The Law and Politics courses offer an overview of how Constitutional law, politics, and religion interact in unique ways in the United States.
It is plain that controversies surrounding religion and its place in modern society still loom large in the minds of many people. This is a problem that confronts American society, the main focus of this course, because of its unique legal relationship with religion. Just what role should religion play, if any, in the public sphere, or is it an activity that this nation’s laws and customs have properly relegated to the private sphere?
These courses are designed not only to give participants an introduction into the area of religious legal issues, but it will also help them develop the tools needed to approach the Constitution in the same way as judges when they craft their ruling in religious disputes. To that end, students will become intimately acquainted with the historical meaning of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses and other provisions of the Constitution that from time to time touch upon the concerns of religious freedom. Finally, this seminar will provide a justification for supporting the principle of church/state separation and a narrower interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause.
There are currently two courses in this series: