Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Isaac Weiner

Second Advisor

Vincent Lloyd

Third Advisor

David Sehat

Abstract

This project examines how Georgia draws the line between religious freedom and child abuse. In Georgia, certain religious parents are granted spiritual exemptions for conduct that would otherwise be prohibited due to its potential harm to children, while other parents must alter their religious practices to conform to the law. An examination of Georgia law governing conduct that is both religiously-motivated and poses a risk of physical harm to children illustrates that Georgia’s spiritual exemptions have contributed to producing legally-defined religious orthodoxy, inconsistent regulation of religious conduct, and less stringent state protection from harm for the children of some religious parents.

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