The Freedom of the Church: A Foundational Liberty


This conference explored the Doctrine of Church Autonomy through a consideration of the intellectual foundations of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment, as well as a series of court cases from the early days of the Republic up to recent decisions. The major issue addressed throughout was the criteria for church independence for self regulation and for exemption from application of public policy within its own domain.


Conference Readings

People v. Daniel Phillips and Wife, 1 (1843-1844) Western L. R. 109-114  (Court of General Sessions for the City of New York 1813).

Watson v. Jones, 80 US 679 (13 Wall) (SCUS 1871).

Kedroff v. St. Nicholas Cathedral, 344 US 94 73 S.Ct. 143 (SCUS 1952).

Bryce v. Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Colorado, 289  F.3d (Tenth Cir. 2002).

Guinn v. Church of Christ of Collinsville, 775 P.2d (SC Oklahoma 1989).

Schmidt v. Bishop, 779 F.Supp. (S.D. N.Y. 1991).

Gibson v. Brewer, 952 S.W.2d (SC Mo. 1997).

Malicki v. Doe, 814 So.2d (SC Fla. 2002).

Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. (SCUS 1878).

Barrett, Paul M. "Captive Audience: How a Chaplain Spread Extremism to an Inmate Flock--Radical New York Imam Chose Clerics for State Prisons," The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2003, page A1.

Catholic Charities of Sacramento v. California, 85 P.3d (SC Cal. 2004).

Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. (SCUS 1979).

Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. (SCUS 1990).

Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. (SCUS 1993).

Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao Do Vegetal, 546 U.S. (SCUS 2006).

Backus, Isaac, “An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty” In Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, Volume 1, edited by Ellis Sandoz, 330-368. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1991.

Esbeck, Carl H. “The Establishment Clause as a Structural Restraint on Governmental Power.” Iowa Law Review 84, no. 1 (October 1998): 1-113.

Garnett, Richard. “The Freedom of the Church.” (May 23, 2012).

Hart, Edward. “Remonstrance of the Inhabitants of the Town of Flushing, December 27, 1657.” (May 23, 2012).

McConnell, Michael W. “The Origins and Historical Understanding of Free Exercise of Religion.” Harvard Law Review (May 1990): 1409-1517.

Murray, John Courtney. We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1988.

Noonan, John Thomas. The Lustre of Our Country: The American Experience of Religious Freedom. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Nussbaum, L. Martin. “Scandal and the Constitution.” First Things 13 (October 2003): 1-10.

Pope Paul VI. “Declaration on Religious Freedom.” (May 23, 2012).