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October 24, 2013
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v2.1 Reference

The American Constitution and Religion

The Supreme Court's decisions concerning the first amendment are hotly debated, and the controversy shows no signs of abating as additional cases come before the court. Adding much-needed historical and philosophical background to the discussion, Richard J. Regan reconsiders some of the most important Supreme Court cases regarding the establishment clause and the free exercise of religion.

Governmental aid to church-affiliated elementary schools and colleges; state-sponsored prayer and Bible reading; curriculum that includes creationism; tax exemption of church property; publicly sponsored Christmas displays- these and other notable cases are discussed in Regan's chapters on the religious establishment clause. On the topic of the free-exercise clause, Regan considers such subjects as the value of religious freedom, as well as the place of religious beliefs in public schooling and government affairs. Important cases concerning conscientious objection to war, regulation of religious organizations and personnel, and western traditions of conscience are also examined.

This book, written for students of law, political science, and religion, presents the relevant case law in chronological order. The addition of the historical context and Regan's philosophical discussion enhances our understanding of these influential cases.

About the Author

RICHARD J. REGAN, a Jesuit priest, attended Harvard Law School and received his doctorate in political science from the University of Chicago. He is emeritus professor of political science at Fordham University.


"The American Constitution and Religion provides a rather complete tour of the U.S. Supreme Court's First Amendment jurisprudence In some places, Regan's approach is more summative than analytical, but then it is tough to analyze inconsistency. The book ends with a fine chapter on Western traditions of conscience which, strictly speaking, is off the book's central topic, but I was happy to have Regan's erudite and engaging thoughts on this matter. Like the rest of his book, it was a highly informative and enjoyable exercise."—Nicholas P. Cafardi, America Magazine

"Richard Regan writes a solid, accessible assessment of the constitutional history of religious freedom in the United States. This book would be a great addition to any Rights and Liberties or Religion and Law class being offered at the undergraduate level... By bringing 'forgotten' framers back into the argument, the author gives a complete and solid picture of their intent in writing the religious freedom clauses of the First Amendment... well-written, fresh view of the legal arguments around the religious freedom clauses..."—Mary L. Carver - Longwood University, Journal of Church and State

" an invaluable reference work that should be on the shelf of every historian of American religion this book could not be more timely."—Suzanne Geissler, William Paterson University, Anglican and Episcopal History

"Regan covers a whole lot of legal, philosophical, and social science perspectives showing why a collective legal indifference to the cultural and social well-being of religion is both counter to the Constitution and to widsom. It's worth reading."—James R. Kelly, Fordham Univ, Catholic Books Review

""We live at a time when the meaning of these provisions needs the most careful handling and there is little doubt that Richard Regan's stature in these matters of theological as well as political history situates him among the most reliable on these topics."—Douglas Kmiec, Ambassador of the United States (ret.), Caruso Family Chair in Law and Religion, Pepperdine University"—
The Catholic University of America Press

9780813221526 : the-american-constitution-and-religion-regan
Paperback / softback
304 Pages
$24.95 USD

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