46 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2015 Last revised: 8 Jun 2016
Date Written: February 5, 2015
For better or worse, the religion clauses are a part of the American jurisprudential legacy. We must be able to address the religion clauses in some measure if for no other reason than "because the Constitution says so." And to address the religion clauses, we must at least engage with the term "religion." In this Article, I hope to illuminate some of the problems in defining religion for legal purposes by taking a step back and examining the problems with defining religion more generally and, indeed, with definitions in general. I aim to begin a discussion of how the word "religion" in the First Amendment is best understood, given the understanding, still relatively new to the legal world, that "religion" is not a neutral category.
Keywords: religion, definition, multifactor, polythetic, essentialist, belief, family resemblance, prototype, sincerity, extra temporal consequnces, free speech
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