Tolerating the Church: Exploring the US Supreme Court’s Ecclesiology


Wed, October 15, 2014, 5:00 - 7:00pm
Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall, UC Berkeley

Winnifred Sullivan, Professor of Religious Studies and Law, Indiana University

What is the church under modern secular law? Can it ever be constitutional for the US Supreme Court to refer to “the” church? Countless US laws give special legal privileges to churches—and, sometimes, by an imperfect analogy, to other religious groups or organizations. This lecture will explore the religious phenomenology—the political theology—of the US Supreme Court’s theory of corporate religious rights, setting its recent decisions in Hosanna-Tabor v EEOC and Burwell v Hobby Lobby in a longer historical and ecclesiological frame.

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan is Professor and Chair of Religious Studies and Affiliate Professor of Law at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the author, most recently, of The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton, 2005), Prison Religion: Faith-Based Reform and the Constitution (Princeton, 2009), and A Ministry of Presence (Chicago 2014).

On Thursday, October 16, BCSR presents a colloquium with Professor Sullivan, “Proving Religion: What Evidence is Relevant?” To register, please contact info.bcsr@berkeley.edu.

The Berkeley Lecture on Religious Tolerance and colloquium are sponsored by the Endowed Fund for the Study of Religious Tolerance.