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IACH Spring Preview Constitutional Studies Symposium and more...

Religious Freedom in America and Abroad by Allen Hertzke

Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage | University of Oklahoma

Constitutional Heritage Spring 2012 Newsletter Vol. 1, Issue 2


Teach-In on America’s Founding DETAILS ON PAGE 4

Content 3

Letter from the Director

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Religious Freedom in America and Abroad by Allen Hertzke 8


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Edited and designed by Megan Denney

© 2012 The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. This publication was printed at no cost to the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma.

Letter from the Director What a great semester for the IACH! We welcomed our two newest faculty to campus, moved into our beautiful new offices, launched the Religious Freedom Project and inaugurated the first class of our Society of Fellows. Most of all, we made an impact on OU students, offering them what I truly believe is the best slate of courses on American constitutional foundations and history anywhere in the country. “Constitutional Studies” continues to catch on. In the fall, there were over 850 students enrolled in Constitutional Studies designated courses. That’s a testament to our remarkable affiliated faculty. We continue to host exciting and interesting programming that makes OU the hub of serious constitutional dialogue. This spring will be our biggest semester yet. On February 27, we are hosting a “Teach-In on America’s Founding.” It is going to be, truly, the greatest day of teaching on American history ever put together. The guests include David McCullough, Gordon Wood, David Hackett Fischer, Peter Onuf, Rosemarie Zagarri and Akhil Reed Amar. If you can, please consider spending the entire day on campus with us for this special event. We are excited to host our second Constitutional Studies Symposium on April 2. Allen Hertzke, Chair of our own Religious Freedom Project, has helped put together an extraordinary cast of the nation’s top historians, theorists, social scientists and jurists to come to Norman and explore the role of religious freedom in America, past and present. I want you to know how much your support means to our Institute. It makes it possible for us to hold lectures, to sponsor our amazing students in their programs and to offer scholarships to our undergraduate fellows. What we are doing is special. We’re making OU a national leader in civics education and in the study of American constitutionalism. Please stay involved with us and continue to spread the word.


Kyle Harper, Director, IACH




on America’s founding

ers Different.” February 27 will be a monumental day for the IACH as six of the nation’s foremost experts on the Rosemarie Zagarri from George Mason Unifounding of America will visit the University of Oklaversity will start the afternoon sessions teaching about homa. “Founding Mothers: How Women Shaped the The “Teach-In Founding.” Akhil Reed on America’s Founding” Amar from Yale Law promises to be an enSchool will conclude the riching experience as the WHO: Akhil Reed Amar lecture sessions by teachexperts will actually be David Hackett Fischer ing on “Our Jacksonian teaching throughout the David McCullough Constitution.” day. Peter Onuf “The Teach-In A panel discussion, Gordon Wood will be a wonderful opmoderated by President Rosemarie Zagarri portunity for the OU David Boren and comcommunity and the genprised of the featured WHERE: Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall, eral public to spend a day speakers from the day’s Catlett Music Center (morning, afternoon and panel sessions) with the country’s greatlecture sessions, will fol Sam Noble Oklahoma est teachers,” said Kyle low. Museum of Natural History Haper, IACH director. The day will con (luncheon and dinner sessions) clude with a dinner ses The day will besion featuring David Mcgin with Peter Onuf of WHEN: Monday, Feb. 27, 2012 Cullough, historian and the University of Vir session 1: 9:30 a.m. Pulitzer Prize-winning ginia teaching on the session 2: 10:30 a.m. luncheon session: 12 p.m. author, who will give a topic of “Thomas Jeffer session 3: 2 p.m. lecture on “Adams and son’s Founding.” He will session 4: 3 p.m. America’s Founding.” be followed by David panel session: 4 p.m. Hackett Fischer, from This event adds dinner session: 6 p.m. Brandeis University, who to the already impres*Reservations required for ALL sessions will teach on “George sive list of programs and (405) 325-3784 or Washington’s Gift.” lectures organized and sponsored by the IACH. A luncheon sesAddtional details, such sion will feature Gordon as speaker biographies and event information, can be Wood, Pulitzer Prize winning-author and historian, found at or by calling (405) 325-3784. who will give an address on “What Made the Found-

Plan on it!






Thomas Jefferson at OU Thomas Jefferson interpreter Bill Barker will visit OU on Wednesday, March 14 at 6 p.m. in Meacham Auditorium. A Philadelphia native, Barker has been portraying Jefferson at Colonoial Williamsburg since 1993 when he appeared in a film produced to honor Ambassador and Mrs. Walter H. Annenberg. Barker graduated from Villanova University with a bachelor’s degree in history. His presentation venues include the White House and the Palace of Versailles. Additionally, he has been featured in a number of magazines including Time, People and Reader’s Digest and has made appearences in programs for The History Channel, C-SPAN and CNN.

Constitutional Studies Symposium The second Constitutional Studies Symposium will be held on Monday, April 2 in the Scholars Room of the Oklahoma Memorial Union. Session times will be available at iach. The topic of the symposium will be “Religious Freedom in America: Constitutional Traditions and New Horizons.” Attending this year’s symposium will be Vincent Phillip Munoz, Thomas Kidd, Steve Green, Robin Fretwell Wilson, Roger Finke, Charles Haynes, Leslie Griffin, John DiIulio, as well as OU’s own Rick Tepker and Allen Hertzke. The symposium will bring together historians, political scientists, sociologists and jurists to focus on religious freedom as a perennial value but one always shaped by historical context. Panelists will also discuss the tensions created by robust protections for free exercise at different moments in American history, the role of religious minorities in shaping American jurisprudence and the contemporary landscape of religious freedom.



Religious freedom in America is a core constitutional concept; in a sense, it is the “first freedom.” The founders devoted the first 16 words of the Bill of Rights to ending state-enforced religion and protecting religious exercise from government intrusion. But religious freedom also enjoys this pride of place because it was forged in the crucible of a century-long struggle against persecution in the colonies that helped define American ideas about liberty and limited government. More than enlightenment philosophy, religious liberty was born of the sacrifices of “heroes of conscience” who jeopardized their lives and livelihoods rather than violate their beliefs. Roger Williams, for example, was banished in the 1640s for preaching “soul liberty,” the theological idea that state coercion in religion is antithetical to authentic faith. In 1660 Mary Dyer was publicly hanged in Boston Common because she refused to follow a Massachusetts law against proselytizing her Quaker faith. Additionally, on the eve of the American Revolution, Baptists routinely were jailed in Virginia for insisting on the right to be married in their own congregations instead of the state-established Anglican Church. Thus when James Madison fought to end state-establishments and enshrine free exercise of religion as a fundamental right, he drew upon


this intrepid religious legacy. Crucially, he anchored religious liberty in the innate human quest to follow “dictates of conscience,” especially to fulfill transcendent obligations. As he famously wrote in Memorial and Remonstrance, the “duty towards the creator is precedent, both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of civil society.” Thus “no man’s right is abridged by the Institution of Civil Society.” Religious liberty is the first freedom, in other words, because human beings often experience obligations to authority higher than the state. Because of this, the measure of a free society is the extent to which people are not required to choose between transcendent duties and citizenship rights. As embodied in the First Amendment that Madison shepherded through Congress, the American Constitution represented an innovative break from 13 centuries of stateenforced religion in the West. By prohibiting the infringement on religious exercise, it provided a crucial limit on the reach of state power. By freeing churches from state persecution or paternalism, it also propelled a thriving civil society of voluntary religious association, as Tocqueville first observed, and shaped a culture of unusual interreligious amity, as Robert Putnam and David Campbell more recently documented. Through time, the American

experiment helped pave the way in establishing religious freedom as a universal human right in international law, and the United States continues to play a singular role in upholding it in international forums. But the global reach of this heritage extends further. Events-on-the-ground and empirical research are corroborating a timeless ontological truth suggested by the American experience: that freedom of conscience and religion are central to human dignity and societal flourishing. Indeed, recent scholarship demonstrates the positive link between religious freedom and political rights, civil liberties, longevity of democracy, women’s status, economic development, societal peace and regional stability. In turn, regimes that severely violate religious freedom experience lagging economic development, corruption, abuses of power, repression of women and minorities, militant religious movements and violent strife that spills over borders. Sadly, a recent Pew Forum report finds that 70 percent of the world’s population live in countries with high restrictions on religious practice. Still, the clear benefits of religious freedom and perils of violating it provide a strategic opportunity for policy makers, religious authorities and civil society leaders searching for remedies to the destabilizing religious strife afflicting the globe. In the place of


ties of navigating competing values the Religious Freedom Project, not counterproductive measures of rein church-state law. only by active participation in pubpression – often the default impulse lic lectures and events, but by their – enlightened strategies that protect The American experience, own initiatives. During the fall 2011 the freedom of conscience and rethough not perfect, provided a model semester the Constitutional Studies ligious practice may offer the best to the world of how protecting broad Student Association hosted a lively means of navigating the crucible of religious exercise fosters vibrant forum in which students and faculty the 21st century: living with our difcivil society, unleashes positive conresponded to provocative questions ferences in a shrinking world. tributions by religious communities, about church-state law, while IACH builds citizen loyalty and cultivates This is what makes the ReliSociety of Fellows explored the valmutual respect among competing gious Freedom Project at OU so exfaiths. citing, timely and unique. Through complementary Yet there are trouMomentous Supreme Court initiatives in teaching, rebles in the cradle of liberty Case Simulated in search and civic education – threats to the autonomy OU will become a pacesetof religious institutions Constitutional Studies Course ter among public universiand the conscience rights A long tradition in American law affirms the right ties in this vital arena. We of believers. Religious of religious denominations to determine the qualiwill host symposia with adoption agencies in Masfications of their clergy – to hire or remove minisleading scholars and sponsachusetts, the District ters on the basis of religious principles. But how sor publications on crucial of Columbia and Illinois far does this autonomy extend? Who is a minister questions. Students will be have closed down rather and who decides? Students in my course “Religion enlisted in pioneering rethan operate under state and the American Constitution” grappled with these search and curriculum demandates contrary to their questions in our moot court simulation of Hosanvelopment. The featured faith principles. Health na-Tabor v. EEOC, a pivotal church-state case respeaker program will bring care providers confront cently decided by the Supreme Court. Assuming to campus modern “henew federal regulations roles as competing litigators, stakeholders and Suroes of conscience” from that may force them to preme Court justices, students tackled a real-world diverse religious commuparticipate in procedures clash involving a narcoleptic teacher, a church that nities around the world, that violate their religious defined its educators as ministers, a federal agency enabling students, faculty consciences. Local zonprosecuting the church for violating the Americans and community particiing boards have prevented with Disabilities Act and a host of religious instipants to learn from and be congregations from buildtutions concerned about government intrusion into inspired by their accounts. ing or expanding houses of their faith practices. The result was instructive as Summer training institutes worship. Religious leaders the two panels of student justices came to diametriwill help prepare teachers fear that the enforcement cally opposite – but reasonably argued – judgments and community leaders to of certain laws will lead in the specific case, but they all acknowledged the uphold and build upon the to government intrusion in huge stakes for religious liberty in this emerging American heritage of relitheir internal affairs. Navarea of American law. gious freedom. Career opigating these challenges portunities will be opened with wisdom and civility for students by connecting them to will not only affect religious life at ue and limits of religious freedom the growing networks of religious home; it will shape the global appeal in a spirited dinner debate. In turn, freedom advocacy and scholarship, of the American model of religious through their questions, comments at home and around the world. liberty and the salience of our leadand research projects, students in my course “Religion and the American To me, what is so inspirership defending it. Constitution” have deeply sharpened ing is the extent that OU students my understanding of the complexiare facilitating in the launching of



Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage University of Oklahoma 650 Parrington Oval, Carnegie Building, Room 210 Norman, OK 73019

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Features Course Profile: Oklahoma and the U. S. Constitution

Student Profile: Bailie Gregory

A new course, taught by IACH core-faculty member Eric Lomazoff, will view the story of American constitutionalism across the 20th century through the lens of cases concerning Oklahoma. The course uses the proximity of the institutions and even sometimes the individuals involved in these cases to foster primary research by undergraduates. A unit on contemporary issues, ranging from establishment to federalism, which seem likely to garner national attention and adjudication will conclude the course.

Major: Political Science Minor: Constitutional Studies Classification: Senior Hometown: Longview, Texas Why Constitutional Studies? Minoring in Constitutional Studies has been the best decision of my undergraduate career. The knowledge that I have gained in Constitutional Studies courses has been beneficial to me in other courses, and has allowed me to engage in civil discussion over many important national issues. The professors are energetic, knowledgeable and student-oriented. The relationships that are built with them and other students in the department are engaging and valuable.

Spring 2012 Newsletter  

The 2nd IACH newsletter highlights the Teach-In on America's Founding & other spring events hosted by the Institute.

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