News Story

Scenic Adelaide Oval a Beautiful Backdrop for Religious Freedom Luncheon

Adelaide Cricket Ground enjoys its reputation for being the most beautiful cricket ground in the world and is a favourite sporting venue for cricket and football enthusiasts.

Apart from being a picturesque sporting venue, on 19 February it was the scene for an important non-sporting event.


Over a delightful lunch, and with the cricket ground in view, academics, eminent lawyers, and religious and community leaders gathered to discuss “Religious Freedom: Rights and Responsibilities,” the theme of the 27th International Law and Religion Symposium (ILRS).

The symposium was sponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University, in Utah, USA, in October 2020.

Guests were shown a 22-minute highlight video of the symposium, including the history of the ILRS, and excerpts from keynote addresses.

With the exception of its 2020 Symposium, which was held virtually, the annual event welcomes scholarly and religious leader discussants from across the globe to exchange culture and ideas, and forge friendships. The Center’s mission is to “help secure the blessings of religious liberty for all,” through scholarship, networking, educational activities and law reform efforts.

Among those in attendance were Emeritus Professor Rick Sarre, now president of the President SA Council for Civil Liberties; Professor Suzanne Le Mire, Deputy Dean, Learning and Teaching at the Adelaide Law School; Ms Cornelia Koch, Senior Lecturer, also of the Adelaide Law School; Neville Rochow QC, Adjunct Professor at Notre Dame and Adelaide Law Schools; Dr Dale Bagshaw, Adjunct Associate Professor, Justice and Society at the University of South Australia and retired District Court Master, Mark Rice.

Also present for the event were Muhammad Faiz and AbdulAllah Shafiq from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association; Sukhvinder and Pam Singh of the Adelaide Sikh Community; National Interfaith Coordinator for the Brahma Kumaris Australia, Damian Outtrim; Mahboobeh Aryanpad of the Baha'i; Balbir Kaur and Rajendra Pandey, President, Vishva Hindu Parishad of Australia Inc. (SA).

In his keynote address, Elder Paul Lekias, an Area Seventy for the Church, encouraged those present to treat others with dignity and equality, quoting the Church’s Articles of Faith: “We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

Elder Lekias then invited Prof Neville Rochow QC to speak impromptu as both an eminent member of Adelaide’s legal community and a past participant in most of the annual symposia as well as many international conferences hosted by the Center.

Mr Rochow spoke of his experiences with the Center, the ILRS Symposia and the meaning of human dignity, a subject on which he has written extensively. He is a signatory to the Punta del Este Declaration on Human Dignity for Everyone Everywhere, published in 2018 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Topics such as the responsibility to respect everyone, to build bridges across all religious and ethnic backgrounds, and to recognise the rights declared in the UDHR, were also discussed.

The luncheon attendees were guests of the South Australian/Northern Territory Communication Council of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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