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2013 Conference
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THURSDAY (Sept. 26) RNA PRE-CONFERENCE

TO BUILD OR BREACH THE WALL: 
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE

LOCATION:

Texas State Capitol Legislative Conference Center E2 002

MEALS:
 
Breakfast Thursday is on-your own.
If you are registering ONLY for the PRE-CONFERENCE, you may register at the Capitol for a fee of $50.
However, we are close to sold-out capacity for attendance.
We are sold-out for lunch, so if you are registering on-site, lunch will be on your own.
If you did pre-register, you will receive lunch. 

REGISTRATION: 

Pick up your registration materials at the Sheraton Hotel BEFORE going to the Capitol. If you are arriving directly from the airport, please email DebraMason@RNA.org so we can have your registration materials at the State Capitol. (Registration at the Sheraton Hotel opens at 8 a.m.)

PRE-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

9:30 a.m.   WELCOME

9:45 — 11:30 a.m.   PANEL: HEALTH REFORM AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM (download MP3)

  
                                 Panelists:  The Rev. Thomas Nairn, Sr. Director, Ethics, Catholic Health Association
 
                                                    Leslie Griffin, Law Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 
                                                    Andrew Getz, Professor, St. Mary's University
 
                                                    Dr. David Zientek, Austin cardiologist and ethicist


                                 Moderator:  David Gibson, Religion News Service 
 

11:30-11:45 a.m.      Break

11:45 a.m.- 1 p.m.     LUNCH AND A SURVEY 

                                  Pew Religion releases new data on Jews in America (download MP3)

                                  Speaker: Alan Cooperman, deputy director, Pew Research Center Religion and Public Life Project

 
1-1:10 p.m.               Break
 

1:10-2:45 p.m.           PANEL: RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE (download MP3)

Since this country's founding, U.S. citizens, elected officials and communities of faith have fought over interpretations of the Establishment and Free Expression clauses of the First Amendment. The next term of the U.S. Supreme Court that begins Oct. 7 is no exception, with church-state cases expected on the docket.  We'll make sure you're prepped with the background and sources you need. 

 
   Panelists: Jeff Mateer, General Counsel of Liberty Institute
 

                                Beth Richardson, Kountze County High School Cheerleading Advisor and Parent

                                Eric Teetsel, Executive Director, Manhattan Declaration 

                                Kathy Miller, president, Texas Freedom Network

                    Matt Dillahunty, Host of The Atheist Experienc

   Moderator: Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religion News Service

 
2:45-2:55 p.m. Break
  

2:55-3:30 p.m. SPEAKER: STEVE GREEN, PRESIDENT, HOBBY LOBBY. "THE GREEN COLLECTION" (download MP3)

Named for the family who founded U.S. arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby, The Green Collection is the world's largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts. Scholars have scoured the world to assemble the more than 40,000 biblical antiquities that today comprise the collection. Hobby Lobby President Steve Green oversees the expansion and outreach of the collection and will serve as chairman of the board for a D.C.-based national museum that will be the collection’s permanent home.

3:30-3:45 p.m. Break
                                      

3:45-5 p.m.      PANEL: CHASING GHOSTS: THE MYTH OF SHARIA LAW (download MP3)

At least seven states now ban Sharia from being imposed and nearly two-thirds of all U.S. states have introduced anti-Sharia bills in recent years. Yet for many Muslim Americans, Sharia is integral with belief and they argue that harsh punishments or unconstitutional aspects associated with Islamic law have either been exaggerated, abrogated or are superseded by U.S. law. 

Panelists:       Mark Pfeiffer, Baptist University of the Americas

                                   Hina Azam, University of Texas

Moderator:     Jennifer Preyss, Victoria Advocate    
                                                                       
4:45-5:10  p.m. Break Walk back to Hotel
 

THURSDAY, Sept. 26: MAIN CONFERENCE BEGINS

 LOCATION: SHERATON (Conference hotel)

 

THURSDAY (Sept. 26)  RNA ANNUAL CONFERENCE (Begins)

               LOCATION: SHERATON (Conference hotel)

   5:15 — 6:45 p.m.   INVESTIGATING RELIGION: THE CONTINUING STORY OF CLERGY ABUSE
                                   BEYOND ROMAN CATHOLICS (download MP3)

                                   Panelists: William Bowen, Silentlambs

                Basyle "Boz" Tchividjian, Associate Professor, Liberty University School of Law

                                                    Candace Conti, Litigant

           Moderator: Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

6:30 — 8:30 p.m.   OPENING RECEPTION & EVENT

Relax and enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres—plentiful enough to make a meal of it. We'll preview a fall movie called "The Identical" and starring Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, and Seth Green. In 1936, William and Helen Hemsley welcome identical twin boys into a harsh life during the Great Depression. When traveling Evangelist Reece Wade reveals that he and his wife can't have children, the Hemsley's make a life-changing decision. The sons' two paths eventually collide in dramatic ways. By City of Peace Films. 

We'll be done early enough for you to take in some Austin sites, including its well-known music venues in this city dubbed the "Capitol of Live Music." 

 

FRIDAY (Sept. 27)  RNA ANNUAL CONFERENCE (Continued)

LOCATION: SHERATON (Conference hotel)

 7:30 — 8:45 a.m.   BREAKFAST AND A BOOK (AUTHOR CHRISTINE CAINE 

 8:45 — 9 a.m.         Break

 9 — 10 a.m.            WELCOME & KEYNOTE SPEAKER: JOSHUA DUBOIS (download MP3)

For many devout evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics, debates with the White House about contraception and the morning-after pill confirm that the government simply doesn’t get God. But Joshua Dubois, President Obama’s former religious adviser and director of the White House faith-based initiative, insists that the men and women running the nation are a faithful flock. In fact, he argues that religion provides a rare non-partisan space where Republicans and Democrats do come together. Author of the upcoming book "The President’s Devotional: The Daily Readings that Inspired President Obama,” DuBois will present his evidence and make his case that Washington and politicians in general have a lot to offer the religion beat.

Moderator: Manya Brachear Pashman, The Chicago Tribune

10 — 10:30 a.m.        Break

10:30 — 11:45 a.m.   THE "Z" WORD: THE NEW ZIONIST COALITIONS (download MP3)

The complex history and religious disputes in the Middle East present unique challenges in covering the topic of Israel, not just its impact on the Jewish community, but Christian and Muslim communities too. How does Zionism affect the diverse communities we cover and how has the Z-word evolved in recent years? Does it mean something different now than it did in the 20th Century? Also, how can reporters cover this movement in a time of limited budgets and zero travel opportunities? A range of experts help unpack this complex topic for reporters endeavoring to be fair and informative on this controversial subject.

Panelists: Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

George Mamo, Executive Vice President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews                

Moderator: Abe Levy, San Antonio Express-News

11:45 — Noon              Break

Noon — 1:30 p.m.        LUNCH & PROGRAM: "WHO IS JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO?" (download MP3)

   Panel:  Greg Burke, Sr. Adviser for Comunications, Vatican Secretariat of State

               Alejandro Bermudez, Executive director, ACI Prensa and Catholic News Agency

1:30 —  2 p.m.               Break

2 — 2:50 p.m.             PRRI HISPANIC VALUES SURVEY RELEASE  (EMBARGOED)

Panelist:  Robert P. Jones, CEO, Public Religion Research Institute. Results of this survey of 1,200 Hispanics designed to give a portrait of this fast-growing segment of voters. Jones will be joined by other PRRI researchers.

Moderator: Ken Chitwood, Houston Chronicle blogger


3 — 4:15 p.m.                LATINO FAITH: EMBRACING A POPE; CHALLENGING TRADITION (download MP3)

The Catholic Church has its first Latin American pope, placing a spotlight on Hispanic Catholics. Meanwhile, the booming Hispanic population overall is fueling much change in the faith world from immigration policy to doctrine and practices. Experts from diverse backgrounds talk about the latest trends in this growing community.

Panelists: Javier Elizondo, Managing editor of Spanish-language Christianity Today

                 Arturo Chavez, President of the Mexican American Catholic College

                 Carl Trovall, Author and U.S. Latino religion commentator

Moderator: Ken Chitwood, Houston Chronicle blogger

4:15 — 4:30 p.m.          Break

4:30 — 5:30 p.m.          Member's Meeting (Active members only)

6 — 7:30 p.m.               Dinner, Drinks & 2014 AFFIRM Films Movie Line-Up 

AFFIRM Films sprints into 2014 with four theatrical releases that reflect the best of what families want at the movies; an inspiring, captivating story with state-of-the-art production values spanning a range of film genres—true story, comedy, sports, thriller. AFFIRM’s 2014 slate includes:
-HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, based on the best-selling book and featuring Academy Award nominee Greg Kinnear.
-MOMS’ NIGHT OUT, a fast-paced comedy/romance from the Erwin Brothers (in 
partnership with Provident Films) with Sarah Drew, Sean Astin and two-time Emmy winner Patricia Heaton.
-WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL in the spirit of great "true story” sports films and featuring THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST’s Jim Caviezel and Laura Dern and Michael Chiklis.
-THE REMAINING, a supernatural thriller that tracks a group of young people’s desperate fight for survival after a mysterious cataclysm rocks the earth, featuring SPY KIDS’ Alexa

 

SATURDAY (Sept. 28, 2013)  CONFERENCE (Continued)

7:30 — 8:55 a.m.       BREAKFAST WITH ATHEISTS (download MP3)

 A spectrum of nonbelievers will discuss the diverse movement to help journalists  understand how the groups work together to gain social and political clout. 

Panelists: Jesse Galef (Secular Student Alliance); Brian Magee (American Humanist Association); Jason Torpy (Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers); Dave Silverman (American Atheists); Teresa MacBain (The Clergy Project); Sarah Morehead (Recovering from Religion); and Amanda Metskas (Camp Quest)

8:55 — 9:05 a.m.   Break

9:05 — 10:20 a.m.   BEYOND THE RAINBOW: SUPREME COURT, MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND FAITH (download MP3)

This panel will explore current issues in marriage equality and faith groups, how some are reconciling it with their faith, with the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s fight for marriage equality within how others are promoting LGBT rights as a matter of justice.

Panelists:       The Rev. Karen Thompson, Senior Pastor at MCC Austin

                       Mark Regnerus, Associate Professor, University of Texas

           Ross Murray, Director, GLAAD's Faith & Values initiative

                                   Dr. Sharon Groves, Director, Religion & Faith Program for the Human Rights Campaign   

           Moderator:     Amanda Greene, Wilmington Faith & Values (WilmingtonFAVS.com)

10:20 —10:30 p.m.    Break

10:30 — 11:45 a.m.    DIGITAL FAITH AND MINISTRIES: HOW THE INTERNET IS TRANSFORMING FAITH (download MP3)

How is the digital revolution changing how religious organizations and faith leaders operate and communicate? What are the latest social media trends? Furthermore, how can religion reporters also use their online presence to enhance their coverage?

Panelists:       Heidi Campbell, author Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media                                Worlds

Amanda Quraishi. Muslim blogger and Web administrator for Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a national non-profit for the homeless

Moderator:      Tracy Simmons, Spokane Faith & Values (SpokaneFAVS.com)

11:45 a.m. — 1:15 p.m.      LUNCH WITH AUTHORS (download MP3)

"A Smart-Ass Tattoed Lady and a Middle-Aged Sexual Deviant Talk about Jesus" is both the title and topic of our lunch presentation. This is a dialogue with Authors Nadia Bolz-Weber and Sara Miles, both known for their bold, innovative work with new Christian communities inside and outside of churches. 

1:15 — 1:30 p.m.     Break

1:30 — 2:45 p.m.    YOUNG AND MUSLIM IN THE U.S.— AT A CROSSROAD (download MP3)

Challenges facing young Muslims today include questions about who they are and how they define their U.S. identity. Studies show young Muslims are often more observant than their parents, yet they seek a way to meld being faithful to Islam while remaining part of U.S. culture. The diversity and cultural differences among U.S. Muslims adds to their challenges. 

Panelists:         Shahed Amanullah, Senior Advisor for Technology, U.S. Department of State

 Sobia Lodhi, Muslim broadcast reporter

Mohamed Elibiary, Advisor to the Homeland Security Enterprise

Moderator:       Eileen Flynn, Austin freelancer

2:45 — 5:45 p.m.    FIELD TRIP: AUSTIN HINDU TEMPLE & COMMUNITY CENTER

Radha Madhav Dham is the main U.S. center of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat. It is located on over 200 acres of scenic land in the Hill Country south of Austin, Texas. Radha Madhav Dham is home to Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple, and is the largest Hindu temple and ashram complex in America. Its guru is Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, who is revered as a saint. Each year millions of devotees living in the West make pilgrimages to Radha Madhav Dham to experience its serene atmosphere, to see the breathtaking temple architecture and shrine, to participate in its Hindu celebrations and festivals, and to learn about the teachings of Hindu religion. 

     6:30 — 7:30 pm SILENT AUCTION BENEFITTING THE SCHOLARHIPS FUND

Donate your goodies. Bring your checkbook. 100% of all proceeds go straight into the scholarship fund for future conferences. 

             7:30 — 10 pm AWARDS BANQUET & BOOK BRIEFING (download MP3 of Jenkins | download MP3 of awards)

Left-Behind Series Co-Author Jerry B. Jenkins will talk briefly about his latest project, "I, Saul." 

Then we'll dine and celebrate the best of the best by awarding 45 prizes to our peers. 

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