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Review of Arlin M. Adams and Charles J. Emmerich: The Integration of Religious Liberty

21 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2011  

John Witte Jr.

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: 1992

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Arlin, Adams, Charles, Emmerich, Review, First Amendment, Religion, Liberty, Religious Liberty, Constitution, Law

Suggested Citation

Witte, John, Review of Arlin M. Adams and Charles J. Emmerich: The Integration of Religious Liberty (1992). Michigan Law Review, Vol. 90, p. 1363, 1992. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1669605

John Witte Jr. (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6980 (Phone)
404-712-8605 (Fax)

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