Audra L. Savage

Document Type



Although religious freedom has the distinction as the “first freedom,” it is not first in terms of protected rights. Religious freedom is under attack and if not shielded from potential threats, this quintessential American right may be lost altogether. Or at least, this is what U.S. law professors Andrew Koppelman and Steven D. Smith would have one believe, according to books each professor recently published. Unfortunately, they are not exaggerating. Volumes of articles and tomes have been written questioning, critiquing and criticizing (and lamenting, blasting and ridiculing) the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court adjudicating the religion clauses of the First Amendment, in general, and the Establishment Clause, in particular. The Court’s jurisprudence in this regard has been called everything from “unprincipled” to “a disaster” to “an unholy mess.” The frustration with the Court in this area is not limited to the legal academy. It has spilled over into public discourse as well, with discussions in social media and op-ed pieces nationwide, by experts, journalists, and the average citizen alike.