Religion and the Constitution, Vol. 2: Establishment and Fairness

Religion and the Constitution, Vol. 2: Establishment and Fairness


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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 students in public schools be allowed to organize devotional Bible readings and prayers on school property? Does reciting “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance establish a preferred religion? What does the Constitution have to say about displays of religious symbols and messages on public property? Religion and the Constitutionpresents a new framework for addressing these and other controversial questions that involve competing demands of fairness, liberty, and constitutional validity.

In this second of two major volumes on the intersection of constitutional and religious issues in the United States, Kent Greenawalt focuses on the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which forbids government from favoring one religion over another, or religion over secularism. The author begins with a history of the clause, its underlying principles, and the Supreme Court’s main decisions on establishment, and proceeds to consider specific controversies. Taking a contextual approach, Greenawalt argues that the state’s treatment of religion cannot be reduced to a single formula.

Calling throughout for acknowledgment of the way religion gives meaning to 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.


Constitutional Law | First Amendment | Law | Law and Philosophy | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion




Princeton University Press


Princeton, NJ


"This is the most important work on the Establishment Clause in the literature and it will remain so for a long time to come. Virtually every chapter breaks new ground."
Steven H. Shiffrin, Cornell University

"This is a superb overview of a broad range of First Amendment issues from a powerful analytic mind with a profound knowledge of the field."
Andrew Koppelman, Northwestern University


Also available as an eBook through the Columbia University Libraries.

Religion and the Constitution, Vol. 2: Establishment and Fairness

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