Throughout American history, legal battles concerning the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty have been among the most contentious issue of the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. This book represents the most authoritative and up-to-date overview of the landmark cases that have defined religious freedom in America.
Throughout American history, legal battles concerning the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty have been among the most contentious issue of the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Religious Liberty and the American Supreme Court: The Essential Cases and Documents represents the most authoritative and up-to-date overview of the landmark cases that have defined religious freedom in America.
Throughout American history, legal battles concerning the First Amendment's protection of religious liberty have been among the most contentious issue of the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. This book represents the most authoritative and up-to-date overview of the landmark cases that have defined religious freedom in America.
It has been sixty years since the Supreme Court first addressed the subject of "Church and State" under what has come to be known as the incorporation doctrine, interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution as extending the First Amendment "religion clauses" to state and municipal actions. Edited with a carefully prepared historical introduction that places the First Amendment in the context of eighteenth-century debates over religious freedom, The Constitution and Religion offers a fresh analysis of the amendment's origins. In a collection of fifty recent and historical decisions concerning freedom of religion, Robert S. Alley places readers at the heart of the national debate, presenting the cases without editorial comment. By carefully extracting extended footnoting and citations that, in the full text, tend to separate legal opinions from public interest, Alley has cast the justices' thoughts in a format that captures the drama and, frequently, the eloquence of the prose that is, for now, the law of the land.
In a powerful challenge to conventional wisdom, Philip Hamburger argues that the separation of church and state has no historical foundation in the First Amendment. The detailed evidence assembled here shows that eighteenth-century Americans almost never invoked this principle. Although Thomas Jefferson and others retrospectively claimed that the First Amendment separated church and state, separation became part of American constitutional law only much later. Hamburger shows that separation became a constitutional freedom largely through fear and prejudice. Jefferson supported separation out of hostility to the Federalist clergy of New England. Nativist Protestants (ranging from nineteenth-century Know Nothings to twentieth-century members of the K.K.K.) adopted the principle of separation to restrict the role of Catholics in public life. Gradually, these Protestants were joined by theologically liberal, anti-Christian secularists, who hoped that separation would limit Christianity and all other distinct religions. Eventually, a wide range of men and women called for separation. Almost all of these Americans feared ecclesiastical authority, particularly that of the Catholic Church, and, in response to their fears, they increasingly perceived religious liberty to require a separation of church from state. American religious liberty was thus redefined and even transformed. In the process, the First Amendment was often used as an instrument of intolerance and discrimination.
This book explores the taxation and exemption of churches and other religious institutions, both empirically and normatively. This exploration reveals that churches and other religious institutions are treated diversely by the federal and state tax systems. Sectarian institutions pay more tax than many believe. In important respects, the states differ among themselves in their respective approaches to the taxation of sectarian entities. Either taxing or exempting churches and other sectarian entities entangles church and state. The taxes to which churches are more frequently subject - federal Social Security and Medicare taxes, sales taxes, real estate conveyance taxes - fall on the less entangling end of the spectrum. The taxes from which religious institutions are exempt - general income taxes, value-based property taxes, unemployment taxes - are typically taxes with the greatest potential for church-state enforcement entanglement. It is unpersuasive to reflexively denounce the tax exemption of religious actors and institutions as a subsidy. Tax exemption can implement the secular, non-subsidizing goal of minimizing church-state enforcement entanglement and thus be regarded as part of a normative tax base. Taxing the church or exempting the church involves often difficult trade-offs among competing and legitimate values. On balance, our federal system of decentralized legislation reasonably make these legal and tax policy trade-offs, though there is room for improvement in particular settings such as the protection of internal church communications and the expansion of the churches' sales tax liabilities.
The Supreme Court s decisions concerning the first amendment are hotly debated, and the controversy shows no signs of abating as additional cases come before the court. Adding much-needed historical and philosophical background to the discussion, Richard J. Regan reconsiders some of the most important Supreme Court cases regarding the establishment clause and the free exercise of religion.
Establishment Clause: Religion and the First Amendment
There has never been a book like Sex and the Constitution, a one-volume history that chapter after chapter overturns popular shibboleths, while dramatically narrating the epic story of how sex came to be legislated in America. Beginning his volume in the ancient and medieval worlds, Geoffrey R. Stone demonstrates how the Founding Fathers, deeply influenced by their philosophical forebears, saw traditional Christianity as an impediment to the pursuit of happiness and to the quest for human progress. Acutely aware of the need to separate politics from the divisive forces of religion, the Founding Fathers crafted a constitution that expressed the fundamental values of the Enlightenment. Although the Second Great Awakening later came to define America through the lens of evangelical Christianity, nineteenth-century Americans continued to view sex as a matter of private concern, so much so that sexual expression and information about contraception circulated freely, abortions before “quickening” remained legal, and prosecutions for sodomy were almost nonexistent. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries reversed such tolerance, however, as charismatic spiritual leaders and barnstorming politicians rejected the values of our nation’s founders. Spurred on by Anthony Comstock, America’s most feared enforcer of morality, new laws were enacted banning pornography, contraception, and abortion, with Comstock proposing that the word “unclean” be branded on the foreheads of homosexuals. Women increasingly lost control of their bodies, and birth control advocates, like Margaret Sanger, were imprisoned for advocating their beliefs. In this new world, abortions were for the first time relegated to dank and dangerous back rooms. The twentieth century gradually saw the emergence of bitter divisions over issues of sexual “morality” and sexual freedom. Fiercely determined organizations and individuals on both the right and the left wrestled in the domains of politics, religion, public opinion, and the courts to win over the soul of the nation. With its stirring portrayals of Supreme Court justices, Sex and the Constitution reads like a dramatic gazette of the critical cases they decided, ranging from Griswold v. Connecticut (contraception), to Roe v. Wade (abortion), to Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage), with Stone providing vivid historical context to the decisions that have come to define who we are as a nation. Now, though, after the 2016 presidential election, we seem to have taken a huge step backward, with the progress of the last half century suddenly imperiled. No one can predict the extent to which constitutional decisions safeguarding our personal freedoms might soon be eroded, but Sex and the Constitution is more vital now than ever before.
"This new edition of a classic textbook provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary overview of the history, theology, and law of American religious liberty. The authors offer a balanced and accessible analysis of First Amendment cases and controversies, and compare them to both the original teachings of the American founders and current international norms of religious liberty"--
Religion and the Constitution, Fourth Edition, written by a team of well-known Constitutional Law scholars, thoughtfully examines the relationship between government and religion within the framework of the U.S. Constitution. This classroom-tested casebook is suitable for courses in Religious Liberty, Religion and the Constitution, or Religious Institutions and the Law.
An expanded version of a series of debates between the authors, this book examines the nature of corporate rights, especially with respect to religious liberty, in the context of the controversial Hobby Lobby case from the Supreme Court's 2013-14 term.
This is an account of the ideas about and public policies relating to the relationship between government and religion from the settlement of Virginia in 1607 to the presidency of Andrew Jackson, 1829–37. This book describes the impact and the relationship of various events, legislative, and judicial actions, including the English Toleration Act of 1689, the First and Second Great Awakenings, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists. Four principles were paramount in the American approach to government's relation to religion: the importance of religion to public welfare; the resulting desirability of government support of religion (within the limitations of political culture); liberty of conscience and voluntaryism; the requirement that religion be supported by free will offerings, not taxation. Hutson analyzes and describes the development and interplay of these principles, and considers the relevance of the concept of the separation of church and state during this period.
God vs. the Gavel challenges the pervasive assumption that all religious conduct deserves constitutional protection. While religious conduct provides many benefits to society, it is not always benign. The thesis of the book is that anyone who harms another person should be governed by the laws that govern everyone else - and truth be told, religion is capable of great harm. This may not sound like a radical proposition, but it has been under assault since the 1960s. The majority of academics and many religious organizations would construct a fortress around religious conduct that would make it extremely difficult to prosecute child abuse by clergy, medical neglect of children by faith-healers, and other socially unacceptable behaviors. This book intends to change the course of the public debate over religion by bringing to the public's attention the tactics of religious entities to avoid the law and therefore harm others.
Balancing respect for religious conviction and the values of liberal democracy is a daunting challenge for judges and lawmakers, particularly when religious groups seek exemption from laws that govern others. Should members of religious sects be able to use peyote in worship? Should pacifists be forced to take part in military service when there is a draft, and should this depend on whether they are religious? How can the law address the refusal of parents to provide medical care to their children--or the refusal of doctors to perform abortions? Religion and the Constitution presents a new framework for addressing these and other controversial questions that involve competing demands of fairness, liberty, and constitutional validity. In the first of two major volumes on the intersection of constitutional and religious issues in the United States, Kent Greenawalt focuses on one of the Constitution's main clauses concerning religion: the Free Exercise Clause. Beginning with a brief account of the clause's origin and a short history of the Supreme Court's leading decisions about freedom of religion, he devotes a chapter to each of the main controversies encountered by judges and lawmakers. Sensitive to each case's context in judging whether special treatment of religious claims is justified, Greenawalt argues that the state's treatment of religion cannot be reduced to a single formula. Calling throughout for religion to be taken more seriously as a force for meaning in people's lives, Religion and the Constitution aims to accommodate the maximum expression of religious conviction that is consistent with a commitment to fairness and the public welfare.
Refutes the claims of the religious right that America was founded as a Christian nation, and emphasizes that separation of church and state was designed to guarantee religious freedom
Did the Founding Fathers intend to build a 'wall of separation' between church and state? Are public Ten Commandments displays or the phrase 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance consistent with the Founders' understandings of religious freedom? In God and the Founders, Dr Vincent Phillip Muñoz answers these questions by providing comprehensive interpretations of James Madison, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. By analyzing Madison's, Washington's, and Jefferson's public documents, private writings, and political actions, Muñoz explains the Founders' competing church-state political philosophies. Muñoz explores how Madison, Washington, and Jefferson agreed and disagreed by showing how their different principles of religious freedom would decide the Supreme Court's most important First Amendment religion cases. God and the Founders answers the question, 'What would the Founders do?' for the most pressing church-state issues of our time, including prayer in public schools, government support of religion, and legal burdens on individuals' religious consciences.
The significance of the Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom goes far beyond the borders of the Old Dominion. Its influence ultimately extended to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the separation of church and state. In his latest book, Thomas Buckley tells the story of the statute, beginning with its background in the struggles of the colonial dissenters against an oppressive Church of England. When the Revolution forced the issue of religious liberty, Thomas Jefferson drafted his statute and James Madison guided its passage through the state legislature. Displacing an established church by instituting religious freedom, the Virginia statute provided the most substantial guarantees of religious liberty of any state in the new nation. The statute's implementation, however, proved to be problematic. Faced with a mandate for strict separation of church and state--and in an atmosphere of sweeping evangelical Christianity--Virginians clashed over numerous issues, including the legal ownership of church property, the incorporation of churches and religious groups, Sabbath observance, protection for religious groups, Bible reading in school, and divorce laws. Such debates pitted churches against one another and engaged Virginia’s legal system for a century and a half. Fascinating history in itself, the effort to implement Jefferson’s statute has even broader significance in its anticipation of the conflict that would occupy the whole country after the Supreme Court nationalized the religion clause of the First Amendment in the 1940s.
First published in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
In Our Lost Constitution, Senator Mike Lee tells the dramatic, little-known stories behind six of the Constitution?s most indispensible provisions. He shows their rise. He shows their fall. And he makes vividly clear how nearly every abuse of federal power today is rooted in neglect of this Lost Constitution.

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