Gregory C. Sisk


There is an enduring legal myth that members of minority religious groups face a decidedly uphill battle in securing accommodation for or even tolerance of unconventional religious practices, expression, or values from the courts. According to conventional wisdom, traditional Christian believers may anticipate a more hospitable welcome from the judiciary when asserting claims of conscience or religious liberty. However based upon an empirical study of religious liberty decisions in the federal courts, the proposition that minority religions are less successful with their claims was found to be without empirical support, at least in the modern era and in the lower federal courts. In fact, counter to popular belief adherents to traditionalist Christian faiths, notably Roman Catholics and Baptists, may enter the courthouse doors at a distinct disadvantage. As the new century unfolds, the most interesting empirical inquiry may be why those within the mainstream Christian traditions find themselves with a higher hill to climb when seeking judicial exemption from secular regulation or judicial recognition of expression and equality rights