Is the Constitution Suited to Today's Church/State Issues?
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After years teaching in religion departments, you're back at a law school again. Has anything surprised you there?
When I was in law school in the ‘70s, there was virtually no study of religion in law school. The First Amendment meant free speech, unapologetically. Now that I've come back to teaching in a law school 30 years later, everybody's teaching about religion, and there's a Jewish Law Students Association, a Muslim Law Students Association and a Christian Law Students Association. There has been a proliferation of religion.
What are you working on now? What's next?
I'm not doing any more books on single cases. I'm working on a new book that's going to try to describe the legal regulation of religion below the level of the Constitution, in regulatory cases in the United States. So that includes how religion is being regulated in hospitals and, more generally, how chaplaincies are multiplying in this country: municipal chaplaincies, crisis chaplaincies, hospital chaplaincies, even school and workplace chaplaincies.
The government increasingly sees citizens as pastoral-care clients, as persons in need of spiritual care, and I want to describe the law that makes this possible. It's still very much about how the law manages and regulates this system in which the citizen has become a pastoral-care client.
This is one of the manifestations of the religious now.