Document Type



First Amendment | International Law


Father Robert Drinan, long a leading advocate of human rights, has had a distinguished career serving as a U.S. congressman from Massachusetts, as Dean of the Boston College Law School, and now as Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Father Drinan's new book, Can God and Caesar Coexist?: Balancing Religious Freedom and International Law, sensitively and persuasively sets out the often tortuous relations among religion (the God of his title), national governments (Caesar), and international law (the new and possibly helpful partner in this relationship). My essay employs the facts and arguments in Father Drinan's Can God and Caesar Coexist? as a sounding board for a single, central observation. In the oftentimes dysfunctional family of faith, the state, and international law, it is international law that is very much the weak sister, doomed to play a humble and subservient role vis-A-vis the much more powerful figures of religion and the sovereign state. I think Father Drinan and I agree that it will be extraordinarily difficult for international law, the Cinderella of the tale, to rise up to engage either faith or the state on anything like an even playing field.