Religious Freedom

July 20-22, 2016


Please note, we are now using a new application system! If you have applied for a Montpelier Seminar before, you will need to create a new login. Thanks!

Application deadline: May 31, 2016

What is the proper relationship between church and state, and religion and politics? Does an individual's right to the "free exercise" of religion allow him or her to violate duly passed laws? May the government promote religion? If government must remain neutral towards religion, what does neutrality require?

Our seminar, "Religious Freedom & the American Constitution," will attempt to answer these questions by reading and discussing primary documents from American history and leading cases of American constitutional law. Teachers who complete the seminar will be better prepared to:


  • Explain the Founders' idea of natural rights and the right of religious freedom
  • Teach leading Supreme Court cases on matters of church and state
  • Develop lesson plans that help students understand and grapple with the meaning of the First Amendment and how it protects religious freedom
  • Facilitate learning about America's constitutional history, including how it has changed over time. 


Seminar Scholar

Vincent Phillip Muñoz is the Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion and Public Life in the Department of Political Science and Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at The University of Notre Dame. Dr. Muñoz writes and teaches across the fields of political philosophy, constitutional studies, and American politics. His recent research has focused on the theme of religious liberty and the American Constitution. His first book, God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and Jefferson (Cambridge University Press, 2009), won the Hubert Morken Award from the American Political Science Association for the best publication on religion and politics in 2009 and 2010. His First Amendment church-state casebook, Religious Liberty and the American Supreme Court: The Essential Cases and Documents, was published in 2013 and is being used at Notre Dame and other leading universities. 


Dr. Muñoz is in the process of completing two more books related to religious freedom, a prequel to God and the Founders, which seeks to uncover the original meaning of the Constitution's Religion Clauses, and a constitutional history of religious freedom in America from the Founding to the present. His writings have appeared in scholarly and popular journals, including American Political Science Review, The Review of Politics, The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, The Wall Street Journal, First Things, and The Claremont Review of Books. His media appearances include commentary on Voice of America Radio, Fox News Channel, and Turkish Public Television. He has testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on the matter of "Hostility to Religious Expression in the Public Square."