Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A Symposium on Sullivan's "Church State Corporation"

The symposium Secularism, religion, and the public sphere has recently concluded over at The Immanent Frame, the blog of the Social Science Research Council.  It is devoted to Church State Corporation: Construing Religion in US Law (University of Chicago Press, 2020), by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Indian University-Bloomington.

First, here is the publisher’s copy and TOC for Professor Sullivan’s book:

Church and state: a simple phrase that reflects one of the most famous and fraught relationships in the history of the United States. But what exactly is “the church,” and how is it understood in US law today? In Church State Corporation, religion and law scholar Winnifred Fallers Sullivan uncovers the deeply ambiguous and often unacknowledged ways in which Christian theology remains alive and at work in the American legal imagination.

Through readings of the opinions of the US Supreme Court and other legal texts, Sullivan shows how “the church” as a religious collective is granted special privilege in US law. In-depth analyses of Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby reveal that the law tends to honor the religious rights of the group—whether in the form of a church, as in Hosanna-Tabor, or in corporate form, as in Hobby Lobby—over the rights of the individual, offering corporate religious entities an autonomy denied to their respective members. In discussing the various communities that construct the “church-shaped space” in American law, Sullivan also delves into disputes over church property, the legal exploitation of the black church in the criminal justice system, and the recent case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Brimming with insight, Church State Corporation provocatively challenges our most basic beliefs about the ties between religion and law in ostensibly secular democracies.

Here’s the TOC:

Introduction. The Definite Article
Chapter 1. The Church Makes an Appearance: Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC
Chapter 2. “The Mother of Religion”: The Church Property Cases
Chapter 3. Hobby Lobby: The Church, the State, and the Corporation
Chapter 4. The Body of Christ in Blackface
Conclusion. The Church-in-law Otherwise
And here is the SSRC symposium:

Introduction:  Mona Oraby (Amherst)

Leora Batnitzky (Princeton):  An American Political Theology
Samuel Moyn (Yale): Jurisdictions of the Church

Nandini Chatterjee (Univ. of Exeter):  Imagining Community
Linda Greenhouse (Yale and the New York Times):  Why Not Just Abolish the Religion Clauses?
Julian Rivers (Univ. of Bristol Law): "... by law established": A transatlantic dialogue

--Dan Ernst.  H/t: FK