return to religion-onlineChurch and State
A brief history of the First Amendment and Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s role in the Supreme Court’s defining the separation of Church and State.
Religious bodies should seek to reclaim the original rationale of nontaxation of nonprofit organizations in general for the sake of freedom of association for everyone. Tax exemptions are not the same as a governmental subsidy.
A democracy that believes in religious freedom should be willing to live with tension between the two; so should a religion that believes in democracy.
The right-wing faction has promoted the school prayer amendment to the Consitituion and similar initiatives to declare America a "Christian nation;" it is workingintently to bring about a constitutional convention at which its representatives could propose curtailments of various freedoms; is drafting laws to confer official favor on specific religious establishments.
If clergy are forced to reveal a confession, people will refrain from penance or counseling. Therefore, clergy should not violate their sacred and moral trust involving child abuse.
An analysis of the pros and cons of the Bush Administration's "faith-based" solution to social problems.
The law prohibits public officials from discriminating against religious social-service providers that seek to compete for government contracts. It also protects the religious integrity and character of faith-based organizations that accept government dollars.
The various denominations will not agree on the response to what may be the most divisive social-action issue of the coming decade. This struggle will split long-established Protestant alliances and will be another blow to Protestant-Catholic cooperation on issue-centered ministries.
We must urge the schools to let religion compete on an equal footing with secular extracurricular activities. But at the same time, we must be wary of any attempt to make the schools transmitters of religious beliefs and practices. It is the place of churches and families to guide us in the ways of faith. The schools must not be given the power to tell our children when, where, or how to pray.
A defense of government financial support of private schools. The success of such support can be found in France.
The separationist interpretation of the religion clauses of the First Amendment has shackled religious liberty and pluralism. This is challenged instead with "the ideals of neutrality and accommodation."
The foundation has been laid for taxing church property and perhaps even church income. The power to tax religious institutions must be construed as the power to limit the free exercise of religion. Levying property taxes upon churches would have the effect of closing the doors of thousands of small congregations that operate on a shoestring.
The Supreme Court has explicitly encouraged “teach about religion” as part of a curriculum of secular education. In the landmark Schempp-Murray decisions, it often has been overlooked that although the justices forbade worship in the schools, they encouraged “teaching about religion.”
The case of Paul Boe -- a minister found guilty of contempt of court for refusing to testify about what he saw at Wounded Knee -- poses some significant legal and theological problems with some wider implications of the clergy confidentiality issue.
The founding fathers ordained in the first article of the Bill of Rights that "Congress shall pass no laws respecting the establishment of religion or the suppression thereof." This constitutional disestablishment of all churches embodied the wisdom of Roger Williams and Thomas Jefferson -- the one from his experience with the Massachusetts theocracy and the other from his experience with the less dangerous Anglican establishment in Virginia -- which knew that a combination of religious sanctity and political power represents a heady mixture for status quo conservatism.
Dr. Barrett challenges the "Christ and Culture" typology of H. Richard Niebuhr, and suggests an alternate four models of how people and their churches relate to the culture. She then outlines five normative tasks of the church in relationship with government.
We need a definition of constitutional religious liberty that preserves the protection of separation without stifling religious choice.