This November, The Catholic University of America Press will publish The American Constitution and Religion by Richard J. Regan. The publisher’s description follows.
The Supreme Court’s decisions concerning the first amendment are hotly debated, and the controversy shows no signs of abating as additional cases come before the court. Adding much-needed historical and philosophical background to the discussion, Richard J. Regan reconsiders some of the most important Supreme Court cases regarding the establishment clause and the free exercise of religion. Governmental aid to church-affiliated elementary schools and colleges; state-sponsored prayer and Bible reading; curriculum that includes creationism; tax exemption of church property; publicly sponsored Christmas displays—these and other notable cases are discussed in Regan’s chapters on the religious establishment clause. On the topic of the free-exercise clause, Regan considers such subjects as the value of religious freedom, as well as the place of religious beliefs in public schooling and government affairs. Important cases concerning conscientious objection to war, regulation of religious organizations and personnel, and western traditions of conscience are also examined. This book, written for students of law, political science, and religion, presents the relevant case law in chronological order. The addition of the historical context and Regan’s philosophical discussion enhances our understanding of these influential cases.