Article

Religion and The Law

James T. Richardson

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588961
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199588961.013.0024

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Religion and The Law

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This article adopts the position that law and religion are inextricably bound together, particularly in modern societies with increasingly pervasive legal systems. Legal systems are usually derived from religious tenets, some very directly. And more powerful religious groups can sometimes manipulate or make use of those systems to maintain their position of prominence in a society and promote their own interests. But religions, religious groups, and acts and beliefs defined as religious by individuals are also regulated, via the legal institutions established to enforce the laws of society. This discussion examines significant issues from both perspectives, starting with a discussion treating religion as the independent variable in the equation relating law and religion followed by a treatment of situations in which law acts as an independent variable with regard to religion.

Keywords: sociology of religion; classical theorists; legal systems; modern society; powerful religious groups

Article.  6217 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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