Government's Religious Hospitals
62 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2022 Last revised: 1 Feb 2023
Date Written: September 28, 2022
States are not supposed to own or operate religious institutions, but they now do. This Article uncovers that across the country, church and state have merged, joint ventured, and contracted to form public, yet religious, hospitals. It traces the origins of these curious institutions to dramatic transformations over the last forty years in the political economy of healthcare and the constitutional doctrine of church and state. At stake are the foundational commitments of secular government to equal citizenship and religious freedom.
Yet, constitutional litigation offers limited recourse. In an increasingly religious marketplace, only sustained attention to the political economy can reverse the confluence of church and state. This Article proposes strategies to unite religion law and political economy and to move from religious domination to pluralism and from discrimination to equality. As government-religious institutions proliferate beyond healthcare—in schools, prisons, police departments, and child-welfare agencies—reform efforts must take on broader trends toward consolidation, privatization, and religionization of the economy.
Keywords: hospitals, church-state, establishment, religion, privatization, healthcare
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