- 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 discusses the theoretical and historical foundations of the American approach to moral pluralism among its citizenry, which focused predominantly on religious matters but laid constitutional foundations that elucidate broader issues of diversity on a host of moral issues. It also discusses the questions of privacy and sexuality, and evaluates a string of cases culminating in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) and Lawrence v. Texas (2003). The conflicting outcomes of these two cases demonstrate the uncertainty of the U.S. Court on moral diversity over the past two decades. In both Bowers and Lawrence, the Court faced criminal statutes representing moral views on proper sexual behavior. As Bowers and Lawrence involved forms of sexual behavior that are at the heart of the moral debate in America, a close inspection of these cases illuminates the broader questions of liberty and privacy which have become essential to American politics and culture in the twenty-first century. The article concludes with several reflections on the future trajectories of same-sex marriage and the implications of Lawrence.
Andrew R. Murphy is Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. His interests focus on the intersections between religious and political thought and practice, focusing especially on the Anglo-American tradition, in both historical and contemporary contexts. Dr. Murphy is the author, most recently, of Prodigal Nation: Moral Decline and Divine Punishment from New England to 9-11 (Oxford, 2008); as well as Conscience and Community: Revisiting Toleration and Religious Dissent in Early Modern England and America (Penn State, 2001). He has edited The Political Writings of William Penn (Liberty Fund, 2002); Religion, Politics, and American Identity: New Directions, New Controversies, with David S. Gutterman (Lexington, 2006); and The Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence (forthcoming). He serves as a Book Review Editor for Politics and Religion.
Caitlin S. Kerr graduated with honors from Christ College, the Honors College of Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, in 2008. She is currently a Juris Doctor candidate at Indiana University Maurer School of Law-Bloomington, where she also serves as a teaching assistant in the Graduate Legal Studies office. While at Valparaiso, she served on the Honor Council, led an international student cultural conversation group through the University’s Writing Center, and studied in Tuebingen, Germany. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.