“Why Tolerate Religion?” A CFI Symposium

Saturday, April 27th 2013 at 10:00 am
Saturday, April 27th 2013 at 5:00 pm
Woolly Mammoth Theatre - Rehearsal Hall, 641 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004 (Archives or Judiciary Square Metro)
Should a corporation operated by religious believers be exempt from a federal rule mandating contraceptive coverage for employees, while an organization run by nonreligious persons is not? Should an employee who objects to performing certain tasks on the basis of their religion be accommodated, while objections by a nonreligious employee are ignored? Should a religious organization receiving government funding be allowed to hire only adherents of their particular worldview, while a secularist organization cannot do the same?

In cases like these, religious conscience has traditionally been considered to provide a legitimate exemption from standing laws, whereas nonreligious commitments generally have not. But in his thought-provoking new book Why Tolerate Religion? philosopher and legal scholar Brian Leiter argues that governments are wrong to single out religion and religious demands as deserving any special legal protection. Leiter contends that the reasons for tolerating religion are not specific to religion, and instead apply to all claims of conscience—and that governments are not required to grant exemptions of any kind, religious or otherwise, from laws that promote the general welfare.

To examine this contentious issue, the Center for Inquiry is proud to host a day-long symposium on April 27, 2013, at Washington, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre.


Jacques Berlinerblau Associate Professor and Director of the Program for Jewish Civilization, Georgetown Univerity; and author of How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom

Caroline Mala Corbin Associate Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law; and author of numerous papers on the relationship between church and state

Wendy Kaminer lawyer and social critic; Advisory Board member, Secular Coalition for America; and author of Free for All: Defending Liberty in America Today

Brian Leiter Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values, University of Chicago; and author of Why Tolerate Religion?

Ronald A. Lindsay President and CEO, Center for Inquiry; and author of Future Bioethics: Overcoming Taboos, Myths, and Dogmas

Barry Lynn Executive Director, Americans United for Separation of Church and State; and co-author of First Freedom First: A Citizen's Guide to Protecting Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State
John R. Shook Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow, Center for Inquiry; Education Coordinator, American Humanist Association; and author of The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers

Registration is $60 for the general public, $50 for CFI Friends of the Center (Join here!), and just $25 for students (valid student ID required at door).

In conjunction with the Secular Coalition for America, CFI is pleased to offer $50 discounted registration to attendees of SCA's Lobby Day Summit, held April 24-26, 2013.

Register for Why Tolerate Religion Symposium
Registration includes:

• Continental breakfast at the venue
• Snacks and refreshments throughout the day
(attendees will receive a 90 minute lunch break to visit local restaurants)