- 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 role played by Congress in protecting the free exercise of religion and in demarcating the boundaries between church and state. The U.S. Congress has always been a defender of religious freedom while simultaneously taking a more accommodating stance toward the constitutional prohibition against state establishment. This blend mirrors the effort of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to assuage the expansive practice of religion in the nation. On both fronts, however, the limits to which Congress is willing to stretch are disclosed. For instance, it denied the free exercise claims of the Mormons in the nineteenth century, prohibited polygamy, rebuffed attempts to sanction overt sectarian favoritism by the government, and resisted efforts to proclaim America as a Christian nation.
Allen D. Hertzke is Presidential Professor of Political Science and Director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma. He is author of Representing God in Washington, an award-winning analysis of religious lobbies, which has been issued in a Chinese language translation; Echoes of Discontent, an account of church-rooted populist movements; and coauthor of Religion and Politics in America, a comprehensive text now in its third edition. His latest book is entitled Freeing God’s Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights. A winner of numerous teaching awards, Dr. Hertzke has lectured at the National Press Club, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, and before numerous audiences in China. He has consulted with both the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation on global religious freedom.
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