Course Description for Religion and the Courts
Religion and the Courts
Religion in America is profoundly shaped by a "religious free market" rooted in the separation of church and state and the first amendment religion clauses. Yet, when the first amendment religious clauses were written, they limited only the federal government (Congress). This course will explore the evolution of the first amendment religion clauses from the Bill of Rights, through the fourteenth amendment applying the religion clauses to the states, culminating in a discussion of important religion cases currently before the courts. Special attention will be paid to the role of specific religious traditions in the development of religious freedom, the significance of this legal status of religion for the religious character of American culture broadly and for the distinctive cultures of American religious traditions.