God vs. the Gavel challenges the pervasive assumption that all religious conduct deserves constitutional protection. While religious conduct provides many benefits to society, it is not always benign. The thesis of the book is that anyone who harms another person should be governed by the laws that govern everyone else - and truth be told, religion is capable of great harm.
Part I. Why the Law Must Govern Religious Entities: 1. The problem; 2. Children; 3. Marriage; 4. Religious land use and residential neighborhoods; 5. Schools; 6. The prisons and the military; 7. Discrimination; Part II. The History and Doctrine behind the Rule that Subjects Religious Entities to Duly Enacted Laws: 8. Boerne v. Flores: the case that fully restored the rule of law for religious entities; 9. The decline of the special treatment of religious entities and the rise of the no-harm rule; 10. The path to the public good.
"In this intelligent and forcefully argued book, Hamilton, a self-professed former "Polyanna" when it comes to religion, explores the thorny conflicts between religion and society, detailing how some religious groups and institutions misuse laws intended to protect religious freedoms to justify child abuse, employment discrimination and other ills." Publisher's Weekly
"Hamilton is predominantly compelling in her analysis of case law and writes with verve and well-tempered vehemence for the general reader. This book deserves shelf space at every library." Library Journal
"Professor Hamilton's book dazzles with lucid, original, and humane intelligence. The legal profession, academia and the general public will all enjoy learning from it. Let us hope the U.S. Supreme Court does not deviate again from its present conclusion on religious liberty as Hamilton explains it." Rita Swan, Ph.D., President, Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty
"Marci Hamilton has heroically and truthfully confronted the widespread American myth that all things done in the name of religion are good and deserving of constitutional protections. She has accurately named the harm done in the name of religion and how this harm is protected and enabled by the courts and law enforcement by way of the inaccurate application of the First Amendment. God vs. The Gavel is essential reading for those who insist that religion be true to its fundamental mission and not about victimizing people for the sake of power, privilege or financial gain." Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., J.C.D., C.A.D.C., Canon Lawyer, Advocate for those abused by Clergy
"Marci Hamilton is an original and provocative First Amendment scholar whose views have enriched and enlarged the debate about religious liberty. She saw the potential constitutional problems with laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act well before many others did. Her voice simply cannot be ignored." Nadine Strossen, Professor of Law, New York Law School, President of the American Civil Liberties Union
"A terrific discussion of the constitutional issues concerning religion that are so important right now in American society. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Professor Hamilton, one has to admire the clear, careful, and provocative way she approaches these key issues concerning the government and religion." Erwin Chemerinsky, Professor of Constitutional Law, Duke University, School of Law
"God vs. the Gavel will open your eyes, stun your soul, and strengthen your belief that no one, not even priests and ministers, are above the law. If you care about justice for those victimized by religion, you must read this book." Karol Jackowski, author of The Silence We Keep: A Nun's View of the Catholic Priest Scandal
"This is a truly important, if provocative work, which is essential reading for anyone who wishes to delve beneath the surface of the contemporary battle over religion and values." the Honorable Edward R. Becker
"A timely, hard hitting, passionate, yet scholarly inquiry into the clash between religion and the state. Hamilton, whose writing style is engagingly lucid and compelling, raises controversial questions and her powerful answers will enrich our understanding of the issues and provoke debate. No one will or should completely agree with Hamilton but no one concerned about the interface between religion and civil society can responsibly ignore her cogent arguments." Dean David Rudenstine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University
"Hamilton offers a...courageous and thought-provoking work." FindLaw.com
"presents a strong case"
"Hamilton's strong assertion of order and public good in the face of claims to individual religious freedom is precisely the sort of springboard that can generate useful discussion, both in our classrooms and the public at large." - The Law and Politics Book Review Kevin R. den Dulk
"This book will make you upset and angry, but it merits the widest possible circulation. I wish I had written it." - Edd Doerr