September 28, 2017

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street

Religious Freedom in Trouble? An Interfaith Discussion

During its 2017-18 theme year on “STATES OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM,” The Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy will study the U.S. experience within a comparative international context exploring how states, as political entities, accommodate or hinder religious expression and culture, as well as how social conditions affect and influence the practice of religious freedom.

Join Kristina Arriga, Dan Barker, Khalid Latif, and David Saperstein on Tuesday, September 28, for DCC's opening event, "Religious Freedom in Trouble? An Interfaith Discussion."

KRISTINA ARRIAGA has worked on the defense of religious freedom domestically and internationally for over 20 years as Advisor to the United States delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, an appointee to the Civil Rights Commission, and as the Executive Director of Becket Law. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Arriaga is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on religious freedom, has spoken at numerous academic conferences, and has appeared on TV and radio programs including MSNBC, C-Span, FOX, CNN Español, and National Public Radio. Arriaga is the recipient of the 2017 Newseum’s Free Speech award.

DAN BARKER is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. He was elected co-president of the Foundation with Annie Laurie Gaylor in 2004, with whom he is co-host of Freethought Radio, a national weekly talk show. He is a contributing editor of Freethought Today and is involved with the Foundation’s state/church lawsuits. He regularly travels the country and the world giving lectures, performing concerts, and participating in debates with theists, many at college and university campuses. A former minister and evangelist, his books include Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children and Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher To Atheist. Recent books include Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning (2015), GOD: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction (2016), and the forthcoming Make Up Your Mind: Do We Really Have Free Will? (2018).

KHALID LATIF is Executive Director and Chaplain (Imam) for the Islamic Center at New York University (NYU). In 2005, Imam Latif was appointed the first Muslim chaplain at NYU. At NYU, Khalid initiated his vision for a pluralistic American Muslim community, rooted on campus and reaching out to the city. In 2006, Imam Latif was appointed the first Muslim chaplain at Princeton University.  In 2007, his position was fully institutionalized at New York University, and so he committed himself to building Muslim community life there. Today's Islamic Center is a leader among American Muslim organizations, uniquely shaped to contribute to the future of Muslim practice in the West.

was the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom for the Obama Administration from 2014-2017. Selected by Newsweek magazine in 2009 as the most influential rabbi in the country and described in a Washington Post profile as the "quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill," Rabbi Saperstein represented the Reform Jewish Movement to Congress and the Administration as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) for forty years. Also an attorney, Rabbi Saperstein teaches seminars in First Amendment Church-State Law and in Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law School.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Department of Religious Studies.

For additional information about this event and future Penn DCC events, please visit