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Home Page for Prof. Jamar's

Church and State Seminar

Welcome. This website provides information about the Church and State Seminar as taught by Prof. Jamar. Others have taught it or may teach it quite differently.

In this seminar students will explore a few of the problems arising from the interactions of law and religion. A portion of the course will examine in some depth the United States Constitutional law concerning free exercise and establishment. International and comparative approaches will be used to help inform our understanding of these two areas. Issues of the role of religion and religious discourse in civic action (including legislation, judicial determinations, and executive action (e.g., funding social services through faith-based organizations)) will be addressed. Particular issues to be addressed will vary from year to year depending upon current events, student interest, and the professor’s assessment of significant concerns. Issues can include religion in employment settings, evolution/creationism in schools, sex education, abortion, rights relating to sexual orientation, ownership of church property when a congregation breaks away from a heiararchical church, power and propriety of the courts to decide issues relating to religious organizations, limits and demands of tolerance and free speech in public school contexts, and more.

The course is a seminar with students doing and presenting research papers on topics they select in consultation with and subject to the approval of the professor. Grades will be based upon (1) class participation, (2) conducting class on your paper topic, and (3) the final paper.

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Required Book and Materials

Leslie C. Griffin, Law and Religion: Cases and Materials (3d ed. Foundation 2013, and Supp. 20140)

Materials prepared by the Professor (downloads and handouts from time to time)

Materials assigned by students for their class presentations

Assignments for first week

For the first class come prepared to discuss some recent news concerning law and religion. Issues pop up regularly in the news regarding religion in schools, religion in the military, application of secular laws to religious organizations, accommodation of religious needs in various settings, and so on.

Griffin, "What Is Religion"

Griffin, Introduction to free exercise



last updated 11 Feb. 2014