U.S. Supreme Court docket Justice Samuel Alito delivers keynote address at 2022 Notre Dame Spiritual Liberty Summit in Rome | News | The Law Faculty

The Regulation School’s Spiritual Liberty Initiative hosted the 2022 Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit in Rome last 7 days to highlight that liberty of faith or belief is a world challenge.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito — who sent the keynote address at the Religious Liberty Summit’s gala supper on Thursday, July 21 — noted that the Roman setting also brought to intellect how religious independence has been challenged and championed all through history.

“I come across myself considering about the very pleased civilization that was centered in this article two millennia back,” Alito claimed around the beginning of his remarks.

“As I feel back again, I also think forward, and I question what historians may possibly say centuries from now about the contribution of the United States to planet civilization,” he said. “One thing I hope they will say is that our state, soon after a ton of suits and starts off, and ups and downs, finally showed the globe that it is possible to have a steady and effective modern society in which men and women of diverse faiths are living and get the job done together harmoniously and productively though even now retaining their own beliefs. This has been definitely an historic accomplishment.”

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U.S. Supreme Courtroom Justice Samuel Alito delivered the keynote at the 2022 Religious Liberty Summit Gala on Thursday, July 21, at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome. Photos by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame.

But, the justice extra, as the remnants of the Roman Empire make apparent throughout the city, no human accomplishment is at any time long lasting.

“Therefore, we can’t evenly suppose that the spiritual liberty savored today in the United States, in Europe, and in several other sites will constantly endure. Spiritual liberty is fragile, and religious intolerance and persecution have been recurring attributes of human historical past,” he stated.

Indeed, Rome is in which St. Peter, St. Paul, and numerous other early Christians were martyred.

“If we glimpse around the earth these days, we see that men and women of many various faiths experience persecution because of religion,” Alito stated, noting that religious liberty is a lifetime-or-loss of life subject in a lot of sections of the globe. He cited illustrations of teams such as the Yazidis in northern Iraq, Christians in Nigeria, Coptic Christians in Egypt, and Uyghurs in China that have been victims of horrific violence.

Alito also talked about the problems that lie ahead for spiritual liberty all-around the world.

“Religious liberty is less than attack in numerous places due to the fact it is risky to these who want to hold full energy,” he explained. “It also almost certainly grows out of something dark and deep in the human DNA — the inclination to distrust and dislike people who are not like ourselves.”

A further test is the developing range of men and women who reject religion or never assume faith is critical.

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From still left: Professor Stephanie Barclay, director of the Spiritual Liberty Initiative Professor Sherif Girgis Dean G. Marcus Cole Justice Samuel Alito Professor Nicole Stelle Garnett Professor Rick Garnett.

“It is challenging to encourage people today that religious liberty is worth defending if they do not imagine that religion is a good point that justifies protection,” he claimed. “The problem for all those who want to protect religious liberty in the United States, Europe, and other similar spots is to influence men and women who are not religious that spiritual liberty is really worth special security. That will not be quick to do.”

One way to obtain common ground with non-religious people on the subject of spiritual liberty, Alito mentioned, is to emphasize the associated gains that societies get pleasure from when religious liberty is safeguarded.

Spiritual liberty encourages domestic tranquility, he pointed out, and gives a way for assorted persons to prosper jointly. An additional benefit is the great charitable function carried out by spiritual teams and men and women of religion.

In addition, he stated, religious liberty has normally fueled social reform. Religious groups led the motion to abolish slavery in the United States and Europe, for example. And it’s no coincidence that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an ordained minister.

“If spiritual liberty is safeguarded, spiritual leaders and other males and women of all ages of religion will be capable to converse out on social challenges,” Alito explained. “People with deep spiritual convictions may possibly be a lot less possible to succumb to dominating ideologies or tendencies, and additional most likely to act in accordance with what they see as real and right. Civil modern society can rely on them as engines of reform.”

Ultimately, the justice described the robust relationship in between spiritual liberty and other legal rights this kind of as free of charge speech and the freedom of assembly. “Religious liberty and other basic legal rights tend to go together,” he explained.

At the close of his speech, Alito recounted a memorable dialogue he experienced with a Peking College pupil. The younger woman grew up in a Chinese town the place, simply because of its heritage, various churches had been positioned. The Catholic Church there was acknowledged as “the church that gave good reasons,” she stated.

“That actually struck me,” Alito advised the audience in Rome.

“The Cultural Revolution did its ideal to ruin faith, but it was not thriving. It could not extinguish the spiritual impulse,” he said. “Our hearts are restless until eventually we relaxation in God. And, for that reason, the champions of spiritual liberty who go out as clever as serpents and as harmless as doves can assume to uncover hearts that are open up to their concept.”

Watch Justice Alito’s comprehensive keynote tackle in the movie underneath.


Understand a lot more about Notre Dame Legislation School’s Spiritual Liberty Initiative at legislation.nd.edu/RLI.