Government for the Time Being

Matters of Faith, Austin Sarat, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2012

U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2173434

11 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2012  

William S. Brewbaker

University of Alabama - School of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Establishment Clause, Steven Smith, Secular, Eschatology, Christian Legal Thought

Suggested Citation

Brewbaker, William S., Government for the Time Being (2012). Matters of Faith, Austin Sarat, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2012; U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2173434. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2173434

William S. Brewbaker (Contact Author)

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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