Archive for the ‘Church-State Milestones’ Category

Church-State Milestones, Freedom of Religion, Resources, This Day in History

It’s Presidents’ Day. In honor of the holiday, I thought it would be interesting to pull together some quotes by our chief executives on church-state separation and religious freedom.

Most people know that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were great champions of church-state separation. But did you know that James K. Polk had some interesting things to say, […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, Freedom of Religion, Jonathan Falwell, This Day in History

Note: This post is a re-publication of one that originally appeared on Thanksgiving Day 2007. Enjoy the holiday!

When you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner today, do you plan to say grace?

If so, what religious tradition will the prayer come from? Will it be a blessing from the Jewish, Muslim or Hindu faiths? Will it be Catholic, Mormon […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, Freedom of Religion, Resources

In his poem “Mending Wall,” poet Robert Frost wrote, “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out.”

Today, on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, that’s a point worth pondering. There are good walls and bad ones.

I was in Berlin once in the 1970s when […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, Jerry Falwell Sr, Religious Right Research

U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy certainly led an interesting life. Known as a champion of the poor and downtrodden, he was also a powerful advocate for religious liberty and church-state separation who was adept at forging unlikely alliances with conservative Republicans.

One of the more unusual episodes in Kennedy’s life occurred on Oct. 3, 1983, when the senator spoke at what […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, The U.S. Supreme Court, This Day in History

I grew up in Ohio in late ’80s through the ’90s. My parents, sisters and I were one of the few South Asian families in town, and I was one of only two Hindu students in my graduating class of nearly 350 students.

Fortunately for me, it mattered little that I was Hindu and most of my classmates were Christian. […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion in Public Life, This Day in History

The partisan pugilists over at Fox News Channel have been howling about President Barack Obama’s insistence that America is a pluralistic nation that respects all faiths.

Obama, you may recall, said during his recent visit to Turkey that the United States is “a secular country that is respectful of religious freedom, respectful of rule of law, respectful of freedom….” […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, Defending The Courts, Freedom of Religion, Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion and politics, Religion in Public Life, Religious Symbols on Public Property

Does the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty need updating?

As many of you probably know, the Virginia Statute, approved by the state legislature in 1786, ended the Anglican Established Church and guaranteed broad freedom of religion in the commonwealth for the first time.

In ringing language written by Thomas Jefferson, the Statute proclaimed that “no man shall be compelled […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, Faith-Based Initiatives, Government-Sponsored Religion, This Day in History

In the history of church-state separation, certain dates are special: On Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was officially ratified. On Jan. 1, 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptists containing the famous “wall of separation between church and state” metaphor. The U.S. Supreme Court spoke strongly in favor of separation in Everson v. […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, This Day in History

Today is Religious Freedom Day. Why is this day important? Consider the following story: In 380 A.D., three Roman emperors of the east and west issued a joint edict on religion.

It stated in part, “We desire all people, whom the benign influence of our clemency rules, to turn to the religion which tradition from Peter to the present day […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, This Day in History

I love Thomas Jefferson’s New Year’s Day greeting to the Danbury Baptists in part because it drives the Religious Right into such paroxysms of paranoia, ignorance and intemperance.

As I’m sure most of you know, President Jefferson sent a friendly missive to his Baptist admirers in Connecticut on Jan. 1, 1802. He thanked them for their support of him and […] Read More

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