- 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
The United States has always been one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world. To date, it has various religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Native American religions, and many others, compared to the Episcopalian, Puritan, and Protestant religions that proliferated during its founding. While America is presumed to be dominated by Protestants, its religious liberty has allowed religious pluralism, whereby every denomination is a minority in the religiously diverse scenario of the country. This article highlights the role played by the religious minorities in the establishment of religious freedom and liberty in the United States. It examines the role of religious traditions individually in contrast to a more traditional historical narrative. The focus is on the role of religious groups in creating religious law as shaped by the U.S. Supreme Court cases. By tracking the contributions of various religious groups individually, a different angle is provided on the role that minority religions have played in establishing religious freedom in the U.S., and the importance of the minority religious players in creating the U.S. system.
Elizabeth A. Sewell is Associate Director of the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Provo, Utah, where she has been involved in recent years in sponsoring numerous church–state conferences, especially in Eastern Europe and Russia. She speaks English, Russian, Czech, and French. She graduated summa cum laude in 1997 from the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the BYU Law Review. She is the associate editor of Law and Religion in Post-Communist Europe (Peeters, 2003), which has been translated and republished in Slovak, Greek, and Italian, and Facilitating Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Deskbook (Martinus Nijhoff, 2004), and the author of other publications on law and religion in various law journals and other periodicals.
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