As my colleague, Andrew Hamilton notes below, Christopher C. Lund of Wayne State University School of Law will soon publish The New Victims of the Old Anti-Catholicism in the Connecticut Law Review. Having read Prof. Lund’s paper, I would like to complement Andrew’s post by detailing Lund’s claims.
Lund links the attitude underlying 21st-century, religious-freedom jurisprudence with the both popular and legal anti-Catholic prejudice that pervaded the United States in the 19th-century—yet he does so without examining any recent case brought by a Catholic.
Nevertheless, in the four cases Lund examines, the plaintiffs’ status as members of a religious minority—or an a-religious one—and their struggle for legal recognition bridge this apparent divide. In other words, like 19th-century Catholics, all of the cases involve plaintiffs in a religious minority seeking recognition of their beliefs and practices as legal rights under the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses. Thus, Lund connects a present-day American Wiccan, Muslim, Evangelical Protestant, and Atheist to Catholics in America one-hundred-fifty-years ago. More poignantly, in each contemporary case the plaintiff lost—outcomes that erode the idealistic notion that American legal and popular tolerance of minority religions expands with time.
For a description of each of the four cases Lund examines—and their significance—please follow the jump. Read more