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February 23, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
In this RFG meeting, Moore will discuss her new paper that offers a critical analysis of religious freedom discourse engendered by the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions on indoor religious gatherings during the first nine months of the pandemic were challenged in courts, and their constitutionality was addressed by the Supreme Court over the summer of 2020. This historic period—with lockdowns, testing, contact tracing, and vaccines, not to mention its prohibition on public gatherings—provide a unique opportunity to assess religious liberty claims during a nationwide public health emergency. The paper’s focus is on public discourses related to what we can describe as “defiant worship,” or actions taken by pastors and congregations that violated state mandates about indoor religious gatherings. This paper contributes to the secondary literature that deconstructs assumed binaries between secular and religious, legal and lay, and public and private spheres, and examines key actors that approach constitutional law from their religious commitments, such as Conservative Christian Legal Organizations (CCLOs).
Kathleen M. Moore is Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at UCSB. This research is part of a larger book project on religious liberty arguments in the American conservative Christian legal movement, tentatively entitled “When the Religious Turn Litigious.”
Sponsored by the IHC’s Legal Humanities Research Focus Group