Jenna Reinbold

Back to Directory

Jenna Reinbold

Associate Professor of Religion

Department/Office Information

318 Lawrence Hall

Professor Reinbold studies the interaction of religion and law in the contemporary world. Her areas of emphasis include controversies over the separation of church and state in the U.S., and the role of religion in the propagation of human rights.


  • B.A., Portland State University 1999
  • M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara 2003, 2007


"Human Rights Versus the American Right: The Secular Logic of the UDHR and the Making of a New Cultural Relativist Critique," in progress.

"There Is No Secular in Abortion: How Dobbs Defines Religion, and Why It Matters," in progress.

"How COVID-19 Changed the World (of Free Exercise)," Journal of Church and State 64.4 (Autumn 2022): 562-580.

"A Tale of Two Burdens: COVID-19 and the Question of Religious Free Exercise," book chapter in An Epidemic on My People: Religion in the Age of COVID-19 (Temple University Press, 2022).

"The Secular Subject of Human Rights," book chapter in The Subject of Human Rights (Stanford University Press, 2020). 

"'Honorable Religious Premises' and Other Affronts: Disputing Free Exercise in the Era of Trump," Studies in Law, Politics, and Society Volume 79 (2019): 31-54.

"Human Rights as a Narrative of Faith," in Religious Imaginations: How Narratives of Faith Are Shaping Today's World(London: Gingko Library, 2018).

"Traditional Marriage on Trial: The Supreme Court, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Fate of Secular Argumentation," Journal of Church and State 59.1 (Winter 2017): 81-101.

Seeing the Myth in Human Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).

"Sacred Institutions and Secular Law: The Faltering Voice of Religion in the Courtroom Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage," Journal of Church and State 56.2 (Spring 2014): 248-268.

"Political Myth and the Sacred Center of Human Rights: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Narrative of 'Inherent Human Dignity,'" Human Rights Review 12.2 (May 2011): 147-171.

"Radical Islam and Human Rights Values: A 'Religious-Minded' Critique of Secular Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 78.2 (2010): 449-476.

 "Religious Conservatives Won the Legal Battle Over COVID-19, But Not the War" op-ed in Religion and Politics, July 2021

"Trump's Christian Judges March On" guest scholar on Rolling Stone, October 2020

"For Neil Gorsuch, Religious Freedom Hasn't Gone Far Enough" op-ed in Religion and Politics, August 2020

"Religious Freedom" op-ed on The Academic Minute, February 2020

"Who Benefits from Conflicts Over Religious Freedom?" op-ed in Religion and Politics, August 2019

"Confused about religious freedom and LGBT rights? Most Americans are" op-ed in, June 2019

"The Hazards and Necessities of 'Imaginative Sympathy,'" Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion (JFSR) 35.2 (Fall 2019), 111-113.

"Anti-LGBTQ bill's target was the Supreme Court, not tolerant Kansans" op-ed in The Kansas City Star, May 2019  

Seeing the Myth in Human Rights with Jenna Reinbold, interview on Religious Studies News, March 2019

"Sacred Rights" interview with Colgate Research, December 2018 

"Reassessing the narrative of universal human rights" guest scholar on Rear Vision, October 2018 

"The Religious Left" guest scholar on Two Broads Talking Politics podcast, February 2018 

"Seeing the myth in human rights" blog post on Open Democracy: Free Thinking for the World, March 2017

“American Christians and the Trump Vote: What’s Law Got to Do with It?” blog post on UOPblog: Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World, January 2017 

“Human Rights in the Era of Trump?” blog post on The Penn Press Log, January 2017

  • RELG 102: Religion, Power, and Politics 
  • RELG 255: Church, State, and Law in the U.S.
  • RELG/NAST 320: Native American Religious Freedom
  • RELG/POSC 338: Sex, Law, and the American Culture Wars
  • RELG 342: Our Secular Age
  • RELG 345: Religion and Human Rights
  • RELG 352: Theory and Method in the Study of Religion
  • CORE 111: Core Conversations 

Winner of the Phi Eta Sigma Colgate University Teacher of the Year Award (2019)

Winner of the Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion: Analytical-Descriptive Studies from the American Academy of Religion (2018)

Member of the Public Fellows Program with PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute) (2018-20)
Member of the Syracuse University Central New York Religious Studies Consortium (2018-20)