Church State CorporationConstruing Religion in US Law

Church State CorporationConstruing Religion in US Law

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9780226454559

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Through readings of the opinions of the US Supreme Court and other legal texts, this book shows how “the church” as a religious collective is granted special privilege in US law. In-depth analyses of Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby reveal that the law tends to honor the religious rights of the group—whether in the form of a church, as in Hosanna-Tabor, or in corporate form, as in Hobby Lobby—over the rights of the individual, offering corporate religious entities an autonomy denied to their respective members. In discussing the various communities that construct the “church-shaped space” in American law, this book also considers disputes over church property, the legal exploitation of the black church in the criminal justice system, and the recent case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Church State Corporation challenges basic beliefs about the ties between religion and law in ostensibly secular democracies.