Preface: Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment
John Witte Jr.
Emory University School of Law
Joel A. Nichols
University of St. Thomas School of Law (MN)
RELIGION AND THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERIMENT, Westview Press, 2010
U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-22
Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 10-133
This new book provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary overview of the history, theory, law, and comparative analysis of American religious liberty from the earliest colonial period through the most recent Supreme Court cases. It also highlights the shifting jurisprudence and weakening of First Amendment religion clauses that is leading to new federal and state legislation and eroding protection of religious liberty in the United States. “We are troubled by this emerging shift from the judiciary to the legislature, and from the federal to the state governments in the protection of religious liberty in America. Such a shift leaves what should be common national rights of religious liberty vulnerable to fleeting political fashions and contingent on a claimant’s geographical location,” the authors write in the new introduction.
The new volume gives ample attention to the seven U.S. Supreme Court cases regarding religious liberty, including McCreary County v. ACLU and Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, that have arisen since the second edition went to press in 2004. Also included is a chapter on religious organizations and the law, a topic that has become increasingly important as attention shifts toward this subject with regard to religious institutions’ division over same-sex marriage. The book maintains the structure and themes introduced in the first two editions but contains substantial revisions.
Widely used among scholars of law, theology, history, ethics, political science, human rights and American studies, the book is an introduction for students, a provocation for specialists, and an invitation for the public to view afresh the American experiment in religious rights and liberties.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: Religious Liberty, First Amendment, Religion Clauses, Free Exercise Clause, Establishment Clause, Religious Organizations, Church and State, Religious Rights, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, McCreary County v. ACLUAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 2, 2010
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