Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Faith and Freedom

Faith and Freedom

Religious Liberty in America

Hill and Wang Critical Issues

Marvin E. Frankel

Hill and Wang


Trade Paperback

The Hill and Wang Critical Issues Series: concise, affordable works on pivotal topics in American history, society, and politics.

Faith and Freedom offers an illuminating analysis of disputes over the religion clauses in the First Amendment. Frankel examines the most dramatic of the court cases concerned with these issues in the last half century--the claimed rights of Native Americans to use peyote in religious ceremonies, the demand of Amish parents to exempt their children from laws requiring school attendance, and many more. Arguing in the tradition of Roger Williams, Frankel suggests we must accept only the bare minimum of breaches between the religious domain and the state.


Praise for Faith and Freedom

“This engagingly written book is a pleasure to read because of its wisdom, sparkle, and judiciousness. Frankel is a champion of the First Amendment's religion clauses, but his intellectual independence makes his judgments unpredictable. . . . Strongly recommended.” —Leonard W. Levy, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of History Emeritus, Claremont Graduate School

“This book is a coherent and consistent explanation of the Supreme Court's rulings on church and state over the last fifty years. Faith and Freedom is clear, compelling, and persuasive.” —Robert F. Drinnan, S.J., Georgetown University Law Center

“Passionate and persuasive . . . a paean to the First Amendment and the simple words of the religion clauses. [This] lucid book is at once a brief in favor of a high, sturdy wall of separation between church and state and a report card on the Constitution's success in mediating the inevitable tensions arising among believers and nonbelievers of different stripes.” —Jill Laurie Goodman, New York Law Journal

“A crisp and spirited argument for the near-total separation of church and state, by a former New York federal judge. . . . Its considerable charm is due in no small part to its brevity. It is a 'thumbnail history' of the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses of the First Amendment, plus a 'sketch' of recent church/state cases decided by the Supreme Court. The author has a sharp viewpoint and a precise and often witty pen. He begins by debunking the myth that American democracy was founded on the colonists' Christianity, noting surprisingly that they were `relative[ly] indifferen[t] toward religion.' According to Frankel, America was conceived as a secular nation, and for the most part, the modern Supreme Court has fortified the wall between church and state, forbidding nonsectarian silent prayers in public schools, striking down Florida ordinances outlawing Santeria's animal sacrifices, and refusing to permit a group of Satmar Hasidic Jews to carve out a school district within their religious community in order to receive public funds for special education. But Frankel also criticizes the Court for permitting the city of Pawtucket, R.I., to display a creche on public property, and the city of Pittsburgh a menorah; he prefers a simple, absolute rule forbidding even the most benign endorsement of religion by government. He blasts the Court's implication that it might endorse intentionally vague 'moment of silence' laws in public schools, and he deplores the Court's upholding of the conviction of Rev. Sun Myung Moon for filing false tax returns (whether a bank account belonged to him or to his tax-exempt church was a close question that, like all close questions, 'should be decided for freedom'). Ultimately, this is a case for tolerance for all religions, even those unrepresented by majoritarian government--and for irreligion, too. A rare work that successfully distills a whole philosophical debate into a few accessible pages.” —Kirkus Reviews

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About the author

Marvin E. Frankel

Marvin E. Frankel, now in private practice, served as Assistant Solicitor General, professor of Law at Columbia University, and U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of New York. He is the author of four books, including the influential Criminal Sentences.

Marvin E. Frankel

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Hill and Wang

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