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“Reconstructing Religious Liberty in a Time of Religious and Secular Extremes”
October 20-21, Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church, Southern Adventist University

The NAD Public Affairs and Religious Liberty ministry is excited to announce its upcoming October 20-21 conference “Reconstructing Religious Liberty in a Time of Religious and Secular Extremes.” Hosted by the Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church in partnership with Southern Adventist University, this two-day event will explore new ways to talk about religious freedom within a culturally and politically polarized America.

Seventh-day Adventist Christians have long advocated for both strong free exercise protections and a robust separation of church and state. Unfortunately, today’s religious and secular extremes threaten these fundamental values, albeit in very different ways.

A diversity of preliminary speakers and panel discussions will seek to answer the questions:

  • How can we effectively engage with those who believe religious freedom is merely a cover for bigotry?
  • And, on the other hand, how do we engage with people of faith who increasingly fear cultural marginalization, and who’ve become vulnerable to the appeal of religious nationalism?

Registration is just $79. Register now to join academics, theologians, and religious freedom experts as we consider these increasingly divisive issues.


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David French

David French joined The New York Times as an Opinion columnist in January 2023. Before that, he was a senior editor at The Dispatch, which he helped start, and a contributing writer at The Atlantic.

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Shirley V. Hoogstra

Dr. Hoogstra is a visionary leader who is passionate about Christian higher education and the role it plays in the common good. Dr. Hoogstra became the seventh president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities in September 2014.

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Samuel L. Perry

Dr. Perry is an award-winning scholar and teacher. He is among the nation’s leading experts on conservative Christianity and American politics, race, sexuality, and families. He co-authored his latest book, The Flag and the Cross, with Philip Gorski.

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Leslie Pollard

Dr. Pollard is a Seventh-day Adventist minister, author, and administrator. Since 2011 he has served as the eleventh president of Oakwood University.

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Pastor Ivor Myers

Pastor Myers serves as Lead Pastor of the Living Manna Online Church. He is also the speaker and director of Power of the Lamb ministries. Pastor Myers and his wife co-host the 3ABN series “Battles of Faith.”

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Tobias Cremer

Dr. Cremer is a Junior Research Fellow in Religion and the Frontier Challenges at Pembroke College Oxford. His research focuses on the relationship between religion, secularization, and the rise of right-wing identity politics throughout western societies.


Thursday, October 19, 2023

4:00 pm-5:00 pm

Event Check-in

Friday, October 20, 2023

8:00 am-2:00 pm

Event Check-in

9:00 am-9:30 am

Welcome/Intro - Orlan Johnson, NAD Public Affairs and Religious Liberty; Ken Shaw, Southern Adventist University

9:35 am-10:30 am

Plenary Speaker - David French, Op-Ed columnist, New York Times

10:35 am-11:25 am

Plenary Speaker - Dr. Samuel Perry, author, “The Flag and the Cross”

11:30 am -12:20 pm

Panel Discussion - Digital Hatred: the Polarization of Identity Politics
Moderator: Andre Wang, North Pacific Union Conference

Panelists: Jason Thacker, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Alva Johnson, Southern Adventist University; Stephen Kabah, Oakwood University; Adam Fenner, NAD Adventist Learning Community

12:25 pm-1:45 pm

Lunch Provided

2:00 pm-2:40 pm

Plenary Speaker - Dr. Tobias Cremer, Junior Research Fellow, University of Oxford

2:45 pm-3:35 pm

Panel Discussion - The Long View: Lessons from the History of Religious Extremism

Moderator: Jennifer Woods, Lake Union Conference

Panelists: Michael Campbell, NAD Archives, Research and Statistics; Preston Foster, Oakwood University; Michel Sun Lee, Southern Adventist University; Andrew Polk, Middle Tennessee State University

3:40 pm-4:30 pm

Plenary Speaker - Dr. Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

Sabbath, October 21, 2023

9:30 am-12:00 pm

Event Check-in

10:30 am-11:30 am

Panel Discussion - The Final Crisis: Extremism Counterfeits, and Faithfulness

Moderator: Bettina Krause, Liberty

Panelists: Cliff Goldstein, GC Adult Bible Study Guide; Greg King, Southern Adventist University; Ifeoma Kwesi, Oakwood University; Kevin James, Southern Union Conference

11:45 am-1:00 pm

Church/Divine Worship - Dr. Leslie Pollard, President, Oakwood University

1:15 pm-2:30 pm

Lunch Provided

2:40 pm-3:20 pm

Plenary Speaker - Pastor Ivor Myers, Lead Pastor, Living Manna Online Church

3:25 pm-4:05 pm

Panel Discussion - Workplace Accommodation: A Battle Won, A Battle Continuing

Moderator: Amireh Al-Haddad

Panelists: Stephanie Taub, First Liberty; Alan Reinach, Church State Council; Todd McFarland, GC Office of General Counsel

4:10 pm-4:50 pm

Panel Discussion - Transcending GroupThink Politics

Moderator: Melissa Reid, NAD Public Affairs and Religious Liberty

Panelists: Chris Butler, AND Campaign; John Ashmeade, Atlantic Union Conference; Lisa Clarke Diller, Southern Adventist University; Nicholas Miller, Andrews University Theological Seminary


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NAD PARL Virtual Webinar Series

While the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed in-person events in 2020 and 2021, NAD PARL and its partner ministries have remained vigilant in our religious freedom advocacy and government and communtity outreach initiatives.  We launched a quarterly Public Affairs and Religious Liberty webinar and have participated in virtual programming for the Adventist News Network, NAD Health Ministries and the Conscience and Justice Council.

Religious Liberty and Current Events” January 23, 2021

Conscience and Justice Council 2021 Virtual Convention

Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast

In January 2022 we were able to safely host a scaled down version of our annual Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast. The event featured prayers for religious freedom, our community, our nation, elected officials, global health and healing, peace and unity of spirit. Inspirational keynote remarks were provided by attorney Eric Baxter of Becket Law. Becket is a frequent partner in our religious liberty advocacy efforts.

Religious Liberty Dinner