Popular debate and much of contemporary legal practice surrounding the relationship between law and religion appears to be stuck. This is not to say that there isn’t creative legal theorizing taking place—–indeed there is—–but the framework by which most American citizens understand the association of law and religion and the structures by which legal advocacy and public policy in the United States operate are largely frozen within a zero-sum logic of gains achieved and losses suffered by competing actors in the social and political sphere.
If we understand religion rather conventionally as a distinctive body of beliefs, a moral and ritual set of practices, and the organizational structures surrounding ideas and ideals of the sacred, what should be the relationship of religion to the state? What are the boundaries of acceptable involvement in government activities and public affairs? What kind of freedoms should be guaranteed? What kind of influence should it have? In voicing its claims or grievances, what kind of voice should religious groups have, and do they have an obligation to change the way they speak as they make their claims in public?