Professor Paulsen argues that religious freedom only makes entire sense as a constitutional arrangement on the premise that God exists, that God makes actual demands on human loyalty and conduct, and that those demands precede and are superior in obligation to those of the State. Religious freedom exists to protect the exercise of plausibly true understandings of God’s actual commands, as against state power, and to disable state power to proscribe — or prescribe — religious exercise. The article explores four possible stances of society toward religious freedom, depending on whether society and state embrace the idea of religious truth (or not) and whether society and state embrace the idea of religious tolerance (or not). It then argues that America’s Constitution’s religion clauses, in their original conception, are predicated in a belief in the possibility of religious truth and the imperative of religious tolerance so that the state does not interfere with private individuals’ and groups’ pursuit of truth. This perspective illuminates many of the issues that have plagued interpretation of the First Amendment religion clauses.
Seeking an Islamic Reflective Equilibrium: A Response to Abdullahi A. An-Na’im’s Complementary, Not Competing, Claims of Law and Religion: An Islamic Perspective
Professor ‘Abdallahi Na’im argues that there can be no conflict between religion and the state because religion...Read more
Government Tan Lines: Examining the Reach and Effectiveness of Federal and State Efforts to Protect Consumers from the Dangers of Indoor Tanning
Gone are the days when fair skin was considered a sign of beauty and wealth.’ Instead, these...Read more
Just after eleven o’clock in the morning on October 29, 2012—a rainy Monday in D.C.—the Supreme Court heard...Read more
A number of fortuitous circumstances made William Blackstone the principal teacher of law to American lawyers of...Read more