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Separation of Church & State 101: Who's Who, What's What

What is the separation of church and state? What does it mean for religion, religious organizations and the government? Does it really mean anything for people personally, or is it only a function of large groups? What does it mean to be a separationist, accommodationist, or non-preferentialist?

Separation of Church and State 101
What is the separation of church and state? What does it mean for religion, religious organizations and the government? Does it really mean anything for people personally, or is it only a function of large groups? What does it mean to be a separationist, accommodationist, or non-preferentialist?

James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance
There is a lot of disagreement and debate in America over the meaning and value of the separation of church and state. Some hold it to be inviolate while others deny that it does or should exist. In the arguments over Jefferson's metaphor of a "wall of separation," however, the concerns of James Madison, who wrote the First Amendment, tend to be...

Memorial Remonstrance - History of James Madison's Memorial Remonstrance
As the author of the First Amendment, James Madison's views on religious freedom and church/state separation are as important as those of Thomas Jefferson. Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance was his most decisive and important explanation of his views about religious freedom. Aimed directly at the collecting of taxes for the purposes of...

What is the Separation of Church and State?
What is the separation of church and state? What does it mean for religion, religious organizations and the government? Does it really mean anything for people personally, or is it only a function of large groups? How do we differentiate between what is seculare and what is religious, which is obviously a necessary condition for separating religion and government? We can't defend church/state sep…

Who's Who in the Separation of Church and State?
The debate over separating church and state often proceeds as if there were only two sides - those who favor it and those who oppose it. In reality the debate involves quite a bit more nuance than this, with a broad spectrum of possible positions: strict separation, accommodation, non-preferentialism, and theocracy. The idea of supporters and...

Principle of Separation - Myths About the Principle of Church…
The very idea of separating church and state continues to be controversial, despite how well it has worked for churches, governments, and citizens over so many years. Opponents of church/state separation are able to manufacture and prmote controversy by promoting misunderstandings about what church/state separation really means and what it does....

Separation of Church & State as the Separation of Religious & Civil Authority
Despite being part of the political, philosophical, and religious landscape of America for over 200 years, the notion of separating church and state continues to be a radical notion. We need a way to explain the concept which makes it easier to accept without undermining its radical, vital nature. I believe it's possible to reframe the...

What is the Separation of Church and State? Misunderstood and Maligned
What is the separation of church and state? That is a very good question - the separation of church and state is perhaps one of the most misunderstood, misrepresented and maligned concepts in today's political, legal and religious debates. Everyone has an opinion, but unfortunately, many of those opinions are woefully misinformed.

What Does The Separation And Church And State Mean To Me, Personally?
Although much of the debate surrounding the separation of church and state involves the relationships between large institutions, that doesn't mean that it does not impact you, personally. In fact, the separation of church and state has a number of implications for an individual citizen.

Religion's Place in the Public Square: Does The Separation Of Church And...
Quite often, debates about the appropriate relationship between religion and government involved the appropriate place of religion in the so-called “Public Square.” This public square might be meant literally, as in a public location open to all citizens, or it might be meant metaphorically, referencing the public spaces, events, and occasions...

Public Truths vs. Private Truths: The Politics of Public Religion
To what extent is it legitimate to use religion as a basis for political decisions on public policy? Many people believe that such a use of religion ultimately results in violations of the separation of church state, and thus other people's religious liberty. Many religious believers, however, argue that it is wrong to exclude religion from...

Naked Public Square: Does The Separation Of Church And State Violate...
One common complaint raised about the way strict separationists read the First Amendment is that it leaves the public square 'naked,' by which it is meant that the public square is now 'bare' of religious speech. This, in turn, is believed to foster and encourage public hostility towards religion, something which is actually forbidden by the...

Demeaning Religion: Which Demeans Religion: Strict Separation Of Church And...
One of the common arguments raised by those who object to the limitations placed upon how the government accommodates religious beliefs is that such limitations are an expression of hostility. Normally, such arguments are aimed at secularists and nonbelievers, but this masks the fact that there is another, equally important issue at hand: the...

Secular vs Religious: Where Should the Line Be Drawn?
Where should we draw the line between 'religious' and 'secular?' How can a religious symbol or ritual become secular? These might appear to be odd questions, but their importance is slowly and silently growing. We cannot afford to ignore them - our answers will have a profound impact on the course of our society and the nature of church/state...

Separationists and the Separation of Church and State: Who Are They? What Do...
As a general rule, separationists are those who support the separation between church and state. The level of support will vary, however. The strictest of separationists advocate separation in every way and on every level. They deny that the federal government has absolutely any power over religion whatsoever, and as a consequence, they argue...

Nonpreferentialists and the Separation of Church and State: Who Are They?...
In the debate about the separation of church and state, the perspective known as nonpreferentialism is best understood as a subset of accomodationism. Like accommodationists, the non-preferentialists also oppose the recent legal trend which has emphasized stricter separation, and advocate instead a closer relationship between religious groups...

Accommodationists and Separation of Church and State: Who Are They? What Do...
The accommodationist approach to the separation of church and state opposes the separationist approach which has been dominant in the courts. According to accommodationists, the First Amendment should be read much more narrowly than it has been in recent years. Some go so far as to argue that the First Amendment prohibits the government from...

Theocrats and the Separation of Church and State: Who Are the Theocrats? What...
The most extreme position opposed to separationism in all of its forms is held by those who can be called 'theocrats,' these are people who wish to create a theocratic government in the United States. To state it plainly, the theocrats consider even the most conservative Christians in the Religious Right to not be 'godly' enough.

Corporations, Churches, and Free Speech: Understanding the Role of Individuals
Should corporations have the same free speech rights as individuals, or is their status a 'fictional' people such that they can be more tightly regulated? A recent Supreme Court decision suggests that the stanards should and will be different - but what are the implications for churches and other religious groups?

Defining Religious Freedom: James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance
There is a lot of disagreement and debate in America over the meaning and value of the separation of church and state. Some hold it to be inviolate while others deny that it does or should exist. In the arguments over Jefferson's metaphor of a "wall of separation," however, the concerns of James Madison, who wrote the First Amendment, tend to be lost.

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