Separation of church and state
"The separation of church and state is a concept in law whereby the structures of state or national government are kept separate from those of religious institutions. The concept has long been a topic of political debate. The term 'church' is associated with Christianity, but the phrase is usually used to refer to religion and religious institutions in general." --From the Wikipedia.
A separation of church and state exists when the church exists outside the political organizations of the government. This should not be construed as to mean that the church cannot influence the government, nor should it be construed that the government cannot have any basis in religion. Note also that nowhere in the Constitution of the United States does it state that we should have a separation of church and state, only that the state should not endorse any one religion over any other. Indeed, the state must consider and respect all religions equally. [unattributed]
- "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." -- The First Amendment 
- "When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some." --Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun in the Lee v. Weisman ruling, 1992.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- American Civil Liberties Union
- civil liberties
- freedom of speech
- religion and empire
- Religious Left
- Religious Right
- The Bush Theocracy
- "The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State", with links compiled in an extensive Table of Contents. Last updated March 20, 2005; accessed May 4, 2005.
- Thomas Jefferson's "Wall of Separation" Letter, January 1, 1802; posted at usconstitution.net.
Articles & Commentary
- "Separation of Church and State: A First Amendment Primer," Anti Defamation League website.
- "Separation of Church and State," theocracywatch.org. Last updated February 2005; accessed May 4, 2005.
- Ed and Michael Buckner, "Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church," infidels.org, undated.
- David Barton, "The Separation of Church and State," Wallbuilders.org, 2003.