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Notre Dame Law School

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Assimilation, Toleration, And The State's Interest In The Development Of Religious Doctrine, Richard Garnett Jan 2004

Assimilation, Toleration, And The State's Interest In The Development Of Religious Doctrine, Richard Garnett

Journal Articles

Thirty-five years ago, in the context of a church-property dispute, Justice William Brennan observed that government interpretation of religious doctrine and judicial intervention in religious disputes are undesirable, because when civil courts undertake to resolve [doctrinal] controversies..., the hazards are ever present of inhibiting the free development of religious doctrine and of implicating secular interests in matters of purely ecclesiastical concern. This statement, at first, seems wise and fittingly cautious, even unremarkable and obvious. On examination, though, it turns out to be intriguing, elusive, and misleading. Indeed, Justice Brennan's warning presents hazards of its own, and its premises - if ...