Dignity, History, and Religious-Group Rights
6 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2013 Last revised: 9 Jun 2015
Date Written: March 28, 2013
This essay is a response to Alan Brownstein, "Protecting the Religious Liberty of Religious Institutions," published as part of a symposium on "The Freedom of the Church." It agrees with Brownstein's central thesis that 18th-century history provides ambiguous support for religious-group rights. It also suggests that while "dignity" is probably sufficient to ground religious-group rights, such rights will often come at the expense of the human dignity of the individual members of such groups. It concludes with the suggestion that combining 19th-century history with the 18th-century history surveyed by Brownstein would expose even further the shallow roots of religious-group rights in the American constitutional tradition.
Keywords: Free Exercise Clause, freedom of the church, institutional free exercise, religion clauses, religious group rights
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation