Faith and Law

How Religious Traditions from Calvinism to Islam View American Law

299 pages

December, 2007

ISBN: 9780814716731



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Robert F. Cochran, Jr., is the Louis D. Brandeis Professor and the Director of the Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics at Pepperdine University School of Law. His books include Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought (with Michael McConnell and Angela Carmella).

All books by Robert F. Cochran, Jr.

The relationship between religion and the law is a hot-button topic in America, with the courts, Congress, journalists, and others engaging in animated debates on what influence, if any, the former should have on the latter. Many of these discussions are dominated by the legal perspective, which views religion as a threat to the law; it is rare to hear how various religions in America view American law, even though most religions have distinct views on law.

In Faith and Law, legal scholars from sixteen different religious traditions contend that religious discourse has an important function in the making, practice, and adjudication of American law, not least because our laws rest upon a framework of religious values. The book includes faiths that have traditionally had an impact on American law, as well as new immigrant faiths that are likely to have a growing influence. Each contributor describes how his or her tradition views law and addresses one legal issue from that perspective. Topics include abortion, gay rights, euthanasia, immigrant rights, and blasphemy and free speech.


  • “This timely book urges readers to look at the courthouse ‘from a faith context….’ [A]n exciting picture of the relationship between pluralistic faiths and law.”


  • “A truly remarkable collection of first–rate essays by a variety of scholars, one more illuminating than the other.”

    —Amitai Etzioni, author of Security First: For a Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy

  • “A tremendous addition to the literature bounded by the topics of ethics, religion, public policy, and law. . . . A remarkable contribution in its conception and execution.”

    —Ellen S. Pryor, Dedman School of Law, Southern Methodist University