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Our subject, whether the religion clauses of the federal constitution should be amended, goes to the heart of relations between government and the practice of religion in our society. These relations deeply affect the health of both religion and government. When public officials persecute some religions and embrace others, the risks are political tyranny and rigid, unthinking, unfeeling, vapid religion. No one wishes that fate for us.

When most people ask whether the religion clauses should be amended, they are really asking whether judicial interpretations have become so misguided that Congress and state legislatures should intervene and invoke the cumbersome process of constitutional amendment. It could be otherwise. Someone might believe that the fault lies with the Framers of the Bill of Rights, and that judges have faithfully interpreted provisions that are intrinsically flawed. But people generally assume that the language of the religion clauses sketches a set of relations between government and religion of which they approve.


Constitutional Law | Law | Religion Law