Comparative Constitutional Law: Religious Pluralism
The role of religion in civil society is increasingly vexing world-wide. Particularly difficult is the question of accommodation of religion in social orders that aspire to be governed by the rule by law. An obvious example that frequently arises is the conflict between rights of women and traditional religious societies. Often there is great tension between protection of individual rights and protection of religious (and often ethnic) minorities - necessary in pluralistic nations. In this course, we will start by examining the various interpretations of the religion clauses in the United States Constitution and then turn to a study of various constitutional patterns in other countries to get a handle on the range of alternative solutions that exist to address a problem common to virtually all governments. Students will be required to write a paper that compares the strategies chosen by a region or country of the student's choice with either another system or that of the United States.
We will meet regularly, at the scheduled time for approximately the first third of the semester. In the middle third of the semester, I will meet individually with each student regularly for paper conferences. In the last third of the semester, we will resume meeting as a group to allow students to present their work to the other students. Feedback from other students will be received during these meetings. I look forward to free-wheeling discussions and especially to learning from the students' studies of various cultures.