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    The First Amendment says nothing about “separation of church and state” or a “wall of separation between church and state.” Where did this idea come from? Is it really part of the law?

    Although the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the First Amendment, the establishment clause was intended to separate church from state. When the First Amendment was

    THE FIRST AMENDMENT SAYS NOTHING ABOUT “SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE” OR A “WALL OF SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE.” WHERE DID THIS IDEA COME FROM? IS IT REALLY PART OF THE LAW?

    Although the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the First Amendment, the establishment clause was intended to separate church from state. When the First Amendment was adopted in 1791, the establishment clause applied only to the federal government, prohibiting the federal government from any involvement in religion. By 1833, all states had disestablished religion from government, providing protections for religious liberty in state constitutions. In the 20th century, the U.S. Supreme Court applied the establishment clause to the states through the 14th Amendment. Today, the establishment clause prohibits all levels of government from either advancing or inhibiting religion.

    The establishment clause separates church from state, but not religion from politics or public life. Individual citizens are free to bring their religious convictions into the public arena. But the government is prohibited from favoring one religious view over another or even favoring religion over non-religion.

    Our nation’s founders disagreed about the exact meaning of “no establishment” under the First Amendment; the argument continues to this day. But there was and is widespread agreement that preventing government from interfering with religion is an essential principle of religious liberty. All of the Framers understood that “no establishment” meant no national church and no government involvement in religion. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed that without separating church from state, there could be no real religious freedom.

    The first use of the “wall of separation” metaphor was by Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island in 1635. He said an authentic Christian church would be possible only if there was “a wall or hedge of separation” between the “wilderness of the world” and “the garden of the church.” Any government involvement in the church, he believed, corrupts the church.

    Then in 1802, Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, wrote: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

    The Supreme Court has cited Jefferson’s letter in key cases, beginning with a polygamy case in the 19th century. In the 1947 case Everson v. Board of Education, the Court cited a direct link between Jefferson’s “wall of separation” concept and the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

    Category: Freedom of Religion

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    Source : www.freedomforuminstitute.org

    Establishment Clause (Separation of Church and State)

    Though not explicitly stated in the First Amendment, the establishment clause is often interpreted to mean that the Constitution requires the separation of church and state.

    THE FIRST AMENDMENT ENCYCLOPEDIA

    THE FIRST AMENDMENT ENCYCLOPEDIA PRESENTED BY THE JOHN SEIGENTHALER CHAIR OF EXCELLENCE IN FIRST AMENDMENT STUDIES

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    Establishment Clause (Separation of Church and State)

    By Hana M. Ryman and J. Mark Alcorn

    Other articles in Legal Terms and Concepts Related to Religion

    Vashti McCollum sits outside the Supreme Court building in 1947, while awaiting arguments before the court on her fight to ban religious education classes from an Illinois public school. Her case was one of the cases in which the Supreme Court began to interpret the First Amendment's religious establishment clause known as "separation of church and state." (AP Photo/Herbert K. White. Reprinted with permission of The Associated Press)

    The first clause in the Bill of Rights states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

    Establishment clause of First Amendment often interpreted to require separation of church and state

    For approximately the first 150 years of the country’s existence, there was little debate over the meaning of this clause in the Constitution. As the citizenry became more diverse, however, challenges arose to existing laws and practices, and eventually, the Supreme Court was called upon to determine the meaning of the establishment clause.

    Though not explicitly stated in the First Amendment, the clause is often interpreted to mean that the Constitution requires the separation of church and state.

    'Separation of church and state' metaphor rooted in early American fears of government involvement

    Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, was the first public official to use this metaphor. He opined that an authentic Christian church would be possible only if there was “a wall or hedge of separation” between the “wilderness of the world” and “the garden of the church.” Williams believed that any government involvement in the church would corrupt the church.

    The most famous use of the metaphor was by Thomas Jefferson in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. In it, Jefferson declared that when the American people adopted the establishment clause they built a “wall of separation between the church and state.”

    Jefferson had earlier witnessed the turmoil of the American colonists as they struggled to combine governance with religious expression. Some colonies experimented with religious freedom while others strongly supported an established church.

    Thomas Jefferson created the most famous use of the metaphor "separation of church and state" in a letter where he mentioned a "wall of separation." (Image via White House Historical Association, painted by Rembrandt Peale in 1800, public domain)

    Jefferson fought to disestablish Anglican church in Virginia colony

    One of the decisive battlegrounds for disestablishment was Jefferson’s colony of Virginia, where the Anglican Church had long been the established church.

    Both Jefferson and fellow Virginian James Madison felt that state support for a particular religion or for any religion was improper. They argued that compelling citizens to support through taxation a faith they did not follow violated their natural right to religious liberty. The two were aided in their fight for disestablishment by the Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, and other “dissenting” faiths of Anglican Virginia.

    During the debates surrounding both its writing and its ratification, many religious groups feared that the Constitution offered an insufficient guarantee of the civil and religious rights of citizens. To help win ratification, Madison proposed a bill of rights that would include religious liberty.

    As presidents, though, both Jefferson and Madison could be accused of mixing religion and government. Madison issued proclamations of religious fasting and thanksgivings while Jefferson signed treaties that sent religious ministers to the Native Americans. And from its inception, the Supreme Court has opened each of its sessions with the cry “God save the United States and this honorable court.”

    Public school religion cases allow Supreme Court to define establishment clause protection

    It was not until after World War II that the Court interpreted the meaning of the establishment clause.

    In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Court held that the establishment clause is one of the liberties protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, making it applicable to state laws and local ordinances. Since then the Court has attempted to discern the precise nature of the separation of church and state.

    In 1971 the Court considered the constitutionality of a Pennsylvania statute that provided financial support to nonpublic schools for teacher salaries, textbooks, and instructional materials for secular subjects and a Rhode Island statute that provided direct supplemental salary payments to teachers in nonpublic elementary schools.

    Source : www.mtsu.edu

    Separation of church and state in the United States

    Separation of church and state in the United States

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    "Separation of church and state" is paraphrased from Thomas Jefferson and used by others in expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

    The principle is paraphrased from Thomas Jefferson's "separation between Church & State." It has been used to express the understandings of the intent and function of this amendment, which allows freedom of religion. It is generally traced to a January 1, 1802, letter by Thomas Jefferson, addressed to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper.

    Jefferson wrote,

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."[1]

    Jefferson reflects other thinkers, including Roger Williams, a Baptist Dissenter and founder of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1802, he wrote:

    When they [the Church] have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the Candlestick, etc., and made His Garden a wilderness as it is this day. And that therefore if He will ever please to restore His garden and paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world, and all that be saved out of the world are to be transplanted out of the wilderness of the World.[2]

    In keeping with the lack of an established state religion in the United States, unlike in many European nations at the time, Article Six of the United States Constitution specifies that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

    Jefferson's metaphor of a wall of separation has been cited repeatedly by the U.S. Supreme Court. In (1879) the Court wrote that Jefferson's comments "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment." In (1947), Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."

    In contrast to this emphasis on separation, the Supreme Court in (1952) upheld accommodationism, holding that the nation's "institutions presuppose a Supreme Being" and that government recognition of God does not constitute the establishment of a state church as the Constitution's authors intended to prohibit.[3][4]

    The extent of separation between government and religion in the U.S. continues to be debated.[5][6][7][8]

    Contents

    1 Early history

    1.1 State churches in British North America prior to the Revolution

    1.1.1 Catholic colonies

    1.1.2 Protestant colonies

    1.1.3 Colonies with no established church

    1.1.4 Tabular summary

    1.2 Colonial views on establishment, accommodationism, and separationism

    1.3 Jefferson, Madison, and the "wall of separation"

    1.4 Patrick Henry, Massachusetts, and Connecticut

    1.5 Test acts

    2 The U.S. Constitution

    2.1 Article 6

    2.2 The First Amendment

    2.3 The 14th Amendment

    3 Supreme Court cases

    4 Early treaties and court decisions

    4.1 The Treaty of Paris

    4.2 The Treaty of Tripoli

    4.3 Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States

    5 Interpretive controversies

    5.1 Politics and religion in the United States

    6 See also 7 References 8 Bibliography 9 External links

    9.1 American court battles over separation

    9.2 Other

    Early history[edit]

    Many early immigrants traveled to North America to avoid religious persecution in their homelands, whether based on a different denomination, religion or sect. Some immigrants came from England after the English Civil War and the rise of Protestant dissenting sects in England. Others fled Protestant-Catholic religious conflicts in France and Germany.[9] Immigrants included nonconformists such as the Puritans, who were Protestant Christians fleeing religious persecution from the Anglican King of England, and later Dissenters, such as Baptists.

    The groups had a variety of attitudes on religious toleration; the Puritans, for instance, initially wanted a totally Puritan society. While some leaders, such as Roger Williams of Rhode Island and Quaker William Penn of Pennsylvania, ensured the protection of religious minorities within their colonies, the Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England established churches, initially Puritan. The Dutch colony of New Netherland established its state Dutch Reformed Church and outlawed all other worship, though enforcement was sparse in what was essentially a trading, mercantile colony. In some cases, jurisdictions wanted religious conformity for financial reasons: the established Church was responsible for poor relief, putting dissenting churches at a significant disadvantage.

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

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