- Introduction: Religious Pluralism as the Essential Foundation of America’s Quest for Unity and Order
- The Founding Era (1774–1797) and the Constitutional Provision for Religion
- Eighteenth-Century Religious Liberty: The Founding Generation’s Protestant-Derived Understanding
- Church and State in Nineteenth-Century America
- Religious Advocacy by American Religious Institutions: A History
- Constitutional Language and Judicial Interpretations of the Free Exercise Clause
- The U.S. Supreme Court and Non-First Amendment Religion Cases
- The Meaning of the Separation of Church and State: Competing Views
- Managed Pluralism: The Emerging Church–State Model in the United States?
- Religious Liberty and Religious Minorities in the United States
- Religious Symbols and Religious Expression in the Public Square
- Religious Liberty as a Democratic Institution
- Pursuit of the Moral Good and the Church–State Conundrum in the United States: The Politics of Sexual Orientation
- Monitoring and Surveillance of Religious Groups in the United States
- The U.S. Congress: Protecting and Accommodating Religion
- The Christian Right and Church–State Issues
- American Religious Liberty in International Perspective
- Supply-side Changes in American Religion: Exploring The Implications of Church–State Relations
- Peeking through Jefferson’s Relocated Wall: A Sociological Assessment of U.S. Church–State Relations
- The Role of Civil Religion in American Society
- The Interplay of Law, Religion, and Politics in the United States
- Historical Perspectives
- Constitutional Perspectives
- The States and Religious Freedom
- Theological and Philosophical Perspectives
- Religious Pluralism
- Ethics and Values
- Political Perspectives
- Sociological Perspectives
- Table of Cases
Abstract and Keywords
This article evaluates the ways in which the U.S. Government, at various levels, monitors and engages in the surveillance of religious groups. It discusses the growing pervasiveness of the government into the religious life of American citizens. As religions increase the public space they occupy in the American society, government actors such political leaders and bureaucrats often assume they have the right and responsibility to inquire and know the activities of religious entities, specifically if these religious groups are involved in receiving public funds, or performing functions generally performed by the government. The article begins with the results of a major survey about public support for the surveillance of unpopular religious groups. It also discusses the monitoring and surveillance of religious groups within an international context. The article ends with some comments on the prevalence of surveillance and monitoring by governments in other countries and Western democracies.
James T. Richardson is Professor of Sociology and Judicial Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, where he also directs the Judicial Studies graduate degree programs for trial judges, as well as the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies, a research arm of the university. He has done research on minority religions for many years, focusing particularly on the relationship of law and the judicial system to such entities. He has produced a dozen books and over 250 articles and book chapters, mostly dealing with new or minority religions, but also with use of scientific evidence in court. Dr. Richardson has done research in a number of countries, particularly in Western, Eastern, and Central Europe. His most recent book is Regulating Religion: Case Studies from Around the Globe (Kluwer, 2004).
Thomas Robbins is a semi-retired sociologist of religion (Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, 1974). He is the author of Cults, Converts, and Charisma (1988) and the coauthor of six collections of original papers, including Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem (1997) and Misunderstanding Cults (2001). He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in social science and religious studies journals.
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