Religious Purpose, Inerrancy, and the Establishment Clause
24 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2006
According to the much-contested "purpose" requirement of the Supreme Court's Establishment Clause doctrine, laws must be grounded on secular as opposed to religious purposes. This article advances a normative argument concerning how this requirement should be construed. The author distinguishes between different types of religious purposes and different types of religious beliefs. Most importantly, he distinguishes between "inerrant" religious beliefs, which are characterized by a certain type of closed-mindedness, and "dialogic" religious beliefs, which are not. After developing a suggested analytical framework, the author applies his approach to the issues of school prayer, evolution, and abortion. He then confront various objections that might be made to his argument, including the claim that all religious beliefs must he treated alike.
Keywords: Constitutional Law, Establishment Clause, Religion and Politics, Religious Liberty
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K30, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation