Journal of Law and Religion
A number of academic lawyers have explored the relationship of religion (and religious belief) and law. Ostensibly starting with the late Harold Berman’s The Interaction of Law and Religion, the “religious lawyering” movement evaluates the role religious faith has in how lawyers practice law. Extended by subsequent works such as Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought, the discussion has expanded beyond the question whether a religious lawyer is a contradiction.
This essay serves as a commentary on Robert F. Cochran’s Faith and Law: How Religious Traditions from Calvinism to Islam View American Law, a compilation of sixteen essays from legal academics that address the difficulties in assessing the role of faith and law. Of these difficulties, the swiss army knife problem, identified as whether religion is simply another tool in the kit of lawyer rhetorical techniques, is discussed exclusively.
Despite its shortcomings, including a lack of consistency in answering the question contained within the title, Faith and Law is a valuable contribution to the overarching discussion. A collection of essays from legal academics of different religious faiths could serve as the logical next step, bringing into better focus the irreconcilability of different religious faiths in understanding American law.
Michael S. Ariens, What Hath Faith Wrought? (book review), 24 J. L. & Rel. 195 (2008-09).