clause has involved the claims of small and socially unusual religious minorities: Santerians seeking to practice animal sacrifice, Hare Krishnas seeking to solicit money and converts at airports, or Native Americans hoping to protect their rights to use hallucinogenic drugs for religious purposes. We might anticipate that support for such freeexercise claims would be most enthusiastic among groups who regard themselves as minorities or as the victims of discrimination.
In any event, we regard the subject matter of this book as being quite important for contemporary American politics. Religious issues are assuming increasing importance on the political agenda of the United States, and in a democracy such as ours, we believe that public opinion is ultimately an irresistible force.
We are grateful to the Williamsburg Charter Foundation for commissioning the national survey which we used as one of the major sources for this study, and for allowing us to use the data. A number of people have read and commented on various portions of this book, and their comments have produced a better book. We would like to thank Mary Bendyna, Richard Brisbin, Clarke Cochrane, Robert Katzmann, and Robin Wolpert for helpful comments. Susan Lagon also provided helpful suggestions. Our editor, Michael Weber, provided suggestions and encouragement.
William J. Wilcox served as a springboard for many of the ideas in this book, and his insights were particularly valuable in crafting the project. Over a number of years he was a constant source of ideas, and without his unflagging interest the project would not have been completed. We regret that he did not live to see the book completed, and we dedicate the book to his memory.
Ted G. Jelen Clyde Wilcox