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American Culture Studies

God in the Courtroom

American Culture Studies 357A - Spring 2020

The U.S. Constitution holds a promise to secure freedom of religion through its First Amendment. Its two religion clauses declare unconstitutional any prohibition on the free exercise of religion and laws respecting the establishment of religion. The consequence is that whenever a group demands to be recognized as religious and be granted the right to exercise its religion, a court, a legislature, or an administrative official must determine whether the religious practice in question is legally religious. This means that law plays a uniquely important role in defining religion in the United States. In this seminar, we will explore the relation between law and religion in America. We will study the religion clauses in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the histories of their interpretations by American courts in landmark cases, and the ways that religious studies scholars have understood and critiqued these cases.
Course Attributes: EN HBU HumBU EthAS HUMFA HUMAR HUM

Section 01

God in the Courtroom
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