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
Chapter One: Discourse Analysis and the Definition of Atheism
Chapter Two: The Story of America
Chapter Three: The United States Supreme Court and American Religion
Part II: Discourse
Chapter Four: McCollum v. Board of Education (1948)
Chapter Five: Torcaso v. Watkins (1961)
Chapter Six: Abington v. Schempp/Murray v. Curlett (1963)
Chapter Seven: Welsh v. United States (1970)
Chapter Eight: Elk Grove v. Newdow (2004)
Chapter Nine: Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation (2007)
Chapter Ten: Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014)
Part Three: Conclusions and Consequences
Conclusion: Atheism, an American Religion
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.