Introduction: Symposium on Religion, Religious Pluralism, and the Rule of Law
Mississippi College Law Review, Vol. 27, p. 1, 2007-2008
Mississippi College School of Law Research Paper No. 2008-09
11 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2008 Last revised: 24 Jul 2008
Date Written: July 16, 2008
The articles and essays in this Symposium on Religion, Religious Pluralism, and the Rule of Law were presented for a Section on Law and Religion panel at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. The Symposium aims to move the debate about the relationship between law and religion beyond conflicts between secularists and religionists by focusing attention on presuppositions about religion, religious pluralism, and the rule of law. Focusing on these presuppositions helps get beyond the tendency of most legal scholars, judges, and lawyers to think through the law rather than about the law. The articles and essays in this Symposium disclose key presuppositions of religionists and secularists by employing other disciplinary perspectives and methods to provide a more sophisticated understanding of law and religion. The articles fall into two subgroups. The first group of articles focuses on analyzing the key presuppositions of secularists and religionists primarily in the American context relating to interpretations of the religion clauses of the First Amendment and President George Washington's religious beliefs. The articles and essays in this group were written by Scott Idleman, Michael and Jana Novak, and Steven Smith. The second group of articles focuses more broadly on how secularist and religionist assumptions impact debates about constitutionalism, religious pluralism, and paradigms of law and religion. This group includes articles by Larry Cata Baker, Robin Lovin, and myself. All of the articles and essays in this Symposium provide rich insights into presuppositions about law and religion that have not been sufficiently examined in prior debates, and they should advance the conversation about law and religion in ways that provide for new avenues of reflection.
Keywords: Religion, Law, Religious Pluralism, Political Pluralism, Rule of Law
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