President Starr To Speak at International Conference in Rome on Christianity and Freedom

Dec. 6, 2013
Rome and StarrBaylor University President and Chancellor Ken Starr

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WACO, Texas (Dec. 5, 2013) -- Baylor University President and Chancellor Ken Starr will be in Rome to deliver the keynote address of "Christianity and Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives," an international scholars' conference, on Friday, Dec. 13, and Saturday, Dec. 14.

Baylor's internationally-renowned Institute for Studies of Religion will co-sponsor the conference with Georgetown University's Religious Freedom Project. Starr's address will be webcast live at 4 a.m. (Central Time) Saturday here http://www.aleteia.org/en/religion/article/conference-on-christianity-and-religious-freedom-coming-up-this-weekend-5785956066000896 and archived at a later date.

The conference will feature the findings of a two-year study conducted by dozens of scholars about Christianity's contributions to freedom. The conference coincides with the 1,700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, issued by Emperor Constantine and granting religious freedom to people of all faiths throughout the Roman Empire.

Starr has spoken and written on the subject of religious freedom throughout his career, most recently debating the "Current State and Possible Future of Religious Liberty in America" at the capstone conference of Georgetown's Religious Freedom Project (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhLSg5F43I4, and writing about "The triple tragedy of Christian persecution in Middle East" for The Dallas Morning News. (Visit http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20131110-the-triple-tragedy-of-christian-persecution-in-middle-east.ece)

Also speaking will be the Sorbonne's Rémi Brague, winner of the 2012 Ratzinger Prize; His Beatitude Mar Louis RaphaëI I Sako of Baghdad, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldean Catholic Church; and Marcello Pera, former president of the Italian Senate.

Some of the topics addressed by new research will be:

How Many Christians Are Persecuted Today?

• More than one of every five Christians in the world lives in states in which Christians are likely to face persecution, and that number likely will to nearly one in four by 2020, according to a comprehensive new analysis.

How Is Christianity Empowering Poor Women in Asia, Africa and Latin America?

• Christian faith can play an empowering role in the lives of poor women in developing countries, according to a study based on more than 1,000 interviews on three continents. Women who participate in small faith-based networks are more likely to report domestic abuse, save money for their children's education and involve community leaders in solving family problems.

What Impact Are Coptic Christians Having on Freedom in Egypt Today?

• The Coptic community contributes significantly to Egypt's civil and religious freedom, enriches its culture and strengthens its economy, according to a new study based on dozens of interviews with Christian and Muslim Egyptians involved in the country's political upheavals over the past three years.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR STUDIES OF RELIGION

Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute's mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, ISR scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve. For more information, visit www.baylorisr.org

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