Church State Corporation: How the Church-in-Law Limits Religious Freedom

For the Public
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

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The lecture will describe the ways in which the legal fiction of the church inhabits U.S. law and constrains its imagination with respect to religion, limiting the possibilities for Christians and non-Christians alike.

About the “Jewish Law and the Constitution” Series

The familiar talmudic statement dina de-malkhuta dina (“the law of the kingdom is the law”) doesn’t even begin to cover the complex relationship between Judaism and state law—especially when the state itself takes account of Jewish law and religion. This series of lectures will draw out some signal characteristics of that relationship as it has evolved and unfolded in the orbit of American constitutional law. Each speaker will highlight one arena in which the American legal system has been drawn into conversation with American Jewish life and vice versa. Case by case, they tell stories of religion and politics, democracy and minorities, theory and practice: law entangled with law.


About the image above: Catalogue, Belcher Mosaic Glass Company (New York, 1886), Winterthur Museum Library, via


Winni Sullivan

Winni Sullivan

Indiana University Bloomington

Winni Sullivan is Provost Professor, Department of Religious Studies, and Affiliated Professor of Law at Indiana University Bloomington. She is the author of The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton University Press, 2005).

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We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Klatt Family and the Harry Stern Family Foundation.