“Religion, Law, USA” by Isaac Weiner— A Complex Relationship

Weiner, Isaac. “Religion, Law, USA”, (North American Religions), edited by Joshua Dubler, NYU Press, 2019.

A Complex Relationship

Amos Lassen

In “Religion, Law, USA”, writer Isaac Weiner presents insight into the complex relationship between religion and law in contemporary America. Of late, there have been several high-profile court cases involving religion thus forcing Americans to grapple with questions regarding the relationship between religion and law. Here we see the contemporary interplay of religion and law within the study of American religions.
We look at what rights are protected by the Constitution’s free exercise clause, What are the boundaries of religion, and what is the constitutional basis for protecting some religious beliefs but not others? What characterizes a religious-studies approach to religion and law today? By approaching law from the vantage point of religious studies, we see how much attention to the law offers back to scholars of religion. Each chapter considers a specific keyword in the study of religion and law, such as “conscience,” “establishment,” “secularity,” and “personhood.” Contributors look at specific case studies related to each term, and then expand their analyses to discuss broader implications for the practice and study of American religion. We hear from leading voices in the field making this book an indispensable addition to the scholarship on religion and law in America.



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