The Distinctiveness of Religion in American Law

The Distinctiveness of Religion in American Law : Rethinking Religion Clause Jurisprudence

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In recent decades, religion's traditional distinctiveness under the First Amendment has been challenged by courts and scholars. As America grows more secular and as religious and nonreligious convictions are increasingly seen as interchangeable, many have questioned whether special treatment is still fair. In its recent decisions, the Supreme Court has made clear that religion will continue to be treated differently, but we lack a persuasive account of religion's uniqueness that can justify this difference. This book aims to develop such an account. Drawing on founding era thought illumined by theology, philosophy of religion, and comparative religion, it describes what is at stake in our tradition of religious freedom in a way that can be appreciated by the religious and nonreligious alike. From this account, it develops a new framework for religion clause decision making and explains the implications of this framework for current controversies regarding protections for religious more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139061151
  • 9781139061155

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. The Distinctiveness of Religion: 1. The development and limits of the equality paradigm; 2. The continuing power of the equality paradigm; 3. A unique relationship, a common foundation; 4. A new framework for religion clause jurisprudence; Part II. The Believer and the State: 5. Freedom of conscience today: rethinking free exercise exemptions; 6. Challenges to constructing a right of exemption that is feasible and fair; 7. Meeting the challenge: lessons from the first Congress; 8. New proposals for free exercise exemptions; 9. The role and limits of legislative and administrative accommodation; 10. Examining sincerity and defining religion; Conclusion: secular moral commitments more