The Agnostic Age
Law, Religion, and the Constitution
Oxford University Press, $65, 352 pp.
One major premise of liberalism is that the state will not weigh in on the truth of religious claims. This premise has led to a view of the legal system as a distant and dispassionate arbiter of disputes that involve religion, paying little attention to the content of religious beliefs as they relate to a particular law, focusing instead on the weight of the relevant state interests. The courts do not care, for example, why Native Americans were using peyote as part of a religious ceremony....
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Robert K. Vischer, a frequent contributor, is professor of law at the University of St. Thomas and the author of Conscience and the Common Good: Reclaiming the Space Between Person and State (Cambridge University Press).