Government for the Time Being
William S. Brewbaker
University of Alabama - School of Law
Matters of Faith, Austin Sarat, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2012
U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2173434
This short paper is a response to Steven Smith’s argument for an institutional understanding of the Establishment Clause. It challenges Smith’s dismissive posture toward the classical understanding of the “secular.” The classical understanding takes secular to refer “to this time and this world (as opposed to some other time or world, such as ‘eternity’ or the hereafter,” rather than simply denoting a “nonreligious” viewpoint. By focusing on three presuppositions underlying the classical account — (1) the kingship of God, (2) the presence of the church, and (3) the expectation of a world-to-come — the paper argues that the classical account provides a more robust limitation on government than is commonly assumed.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 11
Keywords: Establishment Clause, Steven Smith, Secular, Eschatology, Christian Legal Thought
Date posted: November 10, 2012
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