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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
About the Protection of Conscience Project

Advisory Board & Team

Dr. Shahid Athar, M.D., F.A.C.E.
Staff physician (active) Department of Medicine, St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, Indiana; consultant in Endocrinology/Internal Medicine.

Dr. Athar, a U.S. citizen, was born at Patna, India. He did his medical training in Karachi, (Pakistan), Chicago, (Illinois), and at Indiana University.  From 1975 to 2006 he was he was Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and then Clinical Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Indiana University School of Medicine.

He is a member and former a regent and former elected vice-president of the Islamic Medical Association of North America, and was Chair of its Medical Ethics Committee.  Among other associations, he is a member of the Islamic Society of North America and Christians and Muslims for Peace (CAMP).  He is on the Board of Advisors of the International Association for Sufism.

Dr. Athar's most recent awards include the Indianapolis Medical Society's Gov. Otis Bowen Community Service Award for Physicians (2002), the Laureate Award(2007), from the American College of Physicians, Indiana Chapter, and the St.Vincent Hospital Distinguished Services Award (2008) and Distinguished Physician Award (2009).

Prof. Iain Benson, Ph.D (Witwatersrand.), JD (Windsor), MA (Cambridge), BA (Hons.) (Queen's)
Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney (2016, ongoing)
Extraordinary Professor of Law, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein South Africa (2009, ongoing)

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the father of seven children, Professor Benson is an academic, lecturer and practising lawyer specialising in pluralism and human rights.  His particular focus is on freedoms of association, conscience and religion, the nature of pluralism, multi-culturalism and relationships between law, religion and culture. He has been involved in many of the leading cases on rights of association, conscience and religion in Canada and abroad for two decades.  As a barrister he has appeared before all levels of court and his work has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

He was one of the drafters of the South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms (signed by all major religions in that country in September 2010) and remains closely involved in advancing the Charter in that country and similar projects elsewhere. Special Rapporteur on Law and Religion in Canada and South Africa to the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences, Vatican City ( May, 2011, pub'd in Acad. Proceedings, 2012).

Author of over 40 academic articles and book chapters, he is co-editor with Barry W. Bussey, of Religion Liberty and the Jurisdictional Limits of Law (Toronto: Lexis Nexis, 2017) and authored Living Together with Disagreement: Pluralism, the Secular and the Fair Treatment of Beliefs by Law (Ballan Australia: Connor Court, 2012). His scholarly work is referred to in many books and articles.

He teaches Legal Philosophy, Legal History, Public International Law, Human Rights and Contemporary Legal Issues. He works in English and French, dividing his time between Australia (where he now lives) and France, South Africa and Canada (in the latter two of which he has appointments).
[Faculty profile]

 J. Budziszewski, Ph.D
Professor, Departments of Government and Philosophy, University of Texas (Austin), U.S.A.

Dr. Budziszewski is an ethical and political theorist with special interest in the natural law tradition.  He is the author of nine academic books, most recently The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory and Sign of Contradiction (2009). He has contributed numerous articles and reviews to both scholarly and popular periodicals.

Dr. Budziszewski is particularly interested in problems that arise at the intersection of philosophy and theology, for example the problem of toleration, the nature of human personhood, and the pathologies which flow from moral self-deception -- from trying to convince ourselves that we do not know what we really do. [Faculty Profile] [Scholarly Website]

Shimon Glick, MD
Professor (emeritus,active) Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel

Professor Shimon Glick was born in Brooklyn in 1932 and received his medical training in the United States, specializing in internal medicine and endocrinology. He immigrated to Israel in 1974 to become a founding member of the Faculty of Health Sciences (FOHS) at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and head of the Internal Medicine Department at Soroka Medical Center. He and his colleagues instituted the practice of "early clinical exposure," insisting that students meet patients in their first week at medical school, even before beginning traditional academic studies. "The students don't just treat patients. They talk to them and learn what it's like to be sick," he explains. Students also take their medical or Hippocratic oath when they begin their studies, rather than taking the oath when they finish.

Professor Glick became chair of Israel's first Internal Medicine Division and served as Dean of the FOHS between 1986 and 1990. During his tenure, he played a key role in formulating the admissions process for medical students - a process based not only on achievements but also the candidates' character. Professor Glick headed the Prywes Center for Medical Education and the Jakobovits Center for Jewish Medical Ethics, two domains that were assigned a central role in the professional education of students in the Faculty. He was also instrumental in the instruction on doctor-patient communications for first year medical students. In addition, Professor Glick has served as ombudsman for Israel's Ministry of Health. He is widely recognized as an expert in medical ethics, with a particular focus on Jewish medical ethics, and is at the forefront of the efforts to bring a Jewish perspective to bear on the most important issues of modern bioethics.

In 2014, in recognition of his contributions to medical education and practice, Professor Glick received a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Nefesh B'Nefesh Bonei Zion Awards. The award recognizes outstanding Anglo Olim - veteran and recent - who encapsulate the spirit of modern-day Zionism by contributing in a significant way towards the State of Israel.

Professor Glick is blessed with 46 grandchildren and (at last count) 77 great grandchildren.  He continues to teach at the Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School and the Medical School for International Health (MSIH).  [Faculty Profile]

Dr. Mary Neal, Ph.D, LLB Honours, LLM
Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Dr. Mary Neal researches, writes, and teaches in the fields of Healthcare Law and Bioethics, focusing on beginning and end-of-life issues.  In 2014-15, she was Adviser to the Scottish Parliamentary Committee scrutinising the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill, and she is a current member [2018] of the British Medical Association's Medical Ethics Committee. She has published a wide range of academic articles and blogs on a range of topics including, most recently, conscientious objection by healthcare professionals; the nature of 'proper medical treatment'; the role of the emotions in end-of-life decision-making; and the conceptual structure and content of human dignity.

Dr. Neal was a co-editor of and contributor to the recent volume Ethical Judgments: Re-writing Medical Law (Hart, 2017). Her works-in-progress include articles and book chapters on conscientious objection; the idea of 'vulnerability' in healthcare; physician-assisted suicide; and the role of dignity in human rights discourse. Among other research activities, Dr. Neal is currently leading two funded projects relevant to the issue of conscientious objection in healthcare. One is a British Academy/Leverhulme-funded project exploring conflicts between personal values and professional expectations in pharmacy practice. The other is a multi-disciplinary network of academics and healthcare professionals (the 'Accommodating Conscience Research Network', or 'ACoRN'), funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and beginning with a series of roundtables exploring various aspects of conscientious objection in healthcare. Dr Neal is also a spokesperson for the Free Conscience campaign supporting the Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill currently before the UK Parliament.
[Faculty Profile]

Abdulaziz Sachedina, Ph.D
Professor and Endowed IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.A.

Dr. Sachedina is an American/Canadian citizen born in Tanzania. He has studied in India, Iraq, Iran, and Canada, and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.  He has been conducting research and writing in the field of Islamic Law, Ethics, and Theology (Sunni and Shiite) for more than two decades.  In the last ten years he has concentrated on social and political ethics, including Interfaith and Intrafaith Relations, Islamic Biomedical Ethics and Islam and Human Rights.  Dr. Sachedina's publications include: Islamic Messianism (State University of New York, 1980); Human Rights and the Conflicts of Culture, co-authored (University of South Carolina, 1988); The Just Ruler in Shiite Islam (Oxford University Press, 1988); The Prolegomena to the Qur'an (Oxford University Press, 1998); The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism (Oxford University Press, 2002);   Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights (Oxford University Press, September 2009), in addition to numerous articles in academic journals. 

The Ministry of Culture in Tehran named Dr. Sachedina's Islamic Biomedical Ethics: Theory and Application (Oxford University Press, February 2009) the best book of the year for 2010.  Reviewing the book, David Novak (author of Jewish Social Ethics) described him as "the leading Islamic thinker writing in English today," and noted "his authentic religious commitment to the truth of Islam, and his willingness to engage perspectives from other traditions."  [Faculty Profile]

Roger H. Trigg M.A., D.Phil.    
Senior Research Fellow, Ian Ramsay Centre for Science and Religion,
University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Professor Roger Trigg did his undergraduate work and doctorate, both in philosophy,  at New College, Oxford. He then taught philosophy at the University of Warwick for many years and is now Emeritus Professor of Philosophy there.

From 2007 to 201 he directed an interdisciplinary research team in the cognitive science of religion in the University of Oxford. He is a member of the Princeton Center of Theological Inquiry, and Associate Member of the Oxford Faculty of Theology. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Ian Ramsay Centre for Science and Religion in Oxford.

Roger Trigg is the author of many books on Philosophy, particularly combating philosophical relativism in its various guises, and stressing the philosophical relevance of human nature. His two most recent books are 'Morality Matters' (Blackwell, Oxford, 2005), and 'Religion in Public Life' (Oxford University Press (2007) . He is presently completing a further book for Oxford University Press, on 'Equality, Freedom and Religion', and has in 2010 published a report for the Theos think tank in London on religious freedom called 'Free to Believe?' He has played a leading role in learned societies, including the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion (Founding President,1993-6) and the European Society for Philosophy of Religion (President, 2008-2010).

Project Team

Human Rights Specialist
Rocco Mimmo, LLB, LLM
Chairman, Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty,
Sydney, Australia

 Mr. Mimmo is a lawyer in private practice in Sydney, Australia.  He established the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty in 2006 and publicly launched the Centre in 2009 in Sydney. He has been involved in social action throughout his adult life. In conjunction with others, he has attempted to influence the thrust of legislation adversely affecting the essential values associated around embryonic stem cell research, life, marriage and family. He has a Masters in International Law and has played a leading role in human rights debates. He is an Honorary Fellow of Campion College in Sydney which is the only Liberal Arts Tertiary Institution in Australia. [Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty]

Sean Murphy,
Powell River, British Columbia, Canada

Sean Murphy has been convinced of the need for protection of conscience legislation since 1988.  He has raised the issue with the Canadian federal government, as well as political parties and the provincial government in British Columbia.


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