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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Religion-State Relations in the United States and Germany: The Quest for Neutrality

ISBN13: 9781107015821
Published: December 2011
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £69.99

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This comparative analysis of the constitutional law of religion-state relations in the United States and Germany focuses on the principle of state neutrality. A strong emphasis on state neutrality, a notoriously ambiguous concept, is a shared feature in the constitutional jurisprudence of the US Supreme Court and the German Federal Constitutional Court, but neutrality does not have the same meaning in both systems. In Germany neutrality tends to indicate more distance between church and state, whereas the opposite is the case in the United States. Neutrality also has other meanings in both systems, making straightforward comparison more difficult than it might seem. Although the underlying trajectory of neutrality is different in both countries, the discussion of neutrality breaks down into largely parallel themes. By examining those themes in a comparative perspective, the meaning of state neutrality in religion-state relations can be delineated.

Comparative Law
Part I. The Comparative Approach
1. The past and present of comparative constitutional studies
2. The culture wars, American exceptionalism, and a comparative analysis of religion-state relations
3. Employing a comparative approach
Part II. Religion-State Relations and the Role of Neutrality
4. Toward neutrality
5. The role of history
6. The roots of neutrality
7. Delineating neutrality
8. Conclusion: the future of neutrality in comparative perspective.