Are Tax Exemptions Subsidies?

Article by Dean M Kelley

Text: The drive to penalize private schools that discriminate on the basis of race by denying them tax exemption poses some serious problems of “bleed-through.” If the penalty could be limited to racial segregation, few except segregationists would object. But the rationale advanced for tax penalization is not now limited to racial segregation or even …

Beyond Neutrality

Article by Stephen L. Carter

Over the years, the Supreme Court has had trouble deciding between two competing theories on how the courts should interpret the religion clause of the First Amendment. One strand, which survives in popular discourse and in the courts but is in serious danger of vanishing from the academy, is the view that the state must …

Faith-Based Action

Article by Arthur E. Farnsley II

President Bush has quickly followed through on his promise to preach the message of faith-based solutions to social problems. He wants to expand "charitable choice" far past its original 1996 parameters. While experts warn against exaggerating how much religious groups can do, the turn to faith-based groups is a fact of life. Federal and state …

Public Versus Private Schools: A Divisive Issue for the 1980s

Article by Lyle Schaller

One of the major developments of the 1960s was the formation of scores of informal, ecumenical, social action coalitions organized around issues such as race, poverty, the draft, Vietnam and foreign policy. The 1970s saw the emergence of legalized abortion as an issue that shattered many of these coalitions. A statistical index of the rapid …

Religious Freedom or ‘Catch-22’? The Private School Aid Issue

Article by Robert M. Healey

It is my contention that the U.S. Constitution ought to be amended by the addition of these words: “Nothing in the First Amendment shall be construed to prohibit government from defraying the costs of secular education in nonpublic schools.” Such an amendment would return to the political process a prerogative that the U.S. Supreme Court …

In this special lecture, John Cobb explores the central the message of Jesus, “God’s Kingdom.”

Teaching About Religion: A Middle Way for Schools

Article by Niels C. Nielsen

The 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Schempp-Murray decisions, proscribing prayer and Bible reading in public-school classrooms, took place in 1983. In the post-1963 controversy, it often has been all but forgotten that the justices’ decisions had a double intent: both the advocacy and the practice of religion (for example, worship) were forbidden; at …

The King’s Chapel and the King’s Court

Article by Reinhold Niebuhr

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 …

Why ‘Separation’ Is Not the Key to Church-State Relations

Article by Michael W. McConnell

Ask most educated Americans what the Constitution has to say about religion and they will respond: it requires a "separation between church and state." Never mind that these words appear nowhere in the Constitution, nor even in the First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise …