The Cambridge Companion to the First Amendment and Religious Liberty (Cambridge University Press, 2020)


This book is an interdisciplinary guide to the religion clauses of the First Amendment with a focus on its philosophical foundations, historical developments, and legal and political implications. The volume begins with fundamental questions about God, the nature of belief and worship, conscience, freedom, and their intersections with law. It then traces the history of religious liberty and church-state relations in America through a diverse set of religious and non-religious voices from the seventeenth century to the most recent Supreme Court decisions. The companion will conclude by addressing legal and political questions concerning the First Amendment and the court cases and controversies surrounding religious liberty today, including the separation of church and state, corporate religious liberty, and constitutional interpretation. This scholarly yet accessible book will introduce students and scholars alike to the main issues concerning the First Amendment and religious liberty, along with offering incisive new insights into one of the most important topics in American culture.

Order now. Also available at Cambridge online.

“This is an impressive collection of new work by some of the most distinguished scholars in the field.” — Andrew Koppelman, John Paul Stevens Professor of Law, Northwestern University

Introduction: Assessing the First Amendment and Religious Liberty in America

Michael D. Breidenbach and Owen Anderson

Part I Philosophical Foundations

1 The First Amendment and Natural Religion

Owen Anderson

2 The Philosophical Meaning of Religious Exercise

Janice Tzuling Chik

3 Freedom of Religion: Special, Valuable, and Qualified

John Finnis

Part II Historical Interpretations

4 Religious Exercise and Establishment in Early America

Glenn A. Moots

5 The Historical Context of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment

Chris Beneke

6 Religious Tests, Loyalty Oaths, and the Ecclesiastical Context to the First Amendment

Michael D. Breidenbach

7 Church and State in the Nineteenth Century

Jonathan Den Hartog

8 The First Amendment Religion Clauses in the United States Supreme Court

Zoë Robinson

Part III Law, Politics, and Economics

Religious and Secular Presuppositions in First Amendment Interpretations

Paul E. Kerry

10 Two Concepts of Religious Liberty: The Natural Rights and Moral Autonomy Approaches to the Free Exercise of Religion

Vincent Phillip Muñoz

11 The Economic Origins of Religious Liberty

Anthony Gill

12 Corporate Religious Liberty and the Culture Wars

Steven D. Smith

13 Which Original Meaning of the Establishment Clause Is the Right One?

Donald L. Drakeman

14 The Two Separations

Marc O. DeGirolami

15 The Challenge Ahead: Reconnecting Religion, Reason, and Truth

Gerard V. Bradley

Cited in:

  • William N. Eskridge, Jr. and Robin Fretwell Wilson, eds., Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights, and the Prospects for Common Ground (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019)

  • John F. Wilson and Donald L. Drakeman, eds., Church and State in American History: Key Documents, Decisions, and Commentary From the Past Three Centuries, 4th Edition (Abingdon: Routledge, forthcoming 2019)

  • Shannon Holzer, ed., Routledge Handbook of Church and State (Abingdon: Routledge, forthcoming)

© Michael D. Breidenbach 2017-2019