Secular Government, Religious People

Ira C. Lupu and Robert W. Tuttle. William B. Eerdmans, $25 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7079-7
Two George Washington University law professors present a theory of the First Amendment’s free-exercise and non-establishment clauses that rests on viewing religion as a distinctive element of the constitution. Lupu and Tuttle argue that the framers of the U.S. Constitution advocated a secular government with limited power over religious beliefs and practices out of the desire to limit interreligious conflict. The authors explore the culture-war arguments that pit religious minorities and secular Americans against a vocal part of a Christian majority that wants and expects government to mirror its religious views. Their arguments are particularly relevant in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Greece v. Galloway, which is cited in the book, though the justices’ ruling was handed down after the galleys were completed. Legal scholars and church-state separation experts will appreciate this book, but its careful academic exploration of various court rulings may be too complex for general readers. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 08/01/2014
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