Atheist Exceptionalism : Atheism, Religion, and the United States Supreme Court book cover
1st Edition

Atheist Exceptionalism
Atheism, Religion, and the United States Supreme Court

ISBN 9780367590598
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
232 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $48.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Due to its Constitution, and particularly to that Constitution’s First Amendment, the relationship between religion and politics in the United States is rather unusual. This is especially the case concerning the manner with which religious terminology is defined via the discourse adopted by the United States Supreme Court, and the larger American judicial system. Focusing on the religious term of Atheism, this book presents both the discourse itself, in the form of case decisions, as well as an analysis of that discourse. The work thus provides an essential introduction and discussion of both Atheism as a concept and the influence that judicial decisions have on the way we perceive the meaning of religious terminology in a national context.

As a singular source on the Supreme, Circuit, and District Court cases concerning Atheism and its judicial definition, the book offers convenient access to this discourse for researchers and students. The discursive analysis further provides an original theoretical insight into how the term ‘Atheism’ has been judicially defined. As such, it will be a valuable resource for scholars of religion and law, as well as those interested in the definition and study of Atheism.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Exceptionalism of American Atheism;  Part I: Methodology and Histories;  1: Discourse Analysis and the Definition of Atheism;  2: The Story of America;  3: The United States Supreme Court and American Religion;  Part II: Discourse;  4: McCollum v. Board of Education (1948);  5: Torcaso v. Watkins (1961);  6: Abington v. Schempp/Murray v. Curlett (1963);  7: Welsh v. United States (1970);  8: Elk Grove v. Newdow (2004);  9: Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation (2007);  10: Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014);  Part Three: Conclusions and Consequences;  Conclusion: Atheism, an American Religion;

View More



Ethan G. Quillen is an Independent Scholar whose research interests are in the areas of Religion, with a particular focus on Atheism and Secularism, Ethnography and Literature, and Discourse Analysis. He has published on these and related areas.