In addition to its regular content explaining and commenting on a wide range of topics, Canopy Forum also publishes thematic series addressing issues at the intersection of law and religion from a range of perspectives. These series explore important current concerns through a series of essays or other multimedia content published over the course of several days or weeks, and aim to spark further conversations among our readers about how best to think about and deliberate on these questions.

Latest Series

Parliament of the World’s Religions Conference, August 2023. Photo courtesy Whittney Barth.

Many are engaged in soul-searching about democracy, including how to save it. This is no less true for communities of faith in the U.S. and around the world. What are the contours of these discussions within Christian and Muslim communities? This panel will bring together four experts, two speaking about each religious tradition, to identify the roots and range of stances taken toward democracy by religious adherents—by those who engage sympathetically, critically, or even with hostility. With a focus on both domestic (U.S.) and international examples, the panel will cover topics such as the Catholic integralist challenge, controversies in Global Anglicanism, transnational conversations among Muslims in Middle Eastern and American contexts, and differences and similarities between dominant Sunni and Shi`a clerical traditions.

Ongoing Series

May 2020 – Criminal law and religion are inexorably intertwined and intersect within a multitude of dimensions. Beginning from humankind’s earliest criminal justice system, religion has influenced criminal law, affecting issues ranging from speech-related crimes and notions of forgiveness to the use of torture and capital punishment. Despite the evident interaction between criminal law and religion, there remains no major online publication dedicated to expanding understandings and explorations of these issues. Canopy Forum’s Conviction series aims to fill this gap by sharing scholarship on these topics ranging from news and recent events to perspectives on important and relevant issues, within the intersection of criminal law and religion.

Previous Series

Render Unto Caesar
November 2020 – November 2021 — This series broke down the walls that separate tax policy from religious and theological input in the public conception and published religious perspectives on taxes and pieces on tax law jurisprudence that focus on the religious and theological roots of, and ideas latent in, tax policy.

At Home and Abroad
June – July 2021

What’s Wrong with Rights?
January – February 2021 — In his recent book, “What’s Wrong with Rights,” Oxford Theologian Nigel Biggar, offers a trenchant critique of some of the ways we tend to think and talk about rights while also offering a more limited sense in which “rights-talk” makes more sense.

Children and Education Rights
December 2020 — In this series, several prominent scholars of religion, education law, race, and juvenile justice tackle a host of issues at the intersection of law, religion, and children’s educational rights

Notorious ACB: Law, Religion, and Justice Barrett’s Ascent to the Court
December 2020 —The nomination and confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court following Justice Ginsburg’s death in the waning months of President Trump’s first term raised many worthy questions of law and religion. 

Fratelli Tutti: Reflections on Pope Francis’s Call for Fraternity in Law and Religion
November 2020 — In this series, developed in partnership with Talk About and BYU’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies, scholars, theologians, jurists, and clergy reflect on Pope Francis’s recently published Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti (“All Brothers”).

Law, Religion, and Coronavirus in the United States: A Six-Month Assessment
October 2020 — The purpose of this virtual conference is to provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection on the implications for law and religion in the United States of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the economic and racial justice crises, from our current perspectives approximately six months into the crisis.

Law, Religion, and Constitution
September 2020 — This series, created in honor of Constitution Day, features reflections from a number of prominent scholars hailing for several distinct religious traditions and nationalities.

Self-Defense and Human Rights
June 2020  In this series, Dr. David Little develops a unified theory of human rights based upon the personal and collective right of self-defense.

Reflecting on COVID-19
April–May, 2020 — This series reflects on the COVID-19 crisis through the lens of law and religion.

Race, Religion, and Law
March 2020 — The legacy of slavery continues to ripple and reverberate across our national and global consciousness, as we grapple with identity, racism, and the meaning of belonging.

Religious Reflections on Forgiveness in Law
February 2020 — This series explores the intersection of law and forgiveness in American law from a variety of religious perspectives.

Natural Rights, Human Rights, and “Unalienable Rights”
January 2020 — This series explores the relationship between Natural Law and Human Rights in light of the State Department’s recently convened Commission on Unalienable Rights.