108 Iowa L. Rev. 2341 (2023)
The field of law and religion has long neglected the economy of church-state disputes. Too often, scholarship and doctrine have relied on conjecture, rather than facts. And some nascent efforts to think through the economics of religious liberty risk repeating early law-and-economics mistakes, including excessive abstraction, reductive individualism, and illusory neutrality. In this Essay, we argue for integrating economics into religion law in a way that welcomes empirical evidence, engages in institutional analysis, and foregrounds normatively desirable economic arrangements. This “Religion Law and Political Economy” approach carries significant benefits for the field. It would allow us to unleash ourselves from the courts and would free religious liberty from its constitutional law silo. We could then see institutional edifices (not just two opposing parties before a judge) and reimagine religious liberty across political and economic structures.