June 24, 2024

UMW Commemorates Anniversary of Religious Freedom Statute

The University of Mary Washington will commemorate the anniversary of the enactment of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom on Thursday, January 29 with a lecture “Religious Freedom and the Culture Wars” given by Douglas Laycock, one of the nation’s leading authorities on the law of religious liberty.   Douglas Laycock, 2015 Jefferson Lecture speaker The presentation will take place in at 7:30 p.m. in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium and is open to the public free of charge. A Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, Laycock has testified frequently before Congress and has argued many cases in the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the author of the leading casebook Modern American Remedies; the award-winning monograph The Death of the Irreparable Injury Rule; and co-editor of a collection of essays, Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty. He recently published Religious Liberty, Volume I: Overviews and History and Volume II: The Free Exercise Clause, the first half of a four-volume collection of his many writings on religious liberty. The UMW Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion has sponsored the annual Jefferson Lecture on Religious Freedom since 2002, bringing scholars and public figures to the stage to enlighten students and visitors about religious freedom and the significance of Jefferson’s impact. Jefferson’s statute was enacted by the Virginia General Assembly on January 16, 1786 and established the legal right to complete freedom of worship in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The statute also was a significant step toward the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The presentation also will recognize the winners of a middle school essay contest on the theme of religious freedom, co-sponsored by the UMW Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion and the Fredericksburg Coalition of Reason. Each winner will receive a certificate on-stage before the lecture. For more information about the event, please contact Craig Vasey, professor and chair of the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion at (540) 654-1342.