The First Amendment is stirring second thoughts among scholars wary of the social and legal consequences of religious liberty. Herself a witness for the plaintiffs, Sullivan recounts the tangled courtroom drama in a Boca Raton case in which a group of Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish families unsuccessfully sought a religious exemption to city ordinances prohibiting any vertical cemetery memorials (including upright crosses, statues, candles, and Stars of David). What emerges from Sullivan's carefully documented analysis of the case is the irreducible diversity of American religions-and the profound difficulty of accommodating such a wide range of beliefs, especially when individual convictions and practices diverge from official orthodoxies. Consequently, in reluctantly ruling against the Boca Raton plaintiffs, the judge voices perplexities now all too typical of American jurists trying to balance the rights of individual conscience against the demands of public order and democratic governance. Bryce ChristensenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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"A smart-and in the present circumstances, sobering-little book."--Christopher Caldwell, Financial Times
"Sullivan's book has the great virtue of placing abstract legal dilemmas in the concrete realities of everyday life."--R. Laurence Moore, American Scholar
"Scholars or lay-people intrigued by the status of religion in contemporary developed nations will find Sullivan's study very useful."--John M. McTaggart, International Review of Modern Sociology
"Drawing on her expertise in law and religion, Sullivan argues that religious freedom in America is impossible. . . . [She] succeed[s] in arguing that religious freedoms are not as free as one might think."--Library Journal
"Sullivan's examination of the judicial process is only one important aspect her book. The most important contribution is her discussion of the problems of how law defines religion and through its definition impedes religious liberty."--Bryan K. Fair, Journal of Law and Religion