Pepperdine's Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics hosted a conference titled "Religious Liberty and Religious Property Disputes: Who Owns the Lord's House?" on January 30, in Malibu, California.
The keynote speaker was Kent Greenawalt of Columbia Law School. Greenawalt is the author of Religion and the Constitution, Vols. 1 and 2 (Princeton University Press), as well as "Hands Off! Civil Court Involvement in Conflicts Over Religious Property," Columbia Law Review (1998). He is a graduate of Columbia Law School and served as the law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John M. Harlan.
Panelists and commentators included: Alan Brownstein of UC Davis, Leslie Griffin of the University of Houston Law Center, Steffen N. Johnson of Winston & Strawn, Washington, D.C., James H. Miller, a former Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastor, Lynn Moyer of the All Saints Anglican Church in Long Beach, California, and Jeremy B. Rosen of Horvitz and Levy, Los Angeles. Pepperdine's Robert F. Cochran, Jr., Shelley Ross Saxer, and Kenneth W. Starr also spoke.
Cochran, the Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law and director of the Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics, has written extensively on faith and law and is the conference director. "We live in a time of uncertainty about the status of religious liberty," he said. "Courts have ordered religious hospitals and medical personnel to offer services that violate their religious beliefs. Sex abuse cases call into question whether courts can defer to church supervision of clergy, and religious organizations that require employees to share their religious commitments are charged with employment discrimination. At this conference, we considered the status of religious liberty in the United States."
The conference also examined recent developments in church/state law and their implications for church property and other disputes.
For more information, visit the Nootbaar Institute Web site.