Review of Arlin M. Adams and Charles J. Emmerich: The Integration of Religious Liberty
John Witte Jr.
Emory University School of Law
Michigan Law Review, Vol. 90, p. 1363, 1992
This review essay analyzes the bold and integrative model of First Amendment religious liberty offered by Arlin Adams and Charles Emmerich. These authors seek the original understanding of the First Amendment in the overlapping consensus for religious liberty offered by Evangelicals, Lockean liberals, and Republican centrists in eighteenth-century America. All three camps advocated a new constitutional law that protected freedom of religion by maximizing the free exercise of individuals and their voluntary churches, and preventing the state from establishing any one church or religion. This original understanding of the First Amendment is best captured today by a theory of benevolent neutrality that values and protects all peaceable religions, and that accommodates so far as possible the special needs of religious parties. While warmly condoning the general thesis of the book, the review essay calls for a more nuanced differentiation of the founders’ views – in particular the need to take better account of the Puritan contributions of religious liberty in the founding era. The essay also calls for a more nuanced multi-principled reading of the First Amendment religious liberty.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: Arlin, Adams, Charles, Emmerich, Review, First Amendment, Religion, Liberty, Religious Liberty, Constitution, Law
Date posted: February 11, 2011