Spring 2006, H-103A, F/56, A. Morimoto


Freedom of religion comes among the top on the list of fundamental human rights. This course is designed to help students with understanding the basic concepts pertaining to religious freedom, toleration, and separation of church and state.

The focus is less on the contemporary jurisprudence of the First Amendment religion clause issues in America, and more on the theoretical analysis of the principles that emerged during the early debates preceding the American constitutional expression. The seventeenth-century debate over conscience and community, however remote it may seem, does provide the frame of reference that is surprizingly relevant today.

During the course, students may encounter challenges to their own preconception about the universal and almost confessional status of liberalism and toleration as its core belief. The seemingly necessary connection between liberalism and toleration, and conversely, conservatism and intolerance, will have to come under scrutiny.

Depending on class composition, the transcultural and indeed transreligious applicability of these prevailing concepts may become a theme for discussion.


ICU Library has a copy each of these books. You may also want to purchase them via internet.


4/14 Introduction
5/5 No class (National Holiday)
5/19 No class (New-Student Retreat)
6/16 Lecture by Leo Ribuffo (George Washington University) at ICU
6/23 (Makeup) Conference and Lecture by John Witte, Jr., at Seigakuin University, Tokyo


  1. Please do not miss the first day of the class (April 14). Depending on the class composition, we will determine the focus of the class, assign the readings, and schedule the presentations. All students interested in taking the course should attend.

  2. Keep up with the reading assignment in order to participate in and enjoy class discussions. Come prepared with questions and comments.

  3. Each student will be asked to make a presentation on a subject carefully selected in consultation with the instructor. Handout materials should be xeroxed for all class members. Your presentation will be considered successful if it generates informed discussion among participants.

  4. A final paper of 10 to 15 pages, double-spaced, is required. Incorporate the lecture content and classroom discussion. You may either refine your class presentation or redefine your topic entirely. Due will be announced later.


Presentation (30%), contribution to class discussion (20%) and final paper (50%).