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date: 27 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines some of the different considerations that one should bring to examining religion in contexts of state-legal institutions. It considers the complex political histories and motivations that inform the creation and interpretation of laws governing religion, including the laws protecting religious freedom. It argues that it is helpful to think of the law–religion nexus in terms of four aspects: the links between state law and religious law; the religious history of state laws; the religious presuppositions inherent in state law; and the politics associated with creating and litigating laws concerning religion. It also explores how legal and religious traditions adapt and respond to each other: religious traditions alter themselves to conform to the categories of state law, while judges and legislators periodically alter parameters of what counts as religion.

Keywords: civil religion, law, legal pluralism, liberalism, personal law systems, political theology, religious law, secular law

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