Americanization of Religious Minorities: Confronting the Constitutional Order

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What happens when a minority religious group's beliefs run counter to the laws and principles of the American constitution? How do Americans reconcile the conflicting demands of church and state? In The Americanization of Religious Minorities, Eric Michael Mazur recounts the experiences of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Native Americans as cases in which minority religious groups seek to practice their faith in a constitutional order that recognizes a higher authority different from, and sometimes incompatible...
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Overview

What happens when a minority religious group's beliefs run counter to the laws and principles of the American constitution? How do Americans reconcile the conflicting demands of church and state? In The Americanization of Religious Minorities, Eric Michael Mazur recounts the experiences of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Native Americans as cases in which minority religious groups seek to practice their faith in a constitutional order that recognizes a higher authority different from, and sometimes incompatible with, their own.. "The Americanization of Religious Minorities will be of interest to students and scholars of American religion, American politics, and sociology.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Arguing that "it is a grave error . . . to assume that the areas of law and religion are naturally distinct and mutually exclusive," Mazur (religion, Bucknell U.) explores the ways in which religious groups such as Native Americans, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses have coped with situations in which their beliefs conflicted with the American constitutional order. He finds that accommodation, sustained conflict, or the establishment of a separate peace are the three basic strategies groups can follow. He also argues that the closer a religious order is to Protestant Christianity, the easier the accommodation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Brian Edward Brown
For anyone interested in the history of religious freedom in the United States this text warrants significant consideration.
CrossCurrents
Journal of Church and State - Susan M. Willis
A cogent exploration of the 'free exercise' clause of the First Amendment and how it has been construed in constitutional conflicts with three minority religions: the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Latter-Day Saints, and Native Americans.
Law and Politics Book Review
Raises several interesting questions involving the relationship of religious minorities to the constitutional order.
Journal of Religion and Society - Thomas S. Bremer
The role of religious minorities in defining not only the boundaries of acceptable religiosity but also the textures of mainstream civic identity still resonates in current debates, as demonstrated in his opening example of sacrificial practices observed by followers of Santería. At stake in these debates, Mazur reminds us, is more than the free practice of religion; indeed, the pluralistic ideal in American civic life itself emerges in the struggles of excluded communities to join the mainstream while maintaining their own distinctive qualities, practices, and ways of life.
Sociology of Religion - Sherry Wright
An important book for scholars examining the relationship between religion and politics in the United States, as well as for teachers and students of the history of American religious diversity.
Perspectives on Political Science - Mark E. Rush
A thoughtful, enjoyable narrative of religious confrontation with the constitutional system.
Religious Studies Review - Jeffery Marlett
Mazur amasses familiar examples to create a strong and accessible argument concerning the constitutional authority all American religious communities must face.
BYU Studies
Mazur raises difficult questions about the ostensible religious neutrality of America's constitutional order.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801862205
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/22/1999
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Michael Mazur is an assistant professor of religion at Bucknell University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

1 American religions and the authority of law 1
2 Constitutional congruence : Jehovah's witnesses and the constitutional order 28
3 Constitutional conversion : Latter-day Saints and the constitutional order 62
4 Constitutional conflict : Native American religious traditions and the constitutional order 94
5 Constitutional questions : the future of religious minorities in the American constitutional order 122
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