Dignity, History, and Religious-Group Rights

6 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2013 Last revised: 9 Jun 2015

See all articles by Frederick Mark Gedicks

Frederick Mark Gedicks

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School

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

Gedicks, Frederick Mark, Dignity, History, and Religious-Group Rights (March 28, 2013). 21 Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues 273 (2013), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2240954

Frederick Mark Gedicks (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School ( email )

504 JRCB
Provo, UT 84602-8000
United States
801-422-4533 (Phone)
801-422-0391 (Fax)

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