discuss such relevant topics as religious freedom in an ever-changing climate,” UVU President Matthew Holland said in a prepared statement.

Leavitt's address on the free exercise of religion will be delivered at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the UCCU Center. He will be followed Wednesday by Feldman, who will speak on challenges to religious liberty in the Middle East at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the UVU Science Building.

Other scholars participating in conference include Randall Balmer of Dartmouth College, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, Matthew J. Franck of the Witherspoon Institute, Daniel Dreisbach of American University, Vincent P. Munoz of the University of Notre Dame and Mark L. Rienzi of the Catholic University of America.

The conference is open to the public, but tickets are required to attend Leavitt's address. There is no charge for the tickets, and they are available at the Center for Constitutional Studies, located in the UVU library, or through the UCCU Center ticket office.

"The conference will address critically important issues involving the First Amendment’s freedom of religion clauses and Article VI of the U.S. Constitution,” Rick Griffin, director of the Center for Constitutional Studies, said in a prepared statement. "The all-star lineup of participants will explore several recent political and legal developments that are affecting the religious liberties of individuals and religious institutions, such as the (Health and Human Services) mandate, the legal definition of marriage, the rise of secularism and the evangelical right, and Article VI’s ‘no religious test clause.’”

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