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Defend the SacredNative American Religious Freedom beyond the First Amendment$
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Michael D. McNally

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691190907

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691190907.001.0001

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Religion as Spirituality

Religion as Spirituality

Sacred Lands

(p.94) 3 Religion as Spirituality
Defend the Sacred

Michael D. McNally

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the failure in the courts of Native appeals to religious freedom protections for sacred lands, and it extends the previous chapter's analysis of the reception of Native claims to religion as religion. Where a religious claim conforms to the subjective, interior spirituality that has become naturalized in the United States, it has worked reasonably well in the courts. This is emphatically not the case where claims involve religious relationships with, uses of, and obligations to, land. The chapter explains how courts reason their way out of taking steps to protect Native American religious freedom when sacred places are threatened, a puzzling matter in that courts consistently acknowledge the sincerity of the religious beliefs and practices associated with those sacred places. Along the way the chapter develops a fuller sense of the workings of the discourse of Native American spirituality as it comes to control judicial comprehension of Native religious freedom claims.

Keywords:   sacred lands, spirituality, sacred places, land use, Native appeals, courts, religious freedom protection, religious freedom claims

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