The Next Clash of Absolutes

Emboldened by the Supreme Court’s majority opinions in Romer, Lawrence, Windsor, and the pending Obergefell marriage cases, judges, government of officials, and LGBT activists are seeking to redefine marriage, sexuality, and gender identity in law and public policy. How do these redefinitions intersect with the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and related state laws and policies?

Matthew Kacsmaryk

Ma hew Kacsmaryk is Deputy General Counsel and Managing Director of Direct Litigation, Research, and Education. Mr. Kacsmaryk served as an Assistant United States A orney for the Northern District of Texas from 2008 through 2013. Assigned to the Appellate Division, he represented the United States government in over 75 criminal appeals led in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, including several cases of first impression and numerous cases requiring oral argument. Mr. Kacsmaryk also served on two Criminal Division trial teams that prosecuted high profile, violent defendants and was responsible for all appellate litigation arising under the First Amendment, Sixth Amendment, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. While at the United States Attorney’s Office, he served as a CLE instructor, an appellate liaison to the Criminal Division, and an Adjunct Lecturer on Free Speech and the First Amendment at Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts. In October 2013, he was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security. Prior to his work as a prosecutor, Mr. Kacsmaryk was an associate at the Dallas office of Baker Botts L.L.P., where he focused on commercial, constitutional, and intellectual property litigation, representing national, regional, and local clients. In 2005, he received the furm’s Opus Justitiae Award for Outstanding Commitment to Pro Bono Work. Mr. Kacsmaryk received his J.D. from the University of Texas, graduating with Honors. While at the University of Texas, he was awarded the Dean’s Achievement Award in Constitutional Law II and Telecommunications Law, served as an Executive Editor of the Texas Review of Law & Politics, and was a member of The Federalist Society, Christian Legal Society, and Bible Study Fellowship. Mr. Kacsmaryk received his B.A. summa cum laude from Abilene Christian University, where he was a Trustee Scholar and a member of the Jack Pope Fellows Program.

Making Room for All God’s Children

Both David Hicks (Norms and Nobility) and Mortimer Adler (The Paideia Proposal) encouraged educators to wrestle with the application of the belief that “the best education for the best is the best education for all.” Russ Gregg will share his story of how God led him to love his neighbors by starting Hope Academy, a classical, Christian school, serving 400 students in the inner-city of Minneapolis.

Russ Greg

Russ Gregg is the Co-Founder and Head of School of Hope Academy, a K - 12, Christ-centered, classical school, serving the urban poor of Minneapolis. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin—Madison, Russ is an elderat Jubilee Community Church, and of his many responsibilities, he regards none as more important or more satisfying as teaching the scriptures each week to his little flock of 120 six and seven year olds at Hope Academy. Russ and his wife, Phyllis, have lived in the inner-city of Minneapolis for 21 years and raised three adult children.

Darwin’s Doubt

When Charles Darwin finished The Origin of Species, he thought that he had explained every clue, but one. Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the “Cambrian explosion,” many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock. In this presentation, Dr. Stephen Meyer tells the story of the mystery surrounding this explosion of animal life—a mystery that has intensified, not only because the expected ancestors of these animals have not been found, but because scientists have learned more about what it takes to construct an animal. During the last half century, biologists have come to appreciate the central importance of biological information—stored in DNA and elsewhere in cells—to building animal forms. Meyer will show that the origin of this information, as well as other mysterious features of the Cambrian event, are best explained by intelligent design, rather than purely undirected evolutionary processes.

Stephen Meyer

Stephen Meyer, senior fellow with the Discovery Institute and author of the recent, highly acclaimed book Darwin’s Doubt. Meyer received his Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. He has authored the New York Times best seller Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2013) as well as Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2009), which was named a Book of the Year by the Times (of London) Literary Supplement in 2009. He received WORLD Magazine’s Daniel of the Year Award in 2009. In the 21st century, the information age has finally come to biology. We now know that biology at its root is comprised of information-rich systems, such as the complex digital code in DNA. Groundbreaking discoveries of the past decade are revealing the information- bearing properties of biological systems. Dr. Meyer examines the depth of digital technology found in living cells and develops an argument for intelligent design as the best explanation for the information at the heart of life. In the textbook Explore Evolution and the TrueU DVD series, Dr. Meyer has modeled an innovative way of teaching science in which he exposes students to arguments about competing scientific theories as a way of advancing scientific education. This approach comports well with the classical model and the importance of exposing older students to competing arguments as they enter the rhetorical stage of their educational development.