Posts

State Funding for Religious Schools: What the US Supreme Court Should and Likely Will Do in its Espinoza decision

I thoroughly enjoyed the Religious Studies Project podcast on Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue and related cases.  The panelists and moderator did a skillful job of describing the complicated issues pertaining to First Amendment church/state concerns.  They covered several other important cases pertaining to religious exemptions, accommodations, and discrimination that could be the focus of my response, but I have decided to limit my comments to the Espinoza case before the Supreme Court and the Court’s likely reliance on Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer (2017) in rendering its Espinoza decision.

Since the 1980s, the Supreme Court has become increasingly accommodationist toward religion in terms of allowing public funds to be used in sectarian schools.  In a number of cases, the Court has found no Establishment Clause violation in using public funds for services in religious schools.[1]  However, for the first time, in Trinity Lutheran, the Court ruled that there is a Free Exercise Clause entitlement to participate in a governmental program that is available to public entities.  Our panelists rightly noted that the Trinity Lutheran decision was somewhat narrow, focusing on whether a religious preschool program was entitled to compete for a state grant that was available to secular programs.  Trinity Lutheran did not involve the use of state money for the instructional program in private schools as vouchers and tax credit/scholarship programs do.  The Court may use Espinoza to extend the reach of the Free Exercise Clause.

Most states have constitutional provisions barring the use of public funds by religious institutions and prohibiting states from compelling citizens to support religion.  In fact, only three states, Louisiana, Maine, and North Carolina, have neither of these clauses.  While school voucher programs have generated some mixed judicial opinions, no state high court had struck down a tax credit/scholarship program until the 2018 Montana Supreme Court decision.[2]

The Supreme Court could narrowly affirm the Montana Supreme Court’s holding by ruling that Montana’s constitutional provision barring direct or indirect appropriations or payments to religious institutions is unique and more stringent than the wording of “no aid” clauses in most other state constitutions.  This point was made in the Espinoza majority opinion, even though many other states also have strict “no aid” provisions.  Such a ruling would have little precedential value and would leave intact other state high court decisions upholding tax credit programs.

 

Above, the seal of Montana’s Supreme Court. The seal includes the state’s motto: “Oro y plata”—Spanish for “silver and gold.”

A broader rationale to affirm the Montana high court would be for the U.S. Supreme Court to rely on its 2004 decision, Locke v. Davey, in ruling that states have discretion to enact stronger “no aid” provisions than demanded by the federal Establishment Clause.  This reasoning was widely supported until recently, but it was called into question by the Trinity Lutheran decision.  In essence, the Court could affirm that states can go further than the federal Establishment Clause in barring the use of public funds for religious purposes and institutions.

The broadest rationale to strike down the program would be for the Supreme Court to adopt the reasoning of the Espinoza concurring judges and rule that the Montana tax credit/scholarship program violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause as well as the Montana Constitution by endorsing/advancing religion.  An objective analysis of the intent of this clause and litigation through the 1970s supports this conclusion.  But considering the orientation of the current Supreme Court toward more religious accommodation, it is highly unlikely that a majority of the justices will take this position.

If the U.S. Supreme Court concludes that the tax credit/scholarship program is constitutionally permissible under the Montana and Federal Constitutions, which it probably will do, several rationales are also available for it to reverse the Montana Supreme Court.  It might conclude that the tax credit/scholarship program meets constitutional requirements because the money flows to religious schools only because of parents’ decisions to send their children to such schools, as it concluded in 2002 when it upheld a voucher program in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris.  In essence, the Court majority concluded that a program is constitutional if private – not government – decisions funnel public funds to sectarian institutions.  Or the Court could use the child benefit rationale in that the money is benefiting the children and not the religious institutions, as it has in several cases allowing public aid to support various services for children attending religious schools (e.g., Mitchell v. Helms, 2000).  The Court could further hold that the program is not subject to constitutional attack by taxpayers who have no standing because the credits are not yet in the state treasury, as it did in 2011 when it reviewed Arizona’s tax credit/scholarship program in Arizona School Christian Tuition Organization v. Winn.

The broadest rationale to reverse the Montana Supreme Court would be to rely on Trinity Lutheran in holding that parents have a Free Exercise right to participate in a public benefit. As asserted by the parents who challenged the rule excluding faith-based schools in the Montana tax credit/scholarship program.  If the Supreme Court reaches this conclusion, it would solidify that the Trinity Lutheran rationale negates “no aid” constitutional provisions across states and would conflict with some lower court rulings as well.  Whether all such decisions are now invalid was left slightly ajar in Trinity Lutheran, but the Court’s Espinoza decision could eliminate any lingering doubt.

The current Supreme Court is most likely to adopt the last option and reiterate the dominance of Free Exercise rights and thus firmly establish a hierarchy between the First Amendment’s religion clauses.  This goes against the historical understanding of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses in our nation.  Concurring Judge Sandefur declared in Espinoza that while the Establishment Clause provides an explicit prohibition on governmental action, “the Free Exercise clause is nothing more than a protective shield against government interference in the free exercise of a citizen’s chosen religion. . . . The Free Exercise Clause is not, nor did the Framers intend it to be, a sword of affirmative right to receive government aid” (435 P.3d at 624).  This widely supported stance no longer may be accurate, and the dominance of the Free Exercise Clause might be used in other cases for individuals to assert entitlements.  In the school context, staff members may claim a free exercise right to express their religious views in public schools, and students might assert a free exercise right to expression based on their religious beliefs that is hurtful to classmates (e.g., condemning homosexuality).  The national commitment to church/state separation, which has been the strongest in the school context, no longer may be assured.

A Supreme Court holding that the Free Exercise Clause entitles parents of private school students and the sectarian schools themselves to participate in tax credit/scholarship programs would have significant implications for the nature and structure of education in our nation.  Such a ruling would certainly provide an incentive for additional states to enact school choice measures that allow public funds to be used in sectarian schools.  It has been assumed in our nation that parents have a right to select private schooling for their children, but this does not mean the state must pay for such a choice.  This longstanding principle seems to be in jeopardy.

The United States was unique by including an anti-establishment provision in its constitution.  Many of the drafters were well aware of the hardships and bloodshed caused by religious persecution and discrimination resulting from co-mingling church and state.  It is imperative that we remain mindful about the dangers of church/state entanglement, especially in the school context, even when such involvement appears benign.  I applaud the Montana Supreme Court for its courageous decision that seems true to First Amendment precedent as well as to the concept of federalism that allows states to go beyond federal constitutional minimums in reserving public funds for public purposes.  However, I do not think the current U.S. Supreme Court will follow suit, so we may be entering a new era in church/state/school relations in our nation.

[1] This response is drawn in part from a longer article I wrote on tuition tax credit/scholarship programs, Martha McCarthy, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue:  Tuition Tax Credits on Trial, Education Law Reporter, 365, 20-37 (2019).  Full citations for all topics and cases mentioned here can be found in that article.

[2] In basic voucher programs, parents are allocated a designated amount of state money that they can direct to the private school of their choice.  Tax credit/scholarship programs use money the taxpayer otherwise would owe in state taxes; in most of these programs, entities (e.g., student tuition organizations) collect the credits and distribute the scholarships, which a specific STO can confine to particular groups of private schools.

 

Gods and Demons, Scholars and Lawyers: Brief Reflections on American Religion and Law

Talking to lawyers is a real skill, and Eric Mazur is very good at it. In the subfield of traditional American church-state studies, legal historians, lawyers, lobbyists, and religion scholars convene for conservation and debate, mostly about First Amendment jurisprudence. As Mazur explains in his RSP interview, that conversation has in recent years lost its place, at least at the American Academy of Religion, and so he has revived it with a Religion and Law discussion group, which has met concurrently with AAR for each of the last two years (full disclosure: I have participated in both meetings). These conversations—at the AAR meetings and in the field more generally—are lively, rigorous, and fascinating, but sometimes frustrating. Unlike many other fields, the range of topics is actually quite small but the variety of approaches is wide. This self-imposed limitation was, according to Mazur, a primary reason for forming the discussion group. This is a group of people who come from very different backgrounds and perspectives—and with different goals—but can talk about the same things, namely, court cases dealing with the First Amendment’s establishment clause and free exercise clause. This is the opposite of many subfield groups, who are organized by a method (ethnography, for example) and use that same method on vastly different data sets. Here, we have a quite small shared data set but diverse methods. Everyone can speak at length, using shorthand, about certain acts, cases, decisions, and dissents, and everyone in the room can follow it. But why these people care, and, more practically, what they’re trying to do, can result in some talking-past each other. Few people are as good as Mazur at bridging these interests and assembling the components for a productive exchange.

The interview includes a number of interesting exchanges, as Mazur describes the state of the field, the advent of the discussion group, and his own career. I was particularly interested in Mazur’s answer to the question about why there is an increasing interest in religion and law. He noted that some religion scholars got into studying the law through studying New Religious Movements (NRMs) or minority religions, as they tend to be treated differently under the law. One of Mazur’s books, here.) This focus does bring out a possible tension between two approaches. Are we studying the law, the Supreme Court decisions, and legal language, etc., or are we studying religious groups and how their practices and beliefs shape and are shaped by law? Of course, it can be both, but the different emphases can evince different goals among scholars. Mazur highlighted the tension between those who have a “normative notion” of religious freedom and those who do not (at least not so explicitly.) On the normative side are not just lawyers, but also theologians, philosophers, lobbyists, and even clergy members. Others take a more descriptive/analytical approach, seeing the law as an institution with effects on American (religious) life and thus worth studying in historical or sociological ways.

In my view, there are two ways that the field of religion and law should expand. First, I think that “law” has been taken to mean primarily the First Amendment’s religion clauses, and there are many other interactions between religious communities and the law worth studying. Mazur mentions this briefly in the interview. Religion scholars would do well to learn about tax law or tort law or intellectual property. Law is not simply religious freedom. And, furthermore, religious freedom means a lot more than First Amendment law. The discourse of freedom, the various states of freedom and un-freedom under which subjects live, and the processes by which freedom is manufactured and protected are all topics that could be taken up by scholars of religion and law. Second, delimiting our area of focus to the United States can miss the international context for American religious law. On one hand, the limited scope makes sense, since American law does apply, for the most part, to America. However, American religious freedom, understood as a human right, is being naturalized and exported. This has tremendous ramifications for foreign policy, religious nationalism, and diplomacy. Constitutional scholars who focus on religion largely have ignored these important developments.

That being said, I think there is a place for the type of “traditional” constitutional conversations Mazur has advocated and facilitated. As I stated above, it is enjoyable and somewhat rare to have a room (or some non-physical space) full of people who speak the same language, who know what Reynolds and Schempp and Boerne v. Flores and RFRA mean. It can lead to productive and detailed conversations. Historians and other scholars contribute to public understanding, but they also can be involved in shaping the law, through an amicus brief or as an expert witness, for example. Many religion scholars (though of course not all) are wary to do anything that smacks of “advocacy.” However, if we are writing about contemporary laws and their impact on religious communities, or about the logic structuring certain laws and cases, our work can have effects even if we do not intend them. So, why not be intentional about it in the first place? Or at least be willing to engage in conversation, if not outright “political” action? If we are going to engage in this type of public work, we need a common language to speak. Working with academics can be an unpleasant experience, and our analytical goals can distract from the winning cases or lobbying for particular causes. But, if lawyers and scholars are going to talk to each other, it has to be at least somewhat on the lawyers’ terms.

References

Gordon, Sarah Barringer. The Spirit of the Law: Religious Voices and the Constitution in Modern America. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010.

Mazur, Eric Michael. The Americanization of Religious Minorities: Confronting the Constitutional Order. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Su, Anna. Exporting Freedom: Religious Liberty and American Power. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016.

Wenger, Tisa. We Have a Religion: The 1920s Pueblo Indian Dance Controversy and American Religious Freedom. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

 

Religion and American Law

In this interview, Professor Eric Mazur discusses a variety of issues relating to religion and law in the USA, such as the evolving state of First Amendment jurisprudence, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, dominant trends in the study of religion and American law, and controversial legislation such as the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Dr. Mazur also discusses his efforts to help cultivate a space at the American Academy of Religion that is explicitly devoted to the study of religion and American law. This interview provides an introduction and summary of this increasingly important field.

Minority Religions and the Law, and our general introduction to Religion and the Law with Winnifred F. Sullivan. You can download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us . And remember, you can use our Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com, or Amazon.ca links to support us at no additional cost when buying academic texts, potpourri, vintage cars, and more.

Podcasts

State Funding for Religious Schools: What the US Supreme Court Should and Likely Will Do in its Espinoza decision

I thoroughly enjoyed the Religious Studies Project podcast on Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue and related cases.  The panelists and moderator did a skillful job of describing the complicated issues pertaining to First Amendment church/state concerns.  They covered several other important cases pertaining to religious exemptions, accommodations, and discrimination that could be the focus of my response, but I have decided to limit my comments to the Espinoza case before the Supreme Court and the Court’s likely reliance on Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer (2017) in rendering its Espinoza decision.

Since the 1980s, the Supreme Court has become increasingly accommodationist toward religion in terms of allowing public funds to be used in sectarian schools.  In a number of cases, the Court has found no Establishment Clause violation in using public funds for services in religious schools.[1]  However, for the first time, in Trinity Lutheran, the Court ruled that there is a Free Exercise Clause entitlement to participate in a governmental program that is available to public entities.  Our panelists rightly noted that the Trinity Lutheran decision was somewhat narrow, focusing on whether a religious preschool program was entitled to compete for a state grant that was available to secular programs.  Trinity Lutheran did not involve the use of state money for the instructional program in private schools as vouchers and tax credit/scholarship programs do.  The Court may use Espinoza to extend the reach of the Free Exercise Clause.

Most states have constitutional provisions barring the use of public funds by religious institutions and prohibiting states from compelling citizens to support religion.  In fact, only three states, Louisiana, Maine, and North Carolina, have neither of these clauses.  While school voucher programs have generated some mixed judicial opinions, no state high court had struck down a tax credit/scholarship program until the 2018 Montana Supreme Court decision.[2]

The Supreme Court could narrowly affirm the Montana Supreme Court’s holding by ruling that Montana’s constitutional provision barring direct or indirect appropriations or payments to religious institutions is unique and more stringent than the wording of “no aid” clauses in most other state constitutions.  This point was made in the Espinoza majority opinion, even though many other states also have strict “no aid” provisions.  Such a ruling would have little precedential value and would leave intact other state high court decisions upholding tax credit programs.

 

Above, the seal of Montana’s Supreme Court. The seal includes the state’s motto: “Oro y plata”—Spanish for “silver and gold.”

A broader rationale to affirm the Montana high court would be for the U.S. Supreme Court to rely on its 2004 decision, Locke v. Davey, in ruling that states have discretion to enact stronger “no aid” provisions than demanded by the federal Establishment Clause.  This reasoning was widely supported until recently, but it was called into question by the Trinity Lutheran decision.  In essence, the Court could affirm that states can go further than the federal Establishment Clause in barring the use of public funds for religious purposes and institutions.

The broadest rationale to strike down the program would be for the Supreme Court to adopt the reasoning of the Espinoza concurring judges and rule that the Montana tax credit/scholarship program violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause as well as the Montana Constitution by endorsing/advancing religion.  An objective analysis of the intent of this clause and litigation through the 1970s supports this conclusion.  But considering the orientation of the current Supreme Court toward more religious accommodation, it is highly unlikely that a majority of the justices will take this position.

If the U.S. Supreme Court concludes that the tax credit/scholarship program is constitutionally permissible under the Montana and Federal Constitutions, which it probably will do, several rationales are also available for it to reverse the Montana Supreme Court.  It might conclude that the tax credit/scholarship program meets constitutional requirements because the money flows to religious schools only because of parents’ decisions to send their children to such schools, as it concluded in 2002 when it upheld a voucher program in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris.  In essence, the Court majority concluded that a program is constitutional if private – not government – decisions funnel public funds to sectarian institutions.  Or the Court could use the child benefit rationale in that the money is benefiting the children and not the religious institutions, as it has in several cases allowing public aid to support various services for children attending religious schools (e.g., Mitchell v. Helms, 2000).  The Court could further hold that the program is not subject to constitutional attack by taxpayers who have no standing because the credits are not yet in the state treasury, as it did in 2011 when it reviewed Arizona’s tax credit/scholarship program in Arizona School Christian Tuition Organization v. Winn.

The broadest rationale to reverse the Montana Supreme Court would be to rely on Trinity Lutheran in holding that parents have a Free Exercise right to participate in a public benefit. As asserted by the parents who challenged the rule excluding faith-based schools in the Montana tax credit/scholarship program.  If the Supreme Court reaches this conclusion, it would solidify that the Trinity Lutheran rationale negates “no aid” constitutional provisions across states and would conflict with some lower court rulings as well.  Whether all such decisions are now invalid was left slightly ajar in Trinity Lutheran, but the Court’s Espinoza decision could eliminate any lingering doubt.

The current Supreme Court is most likely to adopt the last option and reiterate the dominance of Free Exercise rights and thus firmly establish a hierarchy between the First Amendment’s religion clauses.  This goes against the historical understanding of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses in our nation.  Concurring Judge Sandefur declared in Espinoza that while the Establishment Clause provides an explicit prohibition on governmental action, “the Free Exercise clause is nothing more than a protective shield against government interference in the free exercise of a citizen’s chosen religion. . . . The Free Exercise Clause is not, nor did the Framers intend it to be, a sword of affirmative right to receive government aid” (435 P.3d at 624).  This widely supported stance no longer may be accurate, and the dominance of the Free Exercise Clause might be used in other cases for individuals to assert entitlements.  In the school context, staff members may claim a free exercise right to express their religious views in public schools, and students might assert a free exercise right to expression based on their religious beliefs that is hurtful to classmates (e.g., condemning homosexuality).  The national commitment to church/state separation, which has been the strongest in the school context, no longer may be assured.

A Supreme Court holding that the Free Exercise Clause entitles parents of private school students and the sectarian schools themselves to participate in tax credit/scholarship programs would have significant implications for the nature and structure of education in our nation.  Such a ruling would certainly provide an incentive for additional states to enact school choice measures that allow public funds to be used in sectarian schools.  It has been assumed in our nation that parents have a right to select private schooling for their children, but this does not mean the state must pay for such a choice.  This longstanding principle seems to be in jeopardy.

The United States was unique by including an anti-establishment provision in its constitution.  Many of the drafters were well aware of the hardships and bloodshed caused by religious persecution and discrimination resulting from co-mingling church and state.  It is imperative that we remain mindful about the dangers of church/state entanglement, especially in the school context, even when such involvement appears benign.  I applaud the Montana Supreme Court for its courageous decision that seems true to First Amendment precedent as well as to the concept of federalism that allows states to go beyond federal constitutional minimums in reserving public funds for public purposes.  However, I do not think the current U.S. Supreme Court will follow suit, so we may be entering a new era in church/state/school relations in our nation.

[1] This response is drawn in part from a longer article I wrote on tuition tax credit/scholarship programs, Martha McCarthy, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue:  Tuition Tax Credits on Trial, Education Law Reporter, 365, 20-37 (2019).  Full citations for all topics and cases mentioned here can be found in that article.

[2] In basic voucher programs, parents are allocated a designated amount of state money that they can direct to the private school of their choice.  Tax credit/scholarship programs use money the taxpayer otherwise would owe in state taxes; in most of these programs, entities (e.g., student tuition organizations) collect the credits and distribute the scholarships, which a specific STO can confine to particular groups of private schools.

 

Gods and Demons, Scholars and Lawyers: Brief Reflections on American Religion and Law

Talking to lawyers is a real skill, and Eric Mazur is very good at it. In the subfield of traditional American church-state studies, legal historians, lawyers, lobbyists, and religion scholars convene for conservation and debate, mostly about First Amendment jurisprudence. As Mazur explains in his RSP interview, that conversation has in recent years lost its place, at least at the American Academy of Religion, and so he has revived it with a Religion and Law discussion group, which has met concurrently with AAR for each of the last two years (full disclosure: I have participated in both meetings). These conversations—at the AAR meetings and in the field more generally—are lively, rigorous, and fascinating, but sometimes frustrating. Unlike many other fields, the range of topics is actually quite small but the variety of approaches is wide. This self-imposed limitation was, according to Mazur, a primary reason for forming the discussion group. This is a group of people who come from very different backgrounds and perspectives—and with different goals—but can talk about the same things, namely, court cases dealing with the First Amendment’s establishment clause and free exercise clause. This is the opposite of many subfield groups, who are organized by a method (ethnography, for example) and use that same method on vastly different data sets. Here, we have a quite small shared data set but diverse methods. Everyone can speak at length, using shorthand, about certain acts, cases, decisions, and dissents, and everyone in the room can follow it. But why these people care, and, more practically, what they’re trying to do, can result in some talking-past each other. Few people are as good as Mazur at bridging these interests and assembling the components for a productive exchange.

The interview includes a number of interesting exchanges, as Mazur describes the state of the field, the advent of the discussion group, and his own career. I was particularly interested in Mazur’s answer to the question about why there is an increasing interest in religion and law. He noted that some religion scholars got into studying the law through studying New Religious Movements (NRMs) or minority religions, as they tend to be treated differently under the law. One of Mazur’s books, here.) This focus does bring out a possible tension between two approaches. Are we studying the law, the Supreme Court decisions, and legal language, etc., or are we studying religious groups and how their practices and beliefs shape and are shaped by law? Of course, it can be both, but the different emphases can evince different goals among scholars. Mazur highlighted the tension between those who have a “normative notion” of religious freedom and those who do not (at least not so explicitly.) On the normative side are not just lawyers, but also theologians, philosophers, lobbyists, and even clergy members. Others take a more descriptive/analytical approach, seeing the law as an institution with effects on American (religious) life and thus worth studying in historical or sociological ways.

In my view, there are two ways that the field of religion and law should expand. First, I think that “law” has been taken to mean primarily the First Amendment’s religion clauses, and there are many other interactions between religious communities and the law worth studying. Mazur mentions this briefly in the interview. Religion scholars would do well to learn about tax law or tort law or intellectual property. Law is not simply religious freedom. And, furthermore, religious freedom means a lot more than First Amendment law. The discourse of freedom, the various states of freedom and un-freedom under which subjects live, and the processes by which freedom is manufactured and protected are all topics that could be taken up by scholars of religion and law. Second, delimiting our area of focus to the United States can miss the international context for American religious law. On one hand, the limited scope makes sense, since American law does apply, for the most part, to America. However, American religious freedom, understood as a human right, is being naturalized and exported. This has tremendous ramifications for foreign policy, religious nationalism, and diplomacy. Constitutional scholars who focus on religion largely have ignored these important developments.

That being said, I think there is a place for the type of “traditional” constitutional conversations Mazur has advocated and facilitated. As I stated above, it is enjoyable and somewhat rare to have a room (or some non-physical space) full of people who speak the same language, who know what Reynolds and Schempp and Boerne v. Flores and RFRA mean. It can lead to productive and detailed conversations. Historians and other scholars contribute to public understanding, but they also can be involved in shaping the law, through an amicus brief or as an expert witness, for example. Many religion scholars (though of course not all) are wary to do anything that smacks of “advocacy.” However, if we are writing about contemporary laws and their impact on religious communities, or about the logic structuring certain laws and cases, our work can have effects even if we do not intend them. So, why not be intentional about it in the first place? Or at least be willing to engage in conversation, if not outright “political” action? If we are going to engage in this type of public work, we need a common language to speak. Working with academics can be an unpleasant experience, and our analytical goals can distract from the winning cases or lobbying for particular causes. But, if lawyers and scholars are going to talk to each other, it has to be at least somewhat on the lawyers’ terms.

References

Gordon, Sarah Barringer. The Spirit of the Law: Religious Voices and the Constitution in Modern America. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010.

Mazur, Eric Michael. The Americanization of Religious Minorities: Confronting the Constitutional Order. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Su, Anna. Exporting Freedom: Religious Liberty and American Power. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016.

Wenger, Tisa. We Have a Religion: The 1920s Pueblo Indian Dance Controversy and American Religious Freedom. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

 

Religion and American Law

In this interview, Professor Eric Mazur discusses a variety of issues relating to religion and law in the USA, such as the evolving state of First Amendment jurisprudence, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, dominant trends in the study of religion and American law, and controversial legislation such as the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Dr. Mazur also discusses his efforts to help cultivate a space at the American Academy of Religion that is explicitly devoted to the study of religion and American law. This interview provides an introduction and summary of this increasingly important field.

Minority Religions and the Law, and our general introduction to Religion and the Law with Winnifred F. Sullivan. You can download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us . And remember, you can use our Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com, or Amazon.ca links to support us at no additional cost when buying academic texts, potpourri, vintage cars, and more.