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Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 13, 2008

Richard S. Myers
Pages 201-212

Rethinking the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment: Reflections on Recent Scholarship

There has been much ferment in the church-state field for some time. Despite the many book-length treatments of the issue, these scholarly efforts dealing with the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment show no sign of abating. This article considers two recent, noteworthy efforts: Noah Feldman's Divided By God: America's Church-State Problem—And What We Should Do About It (2005) and Patrick M. Garry's Wrestling with God: The Courts' Tortuous Treatment of Religion (2006). The article provides an overview of both books and then discusses the lessons that can be learned from considering these very different books. In the end, Garry's book, which offers a more convincing historical survey and recognizes the special value of religion, offers more constructive insights about how we ought to move forward in this contentious area of the law.

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