Pyrrhic Victories: How the Secularization Doctrine Undermines the Sanctity of Religion
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) - Department of Political Science
June 27, 2010
U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 175
Over the past 25 years, federal courts have sanctioned displays of religious symbols on public property – including the crèche, the Ten Commandments, and the Latin cross – by privileging their secular value or because nearby secular symbols wash away their religiosity. This paper contends that these cases have resulted in government secularization of the religious. Though the appearance of religion has increased in the Public Square, this effort has been partially self-defeating because the distinctive substance of religion has been eroded by this jurisprudence, thereby weakening the sanctity of religion. Minimizing the religious import of these symbols makes dialogue over the proper reach of the Establishment Clause effectively impossible.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Date posted: June 27, 2010 ; Last revised: December 27, 2010