Category Archives: Religion

When The Knights of Malta Saved Christian Europe

September 8 commemorates the 450th anniversary of the end of the Siege of Malta by the Ottoman Turks in 1565. The Turks laid siege to Malta as a key ingredient of their plan to invade and take over Europe for … Continue reading

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The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage: An Analysis of the Three Opinions

Click on the link below for my summary and analysis of the opinions in Hollingsworth, Windsor, and Obergefell: Obergefell Summary and Analysis

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Obergefell and the Free Exercise of Religion: Some Initial Thoughts

In the considerable wake of the Supreme Court’s decision finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges (June 26, 2015), people of faith have suggested  a number of different responses, many of which seem unwise to me. Here … Continue reading

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The Wall of Separation Between Church and State: Whom Does It Protect?

The “wall of separation between Church and State” has become an all-too-familiar metaphor in our constitutional jurisprudence. Originating in a phrase from a private letter Thomas Jefferson sent to the Danbury, Connecticut, Baptists in 1802, the phase has been invoked … Continue reading

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Hilaire Belloc on Islam

Is Islam a Christian heresy? The Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc thought so. In his book, The Great Heresies, Belloc contended that Islam, like other heresies including Arianism, sought to simplify Christian belief by removing the mystery of such doctrines as the … Continue reading

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Supreme Court protects right of Muslim prisoner to grow a short beard

In Holt v. Hobbs, No. 13-6827 (January 20, 2015), the Supreme Court held unanimously that a state prisoner had the statutory right under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) to grow a 1/2 inch beard in accordance with … Continue reading

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The Slave South: 10 Key Points

I have just completed an excellent online course on the History of the Slave South offered by University of Pennsylvania History Professor Stephanie McCurry. This course was available on Coursera to Penn alumni as an abridged version of the course … Continue reading

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The Catholic Church in New Mexico: Father Martinez Confronts Bishop Lamy

A few years after the United States acquired part of what is now the state of New Mexico, the Vatican established the Vicariate Apostolic of New Mexico in 1850, carving it out from the former Mexican Diocese of Durango. Jean … Continue reading

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Hobby Lobby: A Critical But Limited Ruling For Corporate Religious Exercise Claims

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., No. 13-354 (June 30, 2014), the Supreme Court ruled, by a 5 to 4 margin, that three closely-held corporations did not have to comply with a mandate promulgated by the Department of Health and Human … Continue reading

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The Supreme Court and the Establishment Clause: Town of Greece v. Galloway

Perhaps the most confused area of constitutional law is the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause precedent, which is riddled with inconsistent and poorly-reasoned decisions. Even members of the court recognize this. The late Justice Rehnquist observed in his dissenting opinion in … Continue reading

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