John Inazu
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Twitter: @JohnInazu

John Inazu is the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion at Washington University in St. Louis.  He teaches criminal law, religion and law, and various First Amendment courses. He writes and speaks frequently to general audiences on topics of pluralism, assembly, free speech, religious freedom, and other issues. 

Inazu is the author of Liberty's Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly (Yale, 2012) and Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference (Chicago, 2016). He is co-editor (with Tim Keller) of Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference (Thomas Nelson, forthcoming 2020).

Inazu is also the executive director of The Carver Project.


Confident Pluralism

Confident Pluralism argues that we can and must live together peaceably in spite of deep and sometimes irresolvable differences over politics, religion, sexuality, and other important matters. We can do so in two important ways – by insisting on constitutional commitments that honor and protect difference and by embodying tolerance, humility, and patience in our speech, our collective action (protests, strikes, and boycotts), and our relationships across difference.


Paperback Edition (With a New Preface) 

Now available

“Into this polluted political atmosphere comes a different sort of academic. Inazu proposes a national cleanup effort to make our public life more pleasant and productive.”  —Washington Post

“Inazu offers an important new consideration of the value of pluralism for American democratic society. Highly Recommended.”  —Choice



Inazu holds a joint appointment in Washington University's School of Law and the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.  He teaches both law students and undergraduates.  You can learn more about his courses below.

Criminal Law

The introductory first year course covers the basics of criminal law including theories of punishment and sentencing, elements of criminal offenses, defenses, and tools of statutory interpretation.


Religion and The constitution

An introductory course to the theory, history, and doctrine of the religion clauses of the Constitution.  The law school course includes greater detail in the doctrine, particularly at the intersection of other First Amendment concerns.  The undergraduate course, co-taught with Mark Valeri, includes more attention to history and social context.


Advanced Seminars

Recent law student and undergraduate seminars include:


Inazu serves as the Executive Director of The Carver Project, which exists to cultivate Christian leaders at the intersection of university, church, and society.  The Carver Project is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.


Books and Articles

Confident Pluralism

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Liberty'S Refuge

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Scholarly Articles

Recent articles include The Purpose (and Limits) of the University (Utah Law Review, 2018), Unlawful Assembly as Social Control (UCLA Law Review, 2017), Re-Assembling Labor (Illinois Law Review, 2015) (with Marion Crain), The First Amendment's Public Forum (William & Mary Law Review, 2015), More is More: Strengthening Free Exercise, Speech, and Association (Minnesota Law Review, 2014), The Four Freedoms and the Future of Religious Liberty (North Carolina Law Review, 2014) and Virtual Assembly (Cornell Law Review, 2013), among others.