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religious liberty, corporate rights, church autonomy, freedom of the church, Hosanna-Tabor, Hobby Lobby


This Introduction to our edited book, The Rise of Corporate Religious Liberty (Oxford University Press, 2016), offers an account of the “corporate turn” in law and religion. Here the term “corporate” refers to any organized body of people - groups, associations, organizations, and institutions - and, more specifically, to for-profit corporations. Our contention is that the relationship between law and religion has shifted dramatically in the last decade, moving from a conception of religious freedom focused mainly on individual liberty toward one that privileges the rights of religious organizations. We trace this development in two stages, describing the initial movement from individual liberty to church autonomy, or what some have called “freedom of the church,” and the subsequent extension of religious liberty claims to for-profit corporations. We then survey the main questions about corporate religious liberty addressed in the book and provide an overview of its structure.