Accommodating Religion and Law in the 21st Century

Andrew J. King, University of Maryland School of Law

Document Type Article

Published in University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class, v. 6, 2006, p. 7-19.


Commenting on three contributions to a symposium on how law can accommodate religious views and practices, Professor King notes that the United States is a modern secular nation with a strong religious tradition in which the boundary between law and religion will necessarily be contested. This has been especially true in recent years as public policy debates focus on issues of family and morality. Professors Taylor and Silecchia warn us that although religion is not always a positive force for good, particular religious traditions can offer much to public debate if done carefully. Professor Gildin, on the other hand, cautions us that minority religions may be too optimistic if they rely on courts to protect them from legislative encroachment. In the United States, in addition to its constitutional practice, the protection of religion must rely on a normative tradition of toleration.