The Impossibility of Religious Freedom

The Impossibility of Religious Freedom

by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691118019

ISBN-13: 9780691118017

Pub. Date: 05/09/2005

Publisher: Princeton University Press

The Constitution may guarantee it. But religious freedom in America is, in fact, impossible. So argues this timely and iconoclastic work by law and religion scholar Winnifred Sullivan. Sullivan uses as the backdrop for the book the trial of Warner vs. Boca Raton, a recent case concerning the laws that protect the free exercise of religion in America. The trial, for

Overview

The Constitution may guarantee it. But religious freedom in America is, in fact, impossible. So argues this timely and iconoclastic work by law and religion scholar Winnifred Sullivan. Sullivan uses as the backdrop for the book the trial of Warner vs. Boca Raton, a recent case concerning the laws that protect the free exercise of religion in America. The trial, for which the author served as an expert witness, concerned regulations banning certain memorials from a multiconfessional nondenominational cemetery in Boca Raton, Florida. The book portrays the unsuccessful struggle of Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish families in Boca Raton to preserve the practice of placing such religious artifacts as crosses and stars of David on the graves of the city-owned burial ground.

Sullivan demonstrates how, during the course of the proceeding, citizens from all walks of life and religious backgrounds were harassed to define just what their religion is. She argues that their plight points up a shocking truth: religion cannot be coherently defined for the purposes of American law, because everyone has different definitions of what religion is. Indeed, while religious freedom as a political idea was arguably once a force for tolerance, it has now become a force for intolerance, she maintains.

A clear-eyed look at the laws created to protect religious freedom, this vigorously argued book offers a new take on a right deemed by many to be necessary for a free democratic society. It will have broad appeal not only for religion scholars, but also for anyone interested in law and the Constitution.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691118017
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
05/09/2005
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Note on Sources xi
List of Illustrations xiii
Introduction 1
Chapter One: Outlaw Religion 13
Chapter Two: The Trial: The Plaintiffs 32
Chapter Three: The Trial: The Other Witnesses 54
Chapter Four: Legal Religion 89
Chapter Five: Free Religion 138
Appendices
Appendix A: Relevant Law: Excerpts from U.S. and Florida Constitutions, RFRA, FRFRA, and Rules and Regulations of Boca Raton Cemetery 161
Appendix B: Expert Reports of Broyde, Katz, McGuckin, Pals, and Sullivan 179
Appendix C: Ryskamp Opinion 219
Notes 245
Bibliography 269
Index 281

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