The Religious Liberty Initiative is housed within the University of Notre Dame Law School and contributes to its broader integrated mission to combine teaching, research, and service within the Catholic tradition.
We envision a world in which society has more peace as a result of robust legal protections and cultural acceptance that treat the freedom of religion or belief as a foundational component of human flourishing for all people.
Our mission is to promote human flourishing by serving as a source of advocacy, counsel, scholarship, training, fellowship, and hope in defense of the fundamental human right to the freedom of religion or belief for all people.
Our work is focused primarily on the following strategic goals:
- Thought Leadership: We seek to step forward institutionally as a global thought leader to foster meaningful public engagement with the ideals of religious liberty and to promote the work of scholars across disciplines, both at Notre Dame and elsewhere, who are advancing these ideals.
- Professional Formation: Through the work of our Religious Liberty Clinic, we prepare the rising generation of religious liberty scholars, advocates, and builders to defend the fundamental right to the freedom of religion or belief for all people.
- Advocacy: We leverage theoretical religious liberty ideals through students’ clinical work to maximize real-world impact in the context of litigation victories and amicus briefs; transactional advising regarding governance of religious organizations; domestic government affairs, including monitoring and providing input on public policy at local, state, and federal levels; and international projects defending against infringements of the freedom of religion or belief, including religious discrimination or persecution.
Our efforts in pursuit of these goals are animated by five core values which set a standard for our scholarship, our advocacy efforts, the mentorship we provide to the Student Fellows in our Religious Liberty Clinic, and our collaborative efforts with external stakeholders: Service; Collaboration & Fellowship; Professional Formation; Excellence; and Pluralism.
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