Karen Scott is a mem­ber of the Reli​gious​Lib​erty​.TV Advi­sory Panel.

Free­dom FROM Reli­gion or Free­dom FOR Religion?

A Sem­i­nar Cov­er­ing Eight Sun­days at Pio­neer United Methodist Church
Time: 9 AM Sun­days Room 102
Dates: Octo­ber 17, 24, 31, Novem­ber 7, 14, 21, 28, and Decem­ber 5, 2010

209 E Birch St
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 525‑1870


Free­dom FROM Reli­gion or Free­dom FOR Reli­gion explores reli­gious free­dom in the West­ern World. Events from Europe, Colo­nial and Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Amer­ica, and Amer­ica in the 19th cen­tury all pro­vide insight for the cur­rent dis­cus­sion regard­ing the place of reli­gion in Amer­ica. A con­stant topic of dis­cus­sion even before the found­ing of Amer­ica, church-state sep­a­ra­tion con­tin­ues to pro­voke strong reac­tions. Does the doc­trine of church-state sep­a­ra­tion pro­tect lib­erty of con­science? Does it pro­vide free­dom for reli­gion or free­dom from reli­gion? Dur­ing eight Sun­days, key vignettes from his­tory and their role in shap­ing Amer­ica will be con­sid­ered in attempt­ing to answer these questions.

Chris­t­ian nations and sec­u­lar soci­eties, reli­gion and the state, church-state sep­a­ra­tion, and reli­gion in Amer­ica are actu­ally sub­tle and com­plex top­ics, with many fac­tors, twists and turns. Among top­ics looked at are the Ref­or­ma­tion in Europe, religion’s role in the colonies and Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Amer­ica, the Reli­gion Clauses of the First Amend­ment, and the Con­sti­tu­tion in rela­tion to the Chris­t­ian Reform Move­ment of the 19th cen­tury. Film, orig­i­nal writ­ings and peti­tions will be uti­lized along with a selected bibliography.

Karen Scott’s inter­est in reli­gious lib­erty began in child­hood when she read about the Ref­or­ma­tion. While a child, she could never under­stand why peo­ple should be per­se­cuted, tor­tured and killed for a belief, or why any­one would be will­ing to give up every­thing for such an intan­gi­ble. As she grew older and began under­stand­ing the impor­tance of one’s con­science, the answer became clear and influ­enced her deci­sion to become an attorney.

After a client lost his job due to his reli­gious con­vic­tions, she argued his case before the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court’s deci­sion con­tin­ues to pro­tect reli­gious con­vic­tions and belief in the Cana­dian work­place and also opened the doors for work­place accom­mo­da­tion for the dis­abled. In Cal­i­for­nia she mon­i­tored leg­is­la­tion to ensure pro­tec­tion for lib­erty of con­science and pri­vate edu­ca­tion. As a mem­ber of the State Bar of Cal­i­for­nia, she worked as In-House Coun­sel for Edu­ca­tional Media Foun­da­tion, the par­ent cor­po­ra­tion of the KLOVE and Air 1 radio net­works. Cur­rently, Karen sits on the board of Cen­ter for Lib­erty of Con­science, a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to edu­cat­ing and pro­tect­ing lib­erty of con­science. She is also a speaker with Human­i­ties Washington’s Inquir­ing Minds and is a can­di­date for a Mas­ter of Stud­ies in Inter­na­tional Human Rights Law from the Uni­ver­sity of Oxford.


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