PART II - cont.
Religious Fundamentalism and the Public Schools
During the past two decades, the public schools of America have largely come to be perceived by religious fundamentalists as dominated by "secular humanism." Writing almost a decade ago, Senator Jesse Helms expressed a view that is widely shared today by religious fundamentalists: "When the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited children from participating in voluntary prayers in public schools, the conclusion is inescapable that the Supreme Court not only violated the right of free exercise of religion of all America; it also established a national religion in the United States -- the religion of secular humanism."
In the seventies and eighties, "secular humanism" has gradually become a code word for explaining all the evils in American society, largely replacing "communism," as used in the fifties and sixties as the greatest threat facing America and its democratic institutions. "Godless communists" and "their fellow travelers" of only a few decades ago are now labeled "secular humanists." In the words of Tim LaHaye, one of the founders of the Moral Majority, "secular humanism" is "the world's greatest evil." In a series of widely distributed books on "secular humanism," LaHaye charges that most of the evils in the world today can be traced to "secular humanism," which he sees as having taken over the government, the media, and education in America. Similarly, Pat Robertson is fond of arguing that "secular humanists" have stolen the government, the courts, and the public schools from America's God-fearing majority, and it is up to Christians to win back these institutions. The allegedly pervasive influence of "secular humanism" is seen by its foes as constituting a new form of religious establishment.
While "secular humanism" is perceived by religious fundamentalists as being widespread, even dominant, throughout American society, the focus of their crusade against "secular humanism" is the public schools. That is where, it is charged, the "immoral indoctrination" of impressionable minds is occurring. The charge is twofold: contrary to the United States Supreme Court decisions on religion and the public schools, the public schools are teaching a religion to children that is antithetical to "Judeo-Christian values"; and the religion being taught is "secular humanism." To its adversaries, "secular humanism" embodies antimoral and anti-Christian ideas that undergird the liberal educational and political philosophy that has come to control America in recent decades. Opposition to "secular humanism" in the public schools has expressed itself in the censorship of public school textbooks, objection to the teaching of evolution, and widespread disapproval of various courses in the public school curriculum, particularly in social studies. "Secular humanism" is blamed for progressive education, the exclusion of religion from the public schools, the decline of ethical and moral values, sexual promiscuity, the rise of drug abuse, and the waning of respect for authority.
The public schools are both broadly and vigorously denounced by many religious fundamentalists. Special blame for the triumph of "secular humanism" is placed on the United States Supreme Court. In the words of Pat Robertson, the Supreme Court's decisions on religion and the public schools made "atheism the only acceptable religion for America's school children." Charging that the public schools have suffered "an inculturation of values totally contrary to the Judeo-Christian tradition," Robertson recently singled out the public schools as being "so fallen that they have become jungles." He has predicted that in the next twenty years all schools in America will be private. In his book, The Battle for the Public Schools, LaHaye has charged that "public schools have become conduits to the minds of our youth, training them to be anti-God, antimoral, anti-family, anti-free enterprise, and anti-American." "Public education," he wrote, "is controlled by elitists with an atheistic, humanistic viewpoint." In a similar vein, Jimmy Swaggart has declared, "The public school system, gutted by secular humanism, is literally attacking the home, the family, the structure of this country." "I don't have any good words about the public school system. If it weren't for the Christian school system, this country would have gone to Hell in a handbasket." The charge is repeatedly made that the Supreme Court's decisions outlawing public school-sponsored religious education classes, prayer, and devotional Bible reading in the public schools officially established "secular humanism" in the public schools. Thereby, it is said, the Supreme Court joined atheists and agnostics in considering traditional religion irrelevant. "Secular humanism" is perceived to be the established religion of the public schools, which have been called "government seminaries of secular humanism."
In recent years, most of the battles over public school textbooks, often resulting in the adoption of strict guidelines of censorship, have centered around the issue of the incorporation of the teachings of "secular humanism." Until recently, however, by and large the courts have not been willing to uphold parental grievances against the public school curriculum and public school textbooks. In one of the most widely publicized censorship cases, Williams v. Board of Education of County of Kanawha ( 1975), a West Virginia Federal District Court rejected the charges of some parents that a series of English textbooks undermined their religious beliefs and established the religion of "secular humanism" in the public schools. The Court ruled that it would take "a complete loosening of the imagination" to conclude that the inclusion of allegedly godless and profane books in the public schools constitutes an establishment of the religion of "secular humanism." The West Virginia decision was consistent with a New York case some years earlier, Rosenberg v. Board of Education of City of New York ( 1949), in which that court denied the appeal of parents to ban certain classics in English literature (e.g., Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and the The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare) that were found to be offensive on religious grounds. Similarly, the Michigan Appellate Court ruled against curriculum grievances based upon religious views of the plaintiffs in Todd v. Rochester Community Schools ( 1972).
In the 1980s, legislation has been introduced in several states to disallow those subjects in the public school curriculum that are viewed to be incompatible with basic Christian teachings. On the local level, book banning and book censorship have taken place in public schools throughout the country. This nationwide movement has been led and supported by a variety of organizations such as Pat Robertson's National Legal Foundation, the National Association of Christian Educators, Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, and Beverly LaHaye's Concerned Women for America. In Lake City, Florida, the school board removed Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Millers Tale" and Aristophanes' "Lysistrata" from the high school curriculum; in Newport News, Virginia, The Color Purple, Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, was removed from a high school library because of its "objectionable language"; in Omaha, Nebraska, the showing of a film version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was canceled because parents complained that the play "romanticizes teenage suicide"; and in South Umpqua, Oregon, the school board rejected a seventh-grade textbook, Introduction of Social Science, after a Christian group alleged that it contained "concepts that are controversial and inappropriate."
Without attempting to define it, religious fundamentalists increasingly identify "secular humanism" with any form of immoral behavior or breakdown of traditional moral values. Thus far, the witch hunt against "secular humanism" has not met with success, primarily because of the lack of any verifiable evidence to support the claim that "secular humanism" is being taught in the public schools. During the past decade, various action suits have been brought against the public schools for purportedly teaching "secular humanism." In 1976, in response to an action suit brought by the Montgomery County Maryland Citizen's Group, the Maryland State Board of Education concluded that "there is no evidence sufficient to show a conspiracy on the part of the Montgomery County public schools, its administrators, or teachers to instill in the students any particular form of life concept whether in accordance with or in opposition to the Judeo-Christian heritage." In conclusion, the Board declared,
[If] one attempts to define secularity itself as a religion, by demonstrating nothing more than its similarity to, or compatibility with, certain beliefs of those who profess to be "humanists," one's proof falls short of the requirements of this case. The position in which the schools would find themselves (whether caused by the Constitution, the courts, or by the schools themselves) would be intolerable, if, by carrying out their duty to remain solely in the secular domain, they could, by that fact alone, be guilty of elevating that secular domain to the status of an "established" religion. The Supreme Court rejected that very argument in Murray v. Cutlett and School District v. Schempp when it was advanced by the Attorney General of Maryland.
Thus, the petitioners' recommendation on "secular humanism" was denied.
In Missouri, parents of non-public school students challenged the way tax dollars were used by public schools in the city and county of St. Louis. Lawsuits were filed by some one hundred fifty taxpayers in the city of St. Louis and another group of five hundred taxpayers in St. Louis County. The lawsuits charged that the public schools teach a doctrine or a kind of religion of "secular humanism" in the classroom. This teaching, the plaintiffs argued, is "a kind of religion" that is just as illegal under the United States Constitution as a sectarian religion. The suit argued that the use of tax money for such purposes in the public schools is unconstitutional and, therefore, should be halted. As in Maryland, the suit was dismissed because the plaintiffs failed to offer any proof for their allegations.
Similarly, in California the plaintiffs argued that since an establishment of "secular humanism" had taken place in the state system of public education, parents ought to receive tuition grants for the education of their children in parochial or nonpublic schools. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the allegation as wholly insubstantial, finding no evidence to support the claim of hostility toward theistic religion. In response to such legal actions, James Luther Adams wrote, "What we must recognize here is the fundamentalists' basic skepticism of untethered public-school education, and their fear of academic freedom," a pattern that "is an alarming threat to open and free discussion."
Allegations over the teaching of "secular humanism" usually arise from those who use "secular humanism" as the basis of their objections to those teachings and textbooks with which they are in disagreement. There is considerable justification for the charge that "secular humanism" has become anything that religious fundamentalists find objectionable in the public school curriculum. It must be recognized, however, that simply to attach the label of "secular humanism" to those views with which one disagrees, even on religious grounds, does not justify the charge or mean that "the religion of secular humanism" is being taught in the public schools.
Meanwhile, religious fundamentalists have continued to carry on an unrelenting assault on the public schools. The action of the United States Supreme Court in Wallace v. Jaffree ( 1985), in ruling that the Alabama statute requiring a one-minute period of silence "for prayer or meditation" at the beginning of each day to be a "quintessential religious practice" and, therefore, unconstitutional. This decision further confirmed the fundamentalists' indictment of the public schools, since the Court's decision was seen as a "break-down of values" and hostility rather than neutrality toward religion. U.S. District Court Judge Brevard Hand, who originally upheld the Alabama law allowing silent prayer that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal, stated in a footnote that if his ruling were overturned he would go back and look carefully at the place of "secular humanism" in the schools.
In response to the vow made by Judge Hand in Wallace v. Jaffree, a group of 624 Christian fundamentalists in Mobile, Alabama have recently filed suit in Smith v. Wallace and Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County, demanding the removal of forty-eight textbooks which they allege promote "secular humanism" and have an "anti-Christian-theme." The trial is the first of its kind and obviously the stakes are much higher than similar past conflicts over scientific creationism or the use of alternative textbooks to replace those found to be objectionable by religious fundamentalists. In Alabama, the central issue is whether "secular humanism" constitutes a religion and, therefore, should be excluded from the public schools as violative of the principle of the separation of church and state. Since "secular humanism" was declared to be a religion by former governor George Wallace, the plaintiffs are seeking to have "secular humanism" ruled a religion by the court. The plaintiffs are supported in their litigation by the Freedom Council Fund, an organization of presidential aspirant
Pat Robertson, and the Eagle Forum, led by Phyllis Schlafly. A ruling is expected in early 1987. Once again, at issue in this federal court case is the effort of parents to force the curriculum of the public schools to conform to their own religious views. Whatever the ruling in this case, an appeal may be expected.
"Secular humanism" in the public schools has also recently become a burning issue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where a campaign is being waged against both "humanist" teachers and textbooks. As elsewhere, the battle in Wisconsin has brought charges from those who support the public schools that the attacks on "secular humanism" are motivated by a desire to denigrate the public schools and to advance parochial schools. Special attention must be given a Tennessee case, Mozert v. Hawkins County Public Schools, in which seven Christian fundamentalist families sought through court action to force the Hawkins County School Board to supply alternative readers to their children. The school board responded by adopting a resolution requiring teachers "to use only textbooks adopted by the Board of Education as regular classroom textbooks." No doubt recognizing that legislation mandating public school instruction in harmony with their fundamentalist views had been invalidated under the Establishment Clause, as in the Epperson case which denied the constitutionality of a state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution, the parents in the Mozert case opted for an exemption from the reading program on the basis of the Free Exercise Clause. In the words of Epperson, "The First Amendment does not permit the State to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma." Thus, the parents in the Mozert case based their argument for exemption on the Free Exercise Clause.
In Mozert, the parents claimed that "secular humanism" is being taught through the Holt Readers Series, a series of textbooks used in more than fifteen thousand school districts throughout all fifty states. The parents maintained that after reading the series "a child might adopt the views of a feminist, a humanist, a pacifist, an anti-Christian, a vegetarian, or an advocate of 'one-world government.'" Other charges against the books were that they are anti-Christian, "repulsive to the Christian faith," and teach values in conflict with the parents' own religious beliefs.
The parents protested against reading selections that embraced discussions about evolution and death and dying and to illustrations such as one showing a boy cooking and a girl reading, which the parents maintained contradicts the gender roles established in the Bible. Objection was raised to one textbook that discussed art because of a sentence which read, "A central idea of the Renaissance was a belief in the dignity and worth of human beings." Still another charge was that magicians are mentioned more in the readers than is God. Offensive passages were found in books such as The Diary of Anne Frank, since one of the passages implies that all religions are equal, and The Wizard of Oz, because it portrays a good witch and teaches that courage, intelligence, and other traits are individually developed rather than God-given.
At issue throughout the trial was the charge of the parents that compulsory reading of the selected textbooks "interferes with the inherent right of a parent to 'direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.'" On 24 October 1986, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas G. Hull, in a twenty-seven page opinion, ruled that the schools violated the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution by requiring fundamentalist Christian children to read textbooks that offend their religious beliefs. He said that the students are "entitled to opt out" of those parts of the school program that offend them and, therefore, public schools could not expel students for refusing to read books that are in conflict with their religious beliefs. In his decision, Judge Hull declared, "The state can achieve literacy and good citizenship for all students without forcing them to read the Holt Series." "The uniform compulsory use of the Holt Series...is by no means essential to furthering the state's goals" of educating students.
While Hull stopped short of granting the parents' request that schools be required to supply alternative textbooks in line with the parents' views, his ruling sought accommodation to the religious views of Christian fundamentalists in the same manner, he reasoned, that the Supreme Court over the past two decades has required government institutions to accommodate the religious views of such groups as the Amish, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventists. Later, Judge Hull ordered the school board to pay $50,521.59 in damages for the seven families' "out-of-pocket" expenses as a result of the expulsion of the students who refused to use the texts. The Hawkins County School Board has appealed Hull's decision to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
For more than half a century, religious fundamentalists have also waged a campaign to eliminate, or at least to restrict, the teaching of evolution. During the twenties, anti-evolutionary bills were introduced in numerous state legislatures, including statutes' outlawing the use of "evolutionary" textbooks, although the vast majority of these were either never passed or, as in Oklahoma, repealed. The Scopes trial of 1925, challenging a Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution, met with defeat. The Supreme Court's decision, however, in Epperson v. Arkansas ( 1968) clearly invalidated state laws prohibiting the teaching of evolution in the public schools. In its decision, the Court declared, "There can be no doubt that Arkansas sought to prevent its teachers from discussing the theory of evolution because it is contrary to the belief of some that the Book of Genesis must be the exclusive source of doctrine as to the origin of man.... It is clear that fundamentalist sectarian conviction was and is the law's reason for existence." Thus, the new tactic adopted by religious fundamentalists during the seventies and the eighties was no longer aimed at promoting anti-evolution legislation, but rather to argue for the inclusion of "scientific creationism" along with evolution in the public school curriculum. After the Epperson decision, more than twenty states enacted legislation mandating the teaching of "scientific creationism" on an equal basis with evolution.
The creationist movement suffered its greatest setback in January 1982, when the Arkansas law mandating the teaching of "creation-science" in the public schools was struck down in McClain v. Arkansas Board of Education by United States District Judge William H. Overton. A similar law was enacted in Louisiana in 1981 and was subsequently declared unconstitutional in 1985 ( Edwards v. Aguillard) by a federal district judge, without ordering a trial, as a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district judge's decision. The case has now been accepted on appeal by the United States Supreme Court and oral arguments are scheduled for December, with a decision anticipated by July 1987. The Court will have to decide first whether the district court was correct in summarily striking down the law without a trial, and, then, if there are no procedural problems the Court will be free to rule on the merits of the case itself. In spite of numerous setbacks, "scientific creationism" remains one of the major issues in the confrontation between religious fundamentalists and the public schools, with evolution viewed as "a cornerstone of secular humanism."
All three of these court cases are based on the claim of religious fundamentalists that "secular humanism" pervades the public schools. The establishment of "secular humanism" in the public schools is seen not only as antithetical to Judeo-Christian values but also as a violation of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. In pursuing this argument, however, religious fundamentalists find themselves in the incongruous position of raising objections regarding government neutrality toward religion and the separation of church and state that they readily apply to the religion of "secular humanism" in the public schools but are not willing to apply in like manner to Judeo-Christian teachings and values in the public schools. If the Establishment Clause prohibits the teaching of the "religion of secular humanism," must it not also prohibit the teaching of tenets and values of Christianity? Ironically, the claim that the teaching of "the religion of secular humanism" in the public schools is violative of the rulings of the Supreme Court on the Establishment Clause is made by those very antagonists are the most prone to deplore the Courts' decisions themselves.
In the past, litigation initiated by religious fundamentalists has been primarily over fairly narrow or particular issues whereas there is now evidence of a much broader effort being made to challenge the entire public school curriculum itself. On the one hand, considerable effort is being given to supporting the Christian day school movement throughout the country and, on the other hand, attempts are being made to compel the public school curriculum to accommodate to the fundamentalist beliefs of parents of pupils in the public schools. The charge that "secular humanism" is the religion taught in the public schools is deeply rooted in the notion that neutrality in the public schools toward particular religious faiths or traditions constitutes the teaching of "secular humanism" as a philosophical worldview. The very term "secular humanism" has come to be identified by religious fundamentalists with everything taught in public education that does not reenforce their own religious beliefs. The assumption is that, since public school teachers may not teach courses such as biology, history, government, or English from a religious point of view (e.g., Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist), public school educators are inevitably engaged, whether consciously or not, in espousing a philosophy of secularism in which moral and religious values are trivialized and/or denied.
Much of the litigation against the public school curriculum is based on a paranoid belief in a vast conspiracy of "secular humanists" who are plotting to take over the public schools and ultimately the nation. Concerning this conspiracy theory, Martin Marry has written: "A few years ago I did my best to find the Secular Humanist Conspiracy that the New Christian Right was making so much of. Secular we found, humanism we found, but no two secular or humanist people seem to agree with each other and they were unable to mount a conspiracy. So the Secular Humanist Conspiracy survived only as a fund-raising and votegetting device of its opposition. It was a kind of bogey to scare the Bejeezus out of kids and get them to pray at home, of all places, ever since the Supreme Court took God out of the public schools."
To see "secular humanism" lurking behind every public school and every public educator has been aptly called "a paranoid delusion." The "secular humanism" that the fundamentalists are attacking is the classic mode of what American historian Richard Hofstadter has called "the paranoid style in American Politics." Perpetrators of the myth of "secular humanism" and the public schools have created the idea of a conspiracy where none actually exists. In responding to the inclusion of the prohibition in the Education for Economic Security Act ( 1984), barring a school district from receiving funds to finance any course that the school district determines is "secular humanism," Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed that neither he nor any of those he knew who assisted in the drafting of the Act "know of any school district that teaches secular humanism. I'm not sure anyone knows what secular humanism is.... Certainly, no schools affected by the legislation" teach it.
Meanwhile, the very notion that students in the public schools should only be exposed to those concepts and that body of knowledge that are compatible with the values and beliefs of their parents is to threaten the freedom and integrity of education itself. It is not difficult to imagine that there is some part of almost any public school textbook that could be found incompatible with the religious views of at least one parent. The result could mean a revision of the public school curricula and a wholesale reediting of textbooks throughout America in ways that would destroy the educational reliability of the textbooks themselves.
Much of the opposition to public school textbooks has been perpetrated by those who seek to Christianize the public schools, to make them more responsive to their own sectarian religious views, rather than have them remain in schools in which a secular or nonreligious approach to the study of history, science, government, and literature prevails.
In an increasingly pluralistic society, the public school curriculum cannot be made to conform to the particular religious beliefs of every parent of every child enrolled in the public schools. It is to be hoped, however, that respect will be shown in textbooks for all religious beliefs and that the public schools will give greater attention to the role of religion in the history of man and civilization. The issues currently raised by religious fundamentalists over the public school curriculum represent a classic example of a conflict between the claims of the Free Exercise and the Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment, the resolution of which is crucial to public education.
JCS 29 (WINTER 1987): 7 - 17
The Prophetic Role of Religion in Society
More than thirty years ago, Reinhold Niebuhr wrote a perceptive analysis of the American republic to which he gave the provocative title, The Irony of American History. Nowhere is this "irony of American history" more evident than in the role of religion played in a republic conceived and founded as a secular state. On the one hand, the important social and political role played by religion in American society has been widely recognized by both American and European observers throughout this nation's history. On the other hand, the United States has been frequently described as "the oldest secular state" and, indeed, "the most thoroughgoing, if not the only truly secular state." A few years after his book on American history, Niebuhr addressed this particular paradox in a volume of essays published under the title of Pious and Secular America, in which he argued that America was more secular than any other nation, but also was more religious.
To anyone unacquainted with American history, such affirmations would appear to be in conflict and totally irreconcilable. Any characterization of America as a secular state would suggest to many, in the absence of acquaintance with American history, that religion is in some way limited only to the private sphere and, therefore, isolated from the currents of American public life or the body politic that the role of churches and synagogues, as well as religion in general, is relegated to the essentially personal and private concerns of American citizens. Such an impression, however, would be completely contrary to the reality of the American experience.
Religion has clearly played a formative role in the shaping of American national and public life. While church-state separation, the institutional independence of church and state, has been both a constitutional and political reality in the United States, it would be difficult to conceive of a nation in which there has been closer interpenetration of religion and society. Religion has been inextricably intertwined with America's nationhood, its national holidays, and the civil and political liberties guaranteed its citizens. To many, any reference to a "pious and secular America" or the formative role of religion in a nation in which the concept of the secular state is constitutionally guaranteed would seem, at least at first glance, a strange contradiction or an obvious incongruity.
This church-state paradox did not escape the notice of observers during the early history of this republic. Nineteenthcentury visitors to America were impressed with the fact that here they found, on the one hand, a constitutional guarantee of church-state separation and, on the other hand, the unmistakable influence of religion on the total life of the republic. It was this very paradox that prompted Alexis de Tocqueville, a French Catholic, "to inquire how it happened that the real authority of religion was increased by a state of things which diminished its apparent force."
Tocqueville came to see that church-state separation had a direct bearing on the influence of religion on American society. From individual members of the clergy, both Catholic and Protestant, he found that "they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state," and among Americans generally he found that religion was regarded as "indispensable to the maintaining of republic institutions." Tocqueville wrote, "On my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things. In France, I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found that they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the country." The irony of church-state separation and the interaction of religion and society was succinctly expressed by Tocqueville as follows: "Religion in America takes no part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the first of its political institutions."
Writing in 1837, Francis Grund, a Bohemian, observed that "the religious habits of the Americans form not only the basis of their private and public morals, but have become so thoroughly interwoven with their whole course of legislation that it would be impossible to change them without affecting the very essence of their government." Like Tocqueville, Grund found that to Americans religion was indissolubly linked with the life of the nation. "Religion presides over their councils," Grund wrote, "aids in the execution of the laws, and adds to the dignity of the judges."
The fact that religion has had and continues to have a major influence on American life ought not to be viewed as incompatible with the American principle of the separation of church and state or the concept of America as a secular state. While the Establishment Clause has been repeatedly declared by the United States Supreme Court to mean the separation of church and state, America has been marked throughout its history by the closest interpenetration of religion and society. Religion in America has never been confined to its institutional expression, namely churches and synagogues, but is enshrined in much of the life of the nation its documents, its laws, and its institutions. One contemporary American church historian, Sidney Mead, has perceptively written of this interaction of religion and society in America as "the nation with the soul of a church."
One of the Supreme Court's most ardent church-state separationists, the late Associate Justice William O. Douglas, in a famous church-state case, Zorach v. Clausen, declared, "We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.... Government may not finance religious groups nor undertake religious instruction nor blend secular and sectarian education nor use secular institutions to force one or some religion on any person. But we find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and throw its weight against efforts to widen the effective scope of religious influence."
In the American experience, the secular state and the religious society are not contradictions. Rather, as Peter Drucker wrote some years ago in a small volume for the Center for Democratic Institutions at Santa Barbara, California, "It is basic to the American creed that a society can only be religious if religion and the state are radically separated, and that the state can only be free if society is basically a religious society."
The present tendency to denigrate the concept of America as a secular state and to disparage any reference to the phrase "separation of church and state" is a familiar theme in American history. Some have long maintained that the guarantees of the First Amendment were consciously formulated to limit the federal government's jurisdiction over religion only to protect the right of state establishment of religion and state sovereignty over the free exercise of religion. In this way, the federal government gave tacit recognition to the pluralism of religion within the states and the respective patterns of church-state relationships among the states.
Unease over the concept of America as a secular state and the denial of any form of religious establishment or identity were met with strong utterances of denunciation. Soon after the ratification of the religion clauses of the First Amendment, numerous voices of dissent lamented that no acknowledgment had been made to God, let alone to Jesus Christ, in the supreme legal document of the land. Rev. John M. Mason of New York in 1793 bemoaned that the Constitution made no reference to God or even claimed a religious foundation of the new nation. "Should the citizens of America be as irreligious as her Constitution," he wrote, "we will have reason to tremble, lest the Governor of the universe, who will not be treated with indignity by a people any more than by individuals, overturn from its foundations the fabric we have been rearing, and crush us to atoms in the wreck."
America's theocrats were quick to recognize the secular character accorded the new republic by its Constitution. Indeed, Rev. Samuel Austin bemoaned in 1811, the Constitution "is entirely disconnected from Christianity. It is not founded on the Christian religion." Some, as Rev. Samuel Taggart, found the very absence of any reference to Christ in the Constitution to be "a national evil of great magnitude." Another minister, Chauncey Lee, lamented that "the Constitution has not the impress of religion upon it, not the smallest recognition of the government being of God." Rev. Jedidiah Morse found the omission of God from the Constitution to mean that America, like Israel of old, was doomed. It is "a great sin to have forgotten God in such an important national instrument," proclaimed Rev. George Duffield, "and not to have acknowledged Him in that which forms the very nerves and sinews of the political body." Some, as Rev. James Wilson, castigated the founding fathers for reflecting "a degree of ingratitude, perhaps without parallel," in drafting a constitution "in which there is not the slightest hint of homage to the God of Heaven."
While most nineteenth-century theocrats, as in the twentieth century, accepted the wisdom of the separation of a particular church from the state, they repeatedly reaffirmed their view of America as a Christian state, with a "manifest destiny; divinely ordered." The very notion of the secular state or the separation of church and state was viewed as antithetical to Christian faith. In a famous fourth of July sermon delivered in Philadelphia in 1827, Ezra Stiles Ely expressed the hope of many theocrats. "I propose fellow citizens," said Ely, "a new sort of union, or, if you please a Christian party in politics." If Christians -Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, and Congregationalists -- would unite at the polls, Ely declared, they "could govern every public election in our country." "We are a Christian nation: we have the right to demand that all our rulers in their conduct shall conform to Christian morality; and if they do not, it is the duty of Christian freemen to make a new and a better election." Horace Bushnell and others throughout the nineteenth century expressed the hope that "at some fit time" an acknowledgment of God's sovereignty would be added to the preamble of the Constitution.
In 1863, in an effort to channel the concerns of many over the secular character of the Constitution and its omission of any reference to deity or to Christ, the National Reform Association was organized with representatives from eleven Protestant denominations. One of the Association's stated purposes was "to secure such an amendment to the Constitution of the United States as will declare the nation's allegiance to Jesus Christ and its acceptance of the moral laws of the Christian religion, and so indicate that this is a Christian nation, and place all the Christian laws, institutions, and usages of our government on an undeniably legal basis in the fundamental law of the land."
The Association petitioned the Congress to amend the preamble of the Constitution to begin with these words, "We, the people of the United States, humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Ruler among the nations, His revealed will as the supreme law of the land, in order to constitute a Christian government...." The House Judiciary Committee in 1874 voted on the proposed amendment and recommended its rejection. A fundamental argument of the National Reform Association was based on the proposition of the "impossibility of State neutrality in religion and morals," an argument often used today in support of accommodation rather than separation of church and state. The dissolution of the Association did not come until 1945, only to be succeeded by a similar organization known as the Christian Amendment Movement founded in 1946. The amendment, supported by many of the more conservative Protestants, affirmed that "this nation devoutly recognizes the authority and law of Jesus Christ, Saviour and Ruler of nations, through whom are bestowed the blessings of Almighty God."
While these views of America's theocrats of the nineteenth century did not by any means represent the views of a majority of the citizenry, the view of a Christian America was vigorously defended by a number of America's religious leaders of the period. It should be said, however, that these views were also vehemently denounced by many other religious, as well as political, leaders as incompatible with America as a secular state and a land of religious freedom.
The concept of a Christian America has experienced a resurgence in twentieth-century America, particularly during the eighties, among those citizens who continue to find the view of America as a secular state to be incompatible with their religious faith and their perception of America as a nation. The notion also persists that the secular state with its corollary of the separation of church and state inevitably requires the privatization of religion and a denial of its prophetic role in society. Just how this link is made is difficult to comprehend, since the prophetic role of religion in society is rooted in an authentic and free exercise of religion that necessarily arises independently of the norms of political or social establishment.
The thinking is widespread that the secular state, like the principle of church-state separation, is inherently in conflict with the prophetic or public role of religion in society. All too frequently it is assumed that to be a separationist is to be opposed to the role of religion in public affairs and that separation of church and state necessarily means the noninvolvement of religion in society. Separationists are often charged with holding the view that religion should concern itself with only private and religious affairs. This view of religion is widely shared by Marxists. Some American writers have contributed to this confusion by falsely identifying the separation of church and state with the separation of religion from society and public affairs.
Separation of church and state, it may well be argued, makes possible a genuinely prophetic role of religion by freeing it of institutional alliances with the state that would modify or mute its prophetic voice. In America, the institutional independence or separation of church and state has been a natural ally of the prophetic role of religion in society and, therefore, has contributed enormously to the interpenetration of religion and society. The vast array of social and welfare departments maintained by the churches and synagogues of America and the large network of church offices on public affairs in state capitals and the nation's capital are uniquely American phenomena, the significance of which remains no matter what one's assessment may be of the effectiveness of the involvement of organized religion in the body politic.
Nevertheless, there is a popular assumption that to subscribe to separation of church and state is to embrace the view of religion's noninvolvement in public affairs and the body politic. The American Jewish community, among many others, stands as a refutation of this assumption. While American Jewry has long strongly supported church-state separation in the United States, recent studies have continued to show that the Jewish community and Jewish organizations are perhaps the most involved of all major communities of faith on matters of political affairs and public policy.
The church that is relatively free of institutional alliances and entanglements with the state is one that is most favored to be able to carry out the prophetic role of religion in society through its free and authentic witness. Far from being a contradiction, the institutional separation of church and state makes possible genuine interaction between communities of faith and political society a living reality. To the degree that a church is allied with the institutions of the state -- economic, political, or social -- to that degree it is in bondage and its prophetic role is abridged.
As Ronald J. McAllister wrote in the Winter 1988 issue of this journal, "It is a mistake to assume that the separation of church and state will or should imply the separation of church and society." To be sure, the prophetic role of religion in society means far more than mere involvement of religion in society. The prophetic role of religion necessarily calls into question the status quo -- society as it is or sees itself to be. The prophetic role of religion is necessarily to be about the business of questioning the established order, refusing to sanctify traditions not in harmony with the norms of one's faith, advancing justice, and promoting the general welfare of society. The prophetic role of religion is not to be found in the advocacy of social traditionalism, economic libertarianism, nuclear arms buildup, American nationalism, or a militant anticommunism. To make religion a tool of social privilege and power, a widespread feature of religion in America, is a denial of the prophetic role of religion in society.
Finally, it must be remembered that religion is almost always accorded recognition and even the blessing of the state, albeit the totalitarian state, as long as religion supports the national interests and public policies of the state, as in the Third Reich or the most atheistic socialist countries today. Religion may be tolerated and even patronized in the totalitarian state as long as religion assumes a subservient role, one that is supportive of the nation's declared interests and stated policies. It is only when the prophetic role of religion that is exercised calls into question the declared interests and policies of the state, that the right of communities of faith to be involved in society is most likely to be challenged and even denounced by the state, whether communist or democratic. The simple truth is that the separation of church and state is the channel by which the prophetic role of religion may be realized and fulfilled.
JCS 30 (SPRING 1988 ): 219 -25
Making a Nation's Flag a Sacred Symbol
O n 21 June 1989, the United States Supreme Court, by a vote of five to four in Texas v. Johnson, sided with the courts of Texas in ruling that the defendant's act of burning the American flag during a protest rally was an act of political expression protected by the First Amendment. "If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment," Justice William J. Brennan wrote for the majority, "it is that Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable," even where the American flag is involved.
The response to the Court's decision was immediate and overwhelmingly vociferous in its denunciation of the Court's decision. Joining in the chorus led by President George C. Bush were many members of Congress of both parties, many veterans' organizations, and editorials in many newspapers and periodicals, including the editor of The Christian Century. President Bush almost immediately after the Court's decision proposed a constitutional amendment to the Bill of Rights which would read: "The Congress and the states shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." Still others, including some leading members of the Congress, proposed that the Court's decision be overturned by a statute that would explicitly prohibit any form of physical "desecration" of the flag. More than fifty resolutions relating to flag burning were introduced in the Congress. The Court's decision provoked a highly emotional controversy, made all the more so by those who saw the American flag as a sacred symbol of America's nationhood.
Shortly after the Court's decision the American Bar Association appointed a committee of nine distinguished jurists, chaired by Randolph W. Thrower, to study the issue. The committee unanimously recommended that neither a constitutional amendment nor a statute to prohibit flag-burning was needed or desirable. Any such attempt to ban flag-burning, the committee said, would "constitute an unwarranted restriction of freedom of speech," would be a dangerous precedent, would probably not advance greater respect for the flag, and could well give further incentive to those dissenters who aspire to being martyrs.
The Court's decision on flag-burning is an important one, made all the more so because of its many ramifications and the public outcry that it provoked. During the Republican National Convention in Dallas in 1984, Gregory Lee Johnson participated in a political demonstration, referred to as the "Republican War Chest Tour," to protect the policies of the Reagan administration and certain Dallas-based corporations. In a demonstration in front of the Dallas City Hall, Johnson took a flag handed him by one of the approximately one hundred protesters and doused it with kerosene and set it on fire. While the flag was burning the protestors chanted, "America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you." Of the demonstrators Johnson alone was charged with the "desecration" of a venerated object in violation of the Texas Penal Code and was convicted. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the decision, holding that the State of Texas could not, consistent with the First Amendment, impose a penalty on Johnson for burning the flag under the circumstances.
The Supreme Court, in line with the ruling of the Court of Criminal Appeals, found Johnson's act of flag burning to be symbolic "speech" contemplated by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court also concurred with the Court of Criminal Appeals that neither the flag's special status as a symbol of national unity was endangered nor was there an incitement to "breach the peace" in the defendant's burning of the flag. Citing the Supreme Court's decision in West Virginia v. Barnette ( 1943), in which the Court struck down a state statute that required the flag salute of all school children and did so primarily on the basis of free speech, the Court of Criminal Appeals reasoned that to rule against the defendant would be impermissible since it would mean the curtailing of his free speech. "Recognizing that the right to differ is the centerpiece of our First Amendment freedoms," the Court of Criminal Appeals noted, "a government cannot mandate by fiat a feeling of unity in its citizens. Therefore, the very same government cannot carve out a symbol of unity and prescribe a set of approved messages to be associated with that symbol when it cannot mandate the status or feeling the symbol purports to represent."
In deciding Texas v. Johnson on the basis of free speech, the Supreme Court conceded that it had rejected, as in United States v. O'Brien ( 1968), "the view that an apparently limitless variety of conduct can be labeled 'speech' whenever the person engaging in the conduct intends thereby to express an idea," but reaffirmed its finding in Spence v. Washington ( 1974) that conduct may be "sufficiently imbued with elements of communication to fall within the scope of the First and Fourteenth Amendments." In deciding whether a particular conduct may be viewed as a form of communication and thereby protected by the First Amendment, the Court has used two tests: namely, whether "an intent to convey a particularized message was present" and whether "the likelihood was great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it." On this basis the Court noted that it upheld: the wearing of black armbands to protest American involvement in the Vietnam War in Tinker v. Des Moines ( 1969); a sit-in by blacks in a "whites only" area to protest segregation in Brown v. Louisiana ( 1966); a variety of cases involving the right of picketing; and the right of school children not to salute the flag as in the case of Barnette. Thus, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the finding of the Court of Criminal
Appeals that Johnson's act of flag burning was "expressive conduct" that was "imbued with elements of communication."
The Supreme Court took particular note of the Texas argument based upon its flag desecration statute in preserving the flag as a symbol of America's "nationhood and national unity" and, therefore, in prohibiting an act such as performed by the defendant as one in conflict with the state's declared interest. To prohibit the expression of an idea that the state finds offensive is in violation, the Court declared, of "a bedrock principle of the First Amendment," a principle the Court had applied twenty years earlier to words critical of the flag in Street v. New York ( 1969). In that case the Court declared that "the constitutionally guaranteed 'freedom to be intellectually... diverse or even contrary,' and the 'right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order,' encompass the freedom to express publicly one's opinions which are defiant or contemptuous."
Nor may the state require that citizens show respect for the flag, as in the case of compulsory flag salute. To do so, as the Court stated in Barnette more than forty-five years ago, is "to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual's right to speak his own mind, left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind." As Justice Robert H. Jackson declared in his majority opinion in Barnette, "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."
Aside from the constitutional question of free speech that necessarily arises out of the state's attempt, either by statute or constitutional amendment, to prohibit an expressive act of physical desecration of the flag of the United States, many other points at issue remain. Some of these the Court acknowledged in its majority opinion. For example, the Court said, if it permitted the state to prohibit flag-burning whenever it endangered the flag's symbolic role of nationhood and national unity, but to allow it whenever a person ceremoniously burns a discarded flag, "We would be permitting a State to 'prescribe what shall be orthodox' by saying that one may burn the flag to convey one's attitude toward it and its referents only if one does not endanger the flag's representation of nationhood and national unity."
Indeed, for two decades the Supreme Court has upheld the right of political protestors charged with defacing or trashing the flag. Furthermore, the Court affirmed, since it had never previously held that only one point of view could be expressed of a symbol, be it the Constitution, the presidential seal, or state flags, not even when it involved concepts in conflict with established public policy on civil rights or the nation's engagement in war, "We decline...to create for the flag an exception to the joust of principles protected by the First Amendment." While the state has a legitimate interest, the Court said, in preserving the national flag as a national symbol and encouraging its proper treatment, that "is not to say that it may criminally punish a person for burning a flag as a means of political protest."
Even if an exception were to be made in outlawing any "desecration" of the American flag, would the prohibition apply to any commercial exploitation of the flag? Would it apply to the flag on billboards, ceramics, jewelry, or clothing should they be publicly defaced or destroyed as an expression of political protest? Would obscene gestures or obscene language directed at the flag in some display of public protest also be a form of "desecration" of the flag? If, indeed, it is constitutional to outlaw the "desecration" of the flag, why not a constitutional amendment to outlaw the "desecration" of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, or the National Anthem? These questions cannot be summarily dismissed as irrelevant or trivial to the issue raised by a constitutional amendment that seeks "to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."
Finally, the Court reasoned that its decision prohibiting criminal punishment for burning the flag would not endanger the flag or its special place in the hearts of American citizens. In fact, since the decision is one of reaffirmation of the freedom and inclusiveness that the flag represents, the Court declared that "the flag's deservedly cherished place in our community will be strengthened, not weakened, by our holding today." At the close of its opinion, the Court offered the view that the way to preserve the role of the flag in the life of the nation is not to punish those who would burn it, but rather to persuade them that they are wrong.
The furor created by the Court's decision raises fundamental questions regarding America as a secular state and the constitutionality of political expression that is offensive to society generally. The constitutional amendment proposed by the president would prohibit the "desecration" of the flag, but how is it possible to "desecrate" a secular symbol of a secular state? One can desecrate something that is sacred or religious, but on what basis is the American flag to be perceived as being a sacred or religious symbol, which such an amendment presumes the flag to be?
In an editorial essay in Time magazine, 28 August 1989, Frank Trippett appropriately wrote, "If the flag is now a secular symbol, would an amendment against desecrating it transform it, by implication, into a sacred symbol? Would such an act approximate the founding of a state religion?" These are critical questions that need to be addressed and should not be avoided, particularly in a decade in which religion has not only pervaded the body politic but has often been used as the handmaiden of politicians for political purposes. Now to imbue the flag of the United States with language that would make it a sacred symbol is to distort the basic meaning of the flag and the nature of America's nationhood, which is secular and not sacred, human and not divine.
To make sacred a nation's flag is idolatry and contributes to making the state the object of supreme allegiance and loyalty even when it lays claim to being a democracy. Nationalism and patriotism are thereby made matters of ultimate concern. There is something particularly incongruous about prohibiting the "desecration" of the American flag, since the very enforcement of such an amendment would be a denial of that which lies at the heart of the symbol itself -- the right of dissent which means nothing less than the right to be free. In responding to the Court's decision, President Bush vehemently asserted that the American flag is too "sacred" to allow it to be desecrated, even in an act of political protest. The constitutional amendment proposed by the president would abridge freedom in the name of patriotism. Justice Brennan rightly observed, "We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in so doing we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents."
The proclivity of Americans to make sacred their national symbols and the nation-state they represent and to invoke the name of God in support of American nationalism and American patriotism seriously threatens the very essence of America's nationhood and the integrity of authentic religious faith. In doing so, the state becomes an idol and religion is profaned.
JCS 31 (AUTUMN 1989 ): 375 -80
The Branch Davidian Standoff: An American Tragedy
For fifty-one days, the drama of the Branch Davidian standoff in Central Texas was given daily coverage by the media throughout the world. From the time of the assault on the Branch Davidian compound on Sunday morning, 28 February 1993, by approximately one hundred federal agents, during which four agents and six Davidians within the compound were killed and sixteen agents and an indeterminate number of Davidians were wounded, to the drama's fateful fiery climax on Monday, 19 April, in which at least eighty-six persons in the compound (including seventeen children) lost their lives, the flow of news stories remained constant. Daily reports were released by the press, radio, and television, with several feature cover stories appearing in weekly news magazines. Cover stories of the standoff appeared in major news magazines such as Time and Newsweek.
From the very beginning, the confrontation between federal agents and the Branch Davidians provoked a storm of controversy and acrimonious debate. It should be kept in mind that the Branch Davidians had not been charged with any crime. The initial assault by approximately one hundred armed agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on the compound occupied by little more than one hundred Branch Davidians, more than half of whom were women and children, was itself an unprecedented government operation against a religious group.
The use of a powerful chemical, O-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS), by the FBI on the final day of the standoff raised further questions as to the methods employed by the government in its assault on the Branch Davidians. The fine white powder chemical was blown into the compound for approximately six hours. Banned for United States military use and earlier this year banned at the Chemical Weapons Convention in Paris by more than one hundred nations, including the United States, CS has been declared by Amnesty International to be "particularly dangerous" when "launched directly into homes or other buildings." One weapons expert, Paul Hoven, charged that he doubted with the use of CS that members of the compound would have been able to find their way. "Exposed to CS," he said, "I doubt they would have been able to run and get the kids. Certainly, the children would have been out of control and it would have been a very difficult situation."
All the more puzzling was the government's stated purpose for this type of military operation: to issue a search warrant to David Koresh to determine if his group, which had no history of committing acts of violence or manifesting hostile resistance to government authority, was in possession of illegal weapons -namely fully automatic weapons. Many asked why was it necessary to have approximately one hundred armed agents encircle the compound, with three helicopters overhead, to issue a search warrant or even a warrant for the arrest of the group's leader? In a recorded telephone conversation with the ATF in the first few hours of the raid, the leader of the group, David Koresh, informed the federal officials that the assault was unnecessary to deliver a search warrant. "It would have been better if you just called me up or talked to me," Koresh said. "Then you all could have come in and done your work." In the past, outsiders, including neighbors, friends and family members of residents, as well as public officials on occasion, frequently visited persons in the compound, known as the Mount Carmel Center.
While a search warrant had been issued to investigate the group's possible possession of an arsenal of weapons, the mere possession of such an arsenal, if legally purchased and not thereafter illegally altered, is not itself a violation of Texas law. Upon payment of $10.00, a permit may be obtained to purchase arms virtually without limit, as persons may do who engage in the business of buying and selling arms either as collectors or as commercial enterprisers. After the initial Sunday assault, government agents charged that illegal modifications had apparently been made to convert some of the cache of arms to automatic weapons.
After the assault by federal agents, it was frequently stated that a second reason for the action was based on reports of child abuse. While the charge must be regarded as a serious one, the ATF has no authority in this area. In fact, child abuse is not under federal jurisdiction. Previous visits to the compound by Texas state child welfare workers had been unable to substantiate any charges of child-abuse and state officials had virtually closed their investigation some months earlier. On 23 April 1993, the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services provided the following summary of a nine-week investigation it conducted the previous year of charges of child abuse by Koresh: "None of the allegations could be verified. The children denied being abused in any way by any adults in the compound. They denied any knowledge of other children being abused. The adults consistently denied participation in or knowledge of any abuse to children. Examinations of the children produced no indications of current or previous injuries."
Meanwhile, Texas child protection officials declared that they had received no further abuse allegations since last spring. Furthermore, these officials disclosed after the tragic fire engulfing the compound that they had received no allegations of child abuse from either the ATF or the FBI, "either before or after the Feb. 28 raid." Texas officials also reported that they found no evidence of physical or psychological abuse in their examinations of the twenty-one children released from the compound during the early stages of the standoff. As the standoff continued for some weeks, Texas officials reiterated that they had no new evidence of child abuse. To be sure, these reports by public officials and agencies do not provide a final word as to whether or not child abuse did in fact take place, but they do underscore the fact that Koresh and the Branch Davidians had not been, at any time, legally charged with any crime of child abuse at the time of the assault by federal agents in February. The question that remained was if conditions were so abusive for Branch Davidian children, why was nothing done by local or state authorities earlier?
At the time of the assault on the Branch Davidian compound, few persons outside of Central Texas and members of families associated with this religious community knew of the Branch Davidians, but by the end of the standoff perhaps few could deny some awareness of this religious community even if its religious identity remained unknown to all but a very few.
The armed clash between the Branch Davidians and the ATF provoked widespread controversy and debate not only throughout the United States but throughout the world. In some countries resistant to religious pluralism and religious freedom, the incident was used as a reminder of what may happen in a nation which permits a wide array of religious associations without government certification and jurisdiction. In registering from Waco at a Moscow hotel during the time of the standoff, this author was immediately asked, "What is religion like in Waco?" The shock of the tragedy that resulted from the Davidian standoff was compounded for many because it involved a religious community with which they had no acquaintance and was, therefore, entirely unknown.
In the face of the tragedy that resulted from the confrontation between this almost unknown religious community and the federal government, the question naturally arises: Who were the Branch Davidians? From the beginning, the Branch Davidians, as the Davidians from which they originated, held to a radical separation from the world of unbelievers and to a radical apocalyptic belief in the imminent Second Coming of Christ and the approaching battle of Armageddon. Indeed, it may be said that the Davidians, as well as the Branch Davidians, were obsessed with the Second Coming and the end of time.
In addition to its radical apocalyptic emphasis, the Davidians have been dominated by an acknowledged prophetic leader, whose revelations form the basis of their understanding of the Bible and their beliefs and teachings. This feature is readily manifest throughout their history. The roots of the Branch Davidians may be traced back almost sixty years, to 1934, when a splinter group of Seventh-day Adventists was founded by Victor Houteff, who had emigrated from Bulgaria to the United States at the close of World War I. A former member of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, from which he had disassociated himself before leaving Bulgaria, Houteff joined the Seventh-day Adventists in 1918 soon after his arrival in the United States. In time he became the assistant superintendent of a Seventh-day Adventist Church Sabbath school in Los Angeles. As in Bulgaria earlier, Houteff once again found himself in conflict with the religious views of church leaders. As a result he formed his own group and in 1935 moved the group to the outskirts of Waco, Texas, and established a commune known as the Mount Carmel Center. Not all members of the group, however, ever embraced communal living. Because of his belief in the imminent establishment of David's kingdom on earth with the Second Coming of Christ and his emphasis on Sabbatarian observance, he gave his group the name of Davidian Seventh-day Adventists. Because the group had no organizational ties to the denomination known as Seventh-day Adventists, Houteff and his followers were generally referred to as Davidians.
The years passed without the Second Coming of Christ, which Houteff maintained was at hand virtually from the time of the establishment of the Mount Carmel Center. With the death of Houteff in 1955, his wife, Florence Houteff, assumed the role of prophet and leader of the Davidians. She predicted that on 22 April 1959, during the Jewish Passover, the kingdom would be established on earth. Hundreds of Davidians, from as far away as California and the West coast, sold their homes, properties, and businesses and came to Waco only to wait for the Second Coming. For several months, the faithful gathered in tents and house trailers waiting outside the city of Waco for the end to come.
In the aftermath of this experience, Ben Roden challenged Florence Houteff's leadership and subsequently led the majority of the Davidians to form a splinter group, to be known as Branch Davidians. With the expansion of the city, the group sold their original Mount Carmel Center in Waco, and acquired property near Elk, ten miles east of Waco, the site of the recent standoff with federal agents. Upon Roden's death in 1978, his wife, Lois Roden, became the prophetic leader of the group. She traveled to different parts of the world, reportedly meeting with political leaders of some of the countries she visited, in an effort to win followers to the Branch Davidians. Thereby, she increased the group's international membership, which had been a feature of the group from the days of its founder.
Another potential split occurred upon the death of Lois Roden in 1986 over a struggle for leadership which ensued between Roden's son, George, and Vernon Howell (later to be known as David Koresh), who, ironically, was favored by Lois Roden over her son, George. In 1987, following a shootout between George Roden and Vernon Howell and some of their followers, Howell was found innocent and a mistrial was declared in his favor. Later George Roden was charged with the murder of a man from Odessa, but was found not guilty for reason of insanity and sent to a Texas state hospital where he remains. Since 1987, Vernon Howell, who changed his name to David Koresh ( David, the king of Israel, and Koresh, the Persian ruler known as Cyrus), served as the undisputed leader and prophet of the group, finally declaring himself to be the Messiah himself.
There are surely lessons to be learned from the tragedy of the Branch Davidian standoff. First and foremost there is the need for government agencies to try to understand and take seriously the beliefs held by a religious group brought into any churchstate confrontation, particularly where there is the potential use of force involved. The principle is one that must be applied even when to outsiders the beliefs of a given religious group appear to be preposterous. Government agencies would do well not to rely, as they did in the case of Branch Davidians, on so-called "cult" experts and deprogrammers whose one purpose is to discredit the religious claims of nonconventional and unpopular religious groups and thereby promote intolerance and discrimination toward them. The repeated references in the press and the media at large to members of the Cult Awareness Network (CAN) as "experts" was misleading and unfortunate. The fact is that members of the Cult Awareness Network have a history of persecution of members of groups they deem to be "cults."
Actions of federal agents from the beginning confirmed for the Branch Davidians their adversarial relationship with the outside world, fueled even further by their strong belief that the end of time and the battle of Armageddon are near. The precipitous action of the ATF in its raid on the compound not only raises serious constitutional questions about the abuse of federal authority, but proved to be counter-productive. In fact, it may well be argued that the actions of the ATF and the FBI provoked a fanatical response in view of the very beliefs of the Branch Davidians. Since David Koresh was looked upon as the Messiah by his followers, as one professor of religion observed, "To come out with your hands up is not what a messiah is supposed to do." There was little indication that government officials either understood or took seriously the beliefs and religious claims of the Branch Davidians. In any event, merely to suspect a religious group to be in violation of firearms laws cannot justify the severity with which the government acted against Koresh and his followers.
A second lesson should reaffirm the need for far greater monitoring and regulation of the purchase of firearms, including the ordering of grenades and kits to convert guns into automatic weapons. In Texas, as elsewhere, there are no real limits on the stockpiling of weapons. Private collectors and traders in weaponry may amass large supplies of arms with a license that is easily obtainable. Religious groups, no less so than other voluntary associations, may amass large supplies of weapons with virtually no restrictions. In the words of Clinton Van Zandt, the FBI's chief negotiator in Waco during the standoff, "Nothing in this country says you can't own 100 rifles and a million rounds of ammunition." As one observer wrote, in this country "even zealots have the right to own and carry guns."
Finally, as long as a religious group operates within the confines of the law, even though their teachings may seem fanatical, even bizarre, to the religious mainstream, their teachings are irrelevant to their full constitutional rights and their religious freedom. As an editorial writer in the Los Angeles Times observed, if the state had intervened elsewhere in the world against a religious group as had occurred at the Branch Davidian compound, it would have been reported in the United States as an act of oppression. "Even if David Koresh might have been a maniac," the editorial continued, "there is no good excuse for what happened.... Prattling on about thought control and deprogramming, profiling its leader as a nut case and his followers as social misfits does not alter that fact."
Although no attempt is being made here to justify the actions of the Branch Davidians in committing acts of violence against ATF agents both at the beginning and at the end of the fifty-one day standoff, far too little attention was given by both federal agents and the media to the circumstances of the assault against a religious group that had not been charged with any crime. Constitutional church-state issues were virtually obscured by the repeated use of the term "cult" by both government officials and the media to justify government action directed against a "cult" phenomenon. The very term "cult," which invariably is directed at a religious group other than one's own and a group with which one disapproves, has no place in American public law or jurisprudence. Aided and abetted by the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), "cult" deprogrammers have already begun meeting with surviving Branch Davidians. In the words of Bret Bates, "exit counselor" for Texas chapter of the Cult Awareness Network, "Before they [i.e. the survivors] become productive witnesses in the prosecution, they have to realize that they were victims of mind control."
The tragedy of the Branch Davidian standoff had hardly come to an end before there were calls for a government investigation of "cults." Such a broad government inquiry should be resisted. Any investigation of the Branch Davidian tragedy should be limited to this one case and it should not be used as an occasion for an expedition of inquiry into a broad range of so-called "cults." To do otherwise would be to raise serious constitutional questions and to ignore the restraint that prohibits government action short of probable cause. Government action against a religious group cannot be predicated upon its being nonconventional, unpopular, or socially disapproved.
Any inquiry into the Branch Davidian standoff should call into question the appropriateness of large-scale military action against any religious group not specifically charged with committing a crime. In any event, the use of force should come as a last resort. The concluding words of a feature article on this American tragedy in a recent issue of Newsweek are altogether timely: "Unless the Feds learn to deal astutely and carefully with religious cults [i.e., nonconventional religions], it is a tragedy that could occur again."
JCS 35 (SPRING 1993 ): 233 -40
Thirty-Five Years of Journal of Church and State in Retrospect
F or the third time in thirty-five years, I am devoting an editorial to reflections on this journal's years of publication. The two previous times given to reflections on this journal's history of publication were occasioned, in the first instance, upon the completion of the Journal's first fifteen years of publication, and, in the second instance, upon the completion of twenty-five years of its publication. This third occasion comes not only upon the completion of thirty-five years of publication, but also because it marks the occasion of the transfer of editorial responsibilities to a new editor, beginning with this volume.
As founding editor of Journal of Church and State, these personal reflections, in this my last editorial as editor, provide an opportunity for looking not only for looking in retrospect at this journal's past history, but also at its prospects for the future. In retrospect, I have, of course, many memories of the decades of this journal's publication, including its extremely modest beginning and the formidable challenge which my colleagues and I faced in launching a journal with virtually no financial reserves, no real assurance of receiving quality manuscripts worthy of publication, and almost no financial resources for advertising and promotion. Nonetheless, we were sustained in our efforts because of our belief in the rightness and ripeness of our endeavor. Thus, Journal of Church and State was born.
The subsequent history of this journal has amply demonstrated that the time was ripe in 1959 for the launching of a scholarly journal expressly devoted to church and state. During the 1950 s, increasing attention was being given to the subject of church and state. On the international level, following World War II, religious fights and religious liberty were at last made a part of international law. Also, the United Nations, through its Commission on Human Rights, began serious discussions in the 1950 s aimed at drafting an international document specifically concerned with problems of religious liberty and the status of religions in relation to the state. In the United States, the 1940 s had witnessed the incorporation of both of the religion clauses, the Free Exercise Clause with Cantwell v. Connecticut in 1940 and the Establishment Clause with Everson v. Board of Education in 1947, making both clauses applicable to the states, thus assuring that issues of church and state would receive far more attention in the courts than in the past.
From the perspective of American church-state relations, the timeliness of the founding of this journal is readily demonstrated in noting that more than three-fourths of the church-state decisions by the United States Supreme Court have been handed down since the launching of this journal. The 1960 s proved to be years of almost unparalleled attention being given church-state issues: the issue of the nomination and election of a Roman Catholic for president was widely debated; landmark decisions on prayer in the public schools were handed down by the Supreme Court; Vatican II produced a major declaration on religious liberty, which remains to this day as the most significant single Roman Catholic document on religious liberty; the Court unanimously and categorically denied that religious tests can be imposed at any level of government; the right of conscientious objection to war was unanimously upheld for persons of non-theistic beliefs; and the Free Exercise Clause was ruled by the Court to be upheld except in those cases where it would be in conflict with a "compelling state interest."
Meanwhile, the publications in the 1950 s of such works as Anson Phelps Stokes's monumental work, Church and State in the United States, followed by Leo Pfeffer's widely heralded work, Church, State, and Freedom did much to bring the subject to the attention of the academic community and the university at large, including law and divinity schools. At a time when increasing attention was being given to the subject of religion and the state, there was clearly a need for a scholarly journal expressly devoted to the subject, a focus which remains unique to JCS among scholarly journals even to this day.
The genesis of this publication was conceived as an idea whose time had come. The idea was shared with a variety of scholars who in turned endorsed the launching of such a journal. Thus, reenforced by colleagues of various religious traditions and academic disciplines, including religion and law, the idea was brought to fruition through the special labors of colleagues at Baylor University and the generous pledge of support from the administration of Baylor University. Four names deserve special mention here: Abner V. McCall, who, as Executive Vice President of Baylor University in 1959, gave strong institutional support to the launching of this journal, and two esteemed colleagues, Robert T. Miller and E. Bruce Thompson, who served as associate editors of JCS from the beginning, and Herbert H. Reynolds, president of Baylor, for his sustained support of the Journal in more recent years. In addition to their services as associate editors, Professor Miller inaugurated the feature of "Notes on Church-State Affairs," and Professor Thompson served as the Journal's first book review editor. Professor Miller continues to serve as associate editor, now in his thirty-sixth year. In addition, I gratefully acknowledge here the special contribution of my wife, Alma, as editorial assistant during the early years of this journal's publication.
Here let it be said that, although published under the patronage of Baylor University, the contents and editorial policies of JCS have never been directed or controlled by Baylor Baylor. Through the years, members of the Editorial Council have represented numerous public and private universities throughout the United States and abroad. The very first editorial in the inaugural issue of this journal declared: "There is nothing narrow or restrictive about the Journal. Diverse points of view will be welcomed.... Research and investigation can provide no glib or easy answers to what is admittedly one the of the most complex and agonizing problems of our time....[but] it is hoped that this journal will find a real place in the growing interest, discussion, and literature concerning church-state relations." Through the years, earnest efforts have been made and reaffirmed to defend and protect the ecumenical character and academic integrity of this journal. The fact is that the Journal's academic freedom has always been viewed as integral to its academic integrity. At the same time, this journal has not been reticent in being identified as an advocate of religious freedom and religious rights, in both national and international affairs, during a century in which both have been repeatedly and flagrantly denied to millions throughout the world. Alas, religious liberty, like democracy, is nowhere in the world yet fully realized.
As founding editor, I am tempted to pay individual tribute to various colleagues and friends, past and present, but their names are simply too numerous for mention here. Although unnamed, I am pleased to acknowledge that many have contributed in a variety of ways not only to the launching of this journal, but also have helped sustain its publication through the years. To all who have served on the Editorial Board and the Editorial Council, special appreciation is here expressed for their labors in refereeing manuscripts and in providing good counsel for the Journal's publication during the past thirty-five years. In the final analysis, however, the publication of this or any other scholarly journal is ultimately dependent on the quality of manuscripts and book reviews published in it. Therefore, a special word of appreciation must be expressed to the more than one thousand contributors to JCS during these thirty-five years.
From its beginning in 1958, JCS has sought to remain true to its originally stated purpose, to stimulate interest, encourage dialogue, advance research, foster publication of scholarly essays, and provide a forum on the subject of church and state. From its inception, the Journal has endeavored to maintain a threefold commitment: to be interfaith, international, and interdisciplinary. The very nature of this journal demanded that it not be in any way parochial or sectarian, that it be truly interfaith. This commitment is a solemn one, one to which the Journal remains firmly committed. By the time of the publication of the journal's second volume, articles by Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Hindu authors had appeared. The second issue of JCS included a feature article on "The United Nation's Proposed Code on Religious Liberty," as prepared by the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.
In reaffirming here the Journal's stated purpose, I am reminded of the personal recollection I wrote more than twenty years ago on the occasion of the first fifteen years of this journal's publication.
I vividly recall the commitment made at the time of this journal's modest beginning: to provide a scholarly journal which would give an in-depth focus to church-state relations from various academic perspectives -- and representative of a wide variety of religious traditions.... In view of the extremely limited resources available at the time of the founding of this journal, in retrospect I must confess that this commitment, while not a naive one, was clearly a bold one for a pioneer undertaking of this kind. Understandably, there was no way of knowing at that time how such a journal would be received either by serious scholars or by a general readership. Not the least of our concerns in those beginning years was the extent to which unsolicited, original, significant manuscripts worthy of publication would be submitted to JCS. Within a few years any apprehension concerning quality manuscripts was completely removed as a result of our being virtually deluged with unsolicited manuscripts, only a small percentage of which could be selected for publication.
Throughout the Journal's history, the Editorial Council and the contributors and reviewers have reflected a wide variety of religious traditions, geographical areas, and academic disciplines. Members of the Editorial Council have represented various religious traditions -- Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Eastern Orthodox -- academic disciplines, and geographical areas of Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. More than sixty historians, political scientists, sociologists, and theologians have served on the Council, coming from eight foreign countries and more than twenty states in America.
Contributors have represented an even wider array of religious traditions and have come from all continents and numerous countries throughout the world. In addition, the contributors have represented a wide variety of academic disciplines. This may be readily seen in even the following brief sampling of the hundreds of contributors during these thirtyfive years. At the risk of being arbitrarily selective, but illustrative of the wide range of contributors to JCS, the following may be named: Henry J. Abraham, James Luther Adams, A. F. Carrillo de Albornoz, Mohammad Amjad, Paul B. Anderson, Roland H. Bainton, Bahman Bakhtiari, R. Pierce Beaver, Ernst Benz, Bohdan R. Bociurkiw, Donald E. Boles, Michael Bourdeaux, Henry Warner Bowden, Charles S. Braden, Janice A. Broun, Francis Canavan, S.J., Conrad Cherry, Jesse H. Choper, John S. Conway, Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J., Margaret E. Crahan, Robert F. Drinan, S.J., A. Roy Eckardt, Daniel J. Elazar, Robert S. Ellwood, Isma'il R. al Faruqi, David Fellman, William William, Ronald B. Flowers, Jefferson B. Fordham, Mary Alice Gallin, O.S.U., James Leo Garrett, Edwin Scott Gaustad, Joanne Golding, S.P., Kent Greenawalt, Merlin Gustafson, John H. Hallowell, Robert T. Handy, Will Herberg, Josip Horak, Winthrop S. Hudson, Gwendolyn E. Jensen, Harry W. Jones, Edward J. Jurji, Dean M. Kelley, Arcot Krishnaswami, Kenneth Scott Latourette, Guenter Lewy, Franklin H. Littell, Martin E. Marty, Benjamin E. Mays, Jose Miguez-Bonino, Sidney E. Mead, Robert H. Michaelson, Robert T. Miller, William Lee Miller, David O. Moberg, Niels C. Nielsen, Jr., Daniel D. Nsereko, John Kie-chiang Oh, Leo Pfeffer, Philip H. Phenix, Richard V. Pierard, Frederick B. Pike, Sanshiro Shirakashi, Seymour Siegel, James H. Smylie, Robert A. Spivey, Ephraim Tabory, Peter K. Takayama, Nobuhiko Takizawa, Kenneth W. Thompson, J. A. Emerson Vermaat, Charles Villa-Vicencio, Charles M. Whelan, S.J., George Huntston Williams, Philip Wogaman, Sharon L. Worthing, and Gordon C. Zahn.
Journal articles have focused on a variety of religious faiths, including the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant traditions within Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto, as well as religious groups such as the American Indians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Shakers, and Soka Gakkai, among others. Each issue of the Journal has included essays by authors of various academic disciplines. The international character of JCS is well illustrated in the many articles concerned with numerous countries throughout the world -- Albania, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, British Colombia, Burma, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, France, East Germany (GDR), Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Hebrides, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Russia, the Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, the United States, Yugoslavia, Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Although most issues of JCS were not planned around any particular theme, a number of thematic issues have been published. They have included: "Church and State in the Modern World," "Church and State in Latin America, Church, State, and Missions.... Church and State in Asia, "Church and State in England," "Church and State in Africa," "Religion and the State in Israel," "Church and State in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe," and "Religion, the State, and Education." Upon the completion of thirty years of publication, a volume of essays from JCS was published under the title, Readings on Church and State, "representing three decades of scholarly reflection and research on the subject of church and state."
The thirty-five volumes of JCS, consisting of more than twenty-one thousand pages, fill two average size book shelves. Essays in Journal of Church and State have reflected a wide variety of perspectives and viewpoints, consistent with its originally stated purpose to provide a forum for essays focused on religion and the state. In addition to more than eight hundred timely editorials and authoritative essays, 2,616 books relevant to church and state have been reviewed in JCS during these thirty-five years. Regular features in each issue have included "Notes on Church-State Affairs," "Recent Doctoral Dissertations in Church and State," and, with frequent regularity, texts of major United States Supreme Court cases and important documents on church and state as promulgated by communities of faith, nation-states, and the United Nations. Beginning with the second volume in 1960, "Notes on ChurchState Affairs" has come to be regarded as a valuable resource of church-state developments around the world. Since 1965, a regular feature in each issue of the Journal, "Recent Doctoral Dissertations in Church and State," has listed, as of Autumn 1993, 2,688 doctoral dissertations on church and state.
For thirty-five years, JCS has endeavored to take seriously its original purpose and commitment as a scholarly journal expressly devoted to church-state relations, which has always been interpreted to mean religion and the state in its broadest meaning. Today, as for some years in the past, its subscribers may be found in all fifty states and more than seventy countries throughout the world and include more than one thousand university, seminary, and law libraries. Journal of Church and State has come to serve as a chronicle or mirror of church-state developments throughout the world. Clearly, the past thirtyfive years have been highly eventful ones in church-state relations both in the United States and around the world.
Today, JCS is widely cited in scholarly articles and books throughout the Western world. It has become a reliable resource for church-state studies and developments in church-state relations worldwide. In the volume, Religious Periodicals of the United States: Academic and Scholarly Journals, it is stated, "The Journal of Church and State has made major contributions to a more complete understanding of church and state matters through the years." To the degree that this statement is bourne out by its readers, the mission of the Journal is, in large measure, being accomplished. In this, there is both gratification and challenge to be found in the publication of Journal of Church and State.
As I relinquish my duties as editor, I take heart in the appointment of Derek Davis as my successor. For more than fifteen years a practicing attorney, a graduate of the M. A. program in church-state studies at Baylor University, and a Ph.D. graduate from the University of Texas, Professor Davis comes to this position with a professional and academic background which will serve him well as editor of this journal. Author of Original Intent: Chief Justice Rehnquist and the Course of American Church-State Relations ( 1991), as well as various scholarly articles and editor of and contributor to several volumes, he has served this journal for the past several years as associate editor and, more recently, as managing editor. I am personally pleased that he will be serving as editor of JCS, beginning with this, the thirty-sixth, volume.
The future course of church-state relations in today's world is, of course, uncertain. The resurgence of nationalism throughout much of Europe, particularly since the overthrow of international communism and the breakup of the Soviet Empire, has not only created in many instances a vacuum to be filled, but has brought about strong movements pointing to a return to the old state-church establishments of the nineteenth century, in which religious liberty was virtually denied to all those outside the established church. The Muslim world in varying degrees is being increasingly swept up in a militant form of Islamic fundamentalism in which even toleration is increasingly being threatened. The very century that has already witnessed historically unparalleled waves of religious persecution is coming to an end with mounting evidences that religious liberty is far from being realized and is, in fact, under assault throughout most of the world.
With the inexorable growth of government -- a universal phenomenon -- tensions and even conflicts between religion and the state can be expected to continue. Surely, the interfaith and international dimensions of this journal will continue to expand, because of the recognition given religion in both national and international affairs, the rise of religious pluralism everywhere, and the encounter of world faiths with one another. In order to meet these challenges, the interdisciplinary, as well as the interfaith and international, dimensions of JCS would seem to be assured. After thirty-five years, it may well be said that Journal of Church and State has come of age and that, it is hoped, its future holds much promise.
JCS 36 (WINTER 1994): 5 - 12
ANNOTATIONS of Journal of Church and State Editorials and Articles
(Subject: Purpose of Journal of Church and State)
"The relation between Church and State is the greatest subject in the history of the West," said Emil Brunner. Questions regarding this subject are many, and remain largely unresolved. Many organizations, including Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, have formed to address major issues related to church-state relations. With the insistence on majority rule in the modern nation-state, concern for the rights of the minority, especially with regard to religious liberty, should be paramount. The Journal of Church and State is committed to exploring the broad spectrum of church and state issues.
JCS 1 ( November 1959): 2 - 3
EDITORIAL (Subject: The Meaning of Church-State Separation)
The separation of church and state is by no means absolute. Functions of both often overlap, making distinctions in their roles difficult to discern, and creating tensions in their relationship. Moreover, "concern for the problem has not been limited to any one country, religion, academic discipline, or particular period of history."
JCS 2 ( May 1960): 5 - 6
EDITORIAL (Subject: JFK on Church and State)
The nomination of John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, for the presidency of the United States brought church-state issues back to the forefront of political discussion. Various church bodies and church leaders became involved in the campaign, blurring already unclear distinctions between church and state. But "the preservation of a free church in a free state demands nothing less than the separation of church and state." Thus neither institution exercises authority over the other, and the distinctive and important role of each is preserved within its own sphere. Religion "needs neither the sanction nor the support of the state." If nothing else, the election highlighted the need for clear definition of the principle of separation.
JCS 2 ( November 1960): 94 - 99
THE PROBLEM OF FREEDOM
Human freedom is "the greatest single issue before mankind today, and freedom is the real issue in the relationship between church and state." Statism offers a new challenge to freedom, and demands a loyalty which subverts even loyalty to one's religious faith. Statism has its own ritual and its own gospel, and it does not allow for dissent. Protection for minority rights must be maintained against all forms of statism, from the Soviet denial of the right of the church to exist to a too fervent American nationalism.
JCS 3 ( May 1961): 1 - 5
THE BASIS OF FREEDOM
The American heritage of church-state relations, always complex, has generally been that of separation of church and state. This relationship was not due merely to compromise among diverse religious groups, but was founded on the principle that religion flourishes the most where it is the most free. The church does not need the state to sanction or support it. Additionally, the state cannot be free without separation from the church. The state does not rule its citizens in matters of religion; religion relies on the voluntary response of men, not participation coerced by the state.
JCS 3 ( November 1961): 123 - 29
Religious pluralism is an established fact in the United States. Yet pluralism by no means resolves all church-state issues. While diversity of religious practice should be encouraged, it also has its dangers. Pluralism may threaten religions' claims of ultimate allegiance. It may regard all truth as relative. It may regard dissent with hostility and smear dissenters with labels of bigoted and intolerant. An absolute freedom of religion may lead to limiting freedom, as the state steps in to mediate religious disagreement. Or the state may insist that all religious expression be alike. Among diverse faiths, dialogue is valuable, but only to achieve mutual respect and understanding, not unity, which would in itself be a threat to religious commitment.
JCS 4 ( May 1962): 5 - 10
RELIGION SPONSORED BY THE STATE
The recent Supreme Court ruling in Engel v. Vitale was the most controversial since Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Justices Black's and Douglas's opinions in Engel "are explicit and eloquent utterances in defense of the principle of the 'wall of separation' between church and state." Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish leaders strongly supported the decision, in contrast to those who viewed it as violative of America's religious heritage. Engel did not demonstrate hostility against religion, but instead stood for religious freedom. Writing or leading prayers is not the business of the state. The court correctly rejected the argument that the First Amendment only prohibited granting preferential status to a particular denomination. On the contrary, the First Amendment prohibits religious establishments of any type. The narrow ruling only disallowed official prayers, led by public officials, in the public schools. Voluntary prayer, Bible reading, or devotional exercises are not addressed. No official coerced prayer or religious exercise could ever aid religion.
JCS 4 ( November 1962): 141 - 49
MINORITY RIGHT vs. MAJORITY MIGHT
Totalitarianism is a very real enemy of liberty. But totalitarianism is not limited to monarchical form of government; it can also occur in a democracy, supported by popular sovereignty. Majority rule per se does not create freedom. The only free society is the one that "prizes the sanctity and worth of individuals" by providing protection for minority rights. The "totalitarian state is absolute and unlimited. In a free society, state absolutism is controlled by guarantees of civil liberties." Religious liberty, centered in the right of conscience, is the central liberty in a free society, and the most vital restraint on a totalitarian government.
JCS 5 ( May 1963): 5 - 14
LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE
The separation of church and state is not an end in itself. Strict separation, as practiced in the Soviet Union, promotes atheism and hostility toward religion. True religious liberty must allow the existence of all faiths or even no faith. It is centered in the relatively new concept of liberty of conscience. Such liberty must be considered unalienable, beyond the reach of the state. For right of conscience to exist, no man may rule over another in the matter of his beliefs. Dominion over conscience is reserved for God alone, as noted in the Protestant Reformation and further developed by the Radical Reformation. "Liberty of conscience remains at the core of a free society and an inviolable check on the absolute will of the state."
JCS 5 ( November 1963): 157 - 64
THE CHURCH-STATE LEGACY OF JOHN F. KENNEDY
Though many decried the election of John F. Kennedy as presaging increased Roman Catholic influence in American government, his presidency proved to the contrary. Kennedy followed the legacy of Jefferson and Madison, becoming an outspoken proponent of separation of church and state and religious liberty. Kennedy was not merely a neutralist, for he emphasized the necessity of insuring equality for all men and their beliefs as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. He consistently opposed clericalism as well as government aid to parochial schools. His vision was "an America where religious intolerance will someday end," to be replaced instead with the "American idea of brotherhood."
JCS 6 (Winter 1964): 5 - 14
CHURCH-STATE RELATIONS IN THE MODERN WORLD
The most typical historical relation between church and state has been a mingling of the two, so much, in fact, that they have been inseparable. In ancient times only the Jews in the Old Testament era showed an awareness of the separation of the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Israel. Until the time of Constantine, Christianity knew only a strict separation of church and state. Church-state relations then changed to a form of cooperation, in which pope and emperor were autonomous and coequal, as expressed in Augustine's City of God. In the Middle Ages the church came to dominate the state. The Reformation challenged, but did not resolve the issue. Today four patterns of church-state relations exist: where the state demonstrates hostility toward religion (e.g., Soviet Communism); where the state manifests strict neutrality, with a friendly attitude toward religion ( United States); where the state sponsors a particular religion ( England), allowing various degrees of freedom and/or toleration of other religions; and where state actually becomes the church, as expressed in traditional Moslem countries of Afghanistan and Egypt, or prewar Japan. A state policy of neutrality toward religion, where religious liberty is guaranteed, alone provides freedom for both religion and the state.
JCS 6 (Spring 1964): 121 - 31
THE CHRISTIAN STATE
The concept of the Christian state began in the Roman Empire under the Emperor Constantine and was extended under Charlemagne. It continued through the Reformation. Such Christian states showed little toleration for dissenters. Catholic countries outlawed Protestants ( France) and Protestant nations persecuted Catholics and dissenters ( England). Nonconformists were considered "heretics of the church and traitors of the state." This concept was carried into the English colonies in the new world. Puritans in New England sought to establish a theocracy, with laws based on the Bible. Theocracy was rejected in the First Amendment and other aspects of the U.S. Constitution. State neutrality toward religion, guaranteeing freedom for both church and state, was adopted instead. Yet the general view of America as a Christian nation has persisted to the present day, evidenced in the recent inclusion of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" on our currency. These moves undermine important distinctions between church and state that should be preserved. The church should not look to the state for sanction or support, nor should the state seek alliance with religion. A state's claim of alliance with God is dangerous, and perhaps blasphemous. It must be remembered that "God always remains above culture and nation."
JCS 6 (Autumn 1964): 277 -87
ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND THE STATE
The Roman Catholic Church has always been concerned with the relationship between ecclesiastical and political authority. There are perhaps two Catholic traditions of church-state relations, the European pattern in which the Church is officially honored, favored, and supported by the state, and the more recent practice of seeking freedom for the Church as well as cooperation of the state in education, public welfare, and other ministries of the Church. Underlying both patterns is the concept of the Church's dominance of other authority, civil and temporal. This position inevitably produced a power struggle between the Church and temporal rulers, evident through centuries of European history. The concept of the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church also allows little room for religious dissent. Thankfully, the Church has often used its influence to resist totalitarianism and religious discrimination.
JCS 7 (Winter 1965): 5 - 17
THE SECULAR STATE
The concept of the secular state is not new, though it has only recently been put into practice. Separation of spiritual and temporal powers, with civil and natural law as the basis of the state and divine law as the basis of the church, is a product of centuries of Christian teaching. Marsilius of Padua insisted on a secular state in his Defensor pacis, published in 1324. The Radical Reformation struggled for liberty of conscience, voluntarism in religion, and complete separation of church and state. Roger Williams argued that the state has no relationship with religion. John Locke founded secular authority on natural rights and constitutional government. Establishment of a secular state in America, a unique occurrence in history, was intended to insure freedom for the church and the state. The concept adopted in the First Amendment goes far beyond a prohibition on giving preference to a particular religion; it "expressly forbids government from dealing with religion in any form or manner," as properly stated by the Supreme Court in Everson and Schempp-Murray.
JCS 7 (Spring 1965): 169 - 80
CHURCH, STATE, AND MISSIONS
Christian missions have been accused of promoting "cultural imperialism" of the West, intended to exploit oppressed peoples of the world. Many have insisted that Christianity should deny its unique claims and embrace all religions as equally valid to avoid this, but there is another alternative. While it is true that Christian missions have too often been aligned with, and instruments for, political imperialism, this is by no means their central purpose. Most Christian missions have focused on religious rather than political goals. They seek "redemption of persons in society and not the uprooting of persons from culture." Christian missions, when properly focused, have accomplished great things, inculcating a "passion for freedom and the rights of man," with a resulting moral and social uplift in society.
JCS 7 (Autumn 1965): 317-29
RELIGION AND FREEDOM
The history of religion, unfortunately, has not usually been associated with freedom. Neither has modern secularism per se been supportive of freedom; non-religious totalitarianism in this century has been especially cruel. The Christian church, while espousing liberty, has often denied it. Following Augustine's concept of compelling entrance into the church, the church through the Middle Ages sought to compel membership and punish dissenters and heretics. The Crusades were promoted as a "war against infidels." Jews were repeatedly persecuted in Europe. The Protestant Reformers continued to persecute dissenters. By the nineteenth century Protestant theology began to embrace democratic ideals and support liberal and social reforms. An alliance between religion and freedom was associated with the emergence of pluralistic societies and constitutional governments. A pluralistic democratic society provides "the best deterrent to religious totalitarianism and the denial of religious freedom." Endorsement of religious liberty by the Roman Catholic Church at Vatican Council II is a tribute to the free church tradition.
JCS 8 (Winter 1966): 5 - 15
CHURCH AND STATE IN LATIN AMERICA
An intimate relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the state in Latin America usually produced subordination of the church to the goals of the state. The crown used the church in the encomienda system to assist in exploitation of Indian labor. Catholic missionaries too often cooperated with the state, becoming dependent on the crown for financial support. The church became content with superficial conversions, neglecting its primary mission. With liberalization that accompanied independence among Latin nations, the Catholic church tended to oppose moves toward secularization, seeking to maintain its control over education and its legal influence. It was the native clergy that was associated with independence, liberalization, and independence. Three categories of church-state relations continue in Latin America: (1) where the Catholic church remains as a privileged religion, influencing state actions, controlling education, etc.; (2) where the Catholic church, as well as other religions, can operate freely; and (3) where the state largely controls the church (these categories were developed by Alexander T. Edelmann). Meanwhile, Protestant missions to Latin America continue while the Catholic church appears to be in decline.
JCS 8 (Spring 1966): 173 - 85 THE UNITED STATES AS A PLURALISTIC SOCIETY
The motto E Pluribus Unum indicated the multiplicity of interests from which the United States was created. The balance of these interests was viewed necessary for preventing the tyranny of the majority and protecting minority rights. A variety of approaches to religious establishment existed among the American colonies. The tendency during the American founding period was to disestablish religion in each state. Religious leaders such as Isaac Backus appealed for the recognition of the "unalienable rights of conscience," positing that the kingdom of Christ is not of this world or subject to political ends. The pluralistic society in the United States adopted this view and expressed it in the First Amendment. While there are many religions as well as irreligion in the United States, no religion controls a majority interest. Thus political candidates must receive support of many minority interests, with a broad and sensitive appeal for public support. Freedom of religion, in which anyone may believe what he desires, and any group may seek adherents, all without state support, has "contributed not only to an immense variety of religious expression, but also to a high degree of religious vitality." Pluralism, to be sure, results in conflict and tension, but religious strife in the United States has not reached the disruptive levels experienced in European states.
JCS 8 (Autumn 1966) 333-43
RELIGION AND AMERICA'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Public schools and the America tradition of church and state are "the two great contributions of the United States to civilization." Though the European pattern of church-dominated schools prevailed in colonial America, free, secular public schools began to emerge within the new nation due to the increased demand for secular subjects as well as beliefs that public schools should be nonsectarian. Non-Protestant immigrants challenged Protestant establishments; by the 1870s most state constitutions denied the use of public funds for sectarian schools. Only in the early twentieth century did prayer and Bible reading in the schools begin to reemerge as the fear of dominance of the schools by any one sect diminished. By 1960 religious influence increased to the point that the "the secular character of public education was greatly obscured, if not in actual jeopardy." The Supreme Court then began its work of restoring the American tradition of secular public schools, with rulings in McCollum v. Board of Education ( 1948) and Zorach v. Clauson ( 1952), which permitted released time for religious instruction off school premises but prohibited them on school premises, and Engel v. Vitale ( 1962) and Schempp-Murray ( 1963), which disallowed teacher-led prayer and devotional Bible reading. Though public opinion has generally opposed these rulings, they are legally binding and should be enforced. The home and the church, rather than the public schools, should take responsibility for religious instruction.
JCS 9 (Winter 1967): 5 - 16
CHURCH AND STATE IN ENGLAND
Two traditions characterize church-state relations in England, that of nationalization of the church and the second, of religious dissent. The Reformation in England did not change the intimate relationship between the church and state in England. Control of the Church of England was maintained by requiring allegiance to The Book of Common Prayer, a prescribed means of worship, and an ecclesiastical structure. Dissent was illegal but was often tolerated without prosecution. Numerous dissenters, including Helwys, Busher, Milton, and Williams, argued for liberty of conscience. The Puritan revolution also briefly challenged the Anglican establishment. Limited toleration became law following the Revolution of 1688 and finally broadly extended to Catholics 1829. Still the Church of England maintained its privileged status, being supported by the state, ruled by Parliament, and dominant in public and higher education. Many Britishers prefer England's dual system, combining establishment with religious liberty. Opponents of disestablishment believe that the state should recognize Christianity and the state's role in God's kingdom, as well as support a Christian ethic of national morality. As the cost of establishment exceeds its returns, declining public support may force a change. JCS 9 (Autumn 1967): 305-16
A FREE CHURCH IN A FREE SOCIETY
Classical Protestantism, whether Calvinistic, Lutheran, or Anglican, was committed to the union of church and state, assuming that the nation was Christian and that the state should support the church, maintain the purity of its worship, and punish dissenters. Religious toleration or pluralism was rejected. Roger Williams opposed the concept of the Christian state, reasoning that "the state can never assume the role of God who alone is Lord of conscience. No state or country...can be truly called Christian." Isaac Backus followed Williams, insisting that religious matters are beyond the reach of the state. This means that government must be limited to secular concerns. It was this concept that was set forth in the First Amendment to the American Constitution. This does not mean that the state should support secularism, that is, opposition to religion in society. The church must be free from control of the state, without either the state's support or its interference. "The goal of the separation of church and state is a free church and a free society." Principles that must be maintained to preserve the separation of church and state include freedom of conscience, a free church, no privilege or discrimination among churches, no civil disability for beliefs, no tax support, free association, and freedom of propagation. These principles leave the church free to be the church and to maintain its purity.
JCS 10 (Winter 1968): 5 - 12
THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN PUBLIC EDUCATION
The Supreme Court has ruled that government sponsored prayer and Bible reading are unconstitutional ( Engle, SchemppMurray) and that sponsoring the teaching of religious dogma is disallowed ( McCollum). But this does not rule out the study of the Bible or religion in the public schools. Many groups have addressed the proper role of religious studies. The American Council on Education determined that religion should be given due recognition in the public schools, including the study of all religions, with the understanding that there is no common core of religious beliefs or moral values that could substitute for teaching about individual religious faiths and their role in human affairs. The Commission on Religion in the Public Schools of the American Association of School Administrators encouraged giving attention to the role of religion in man's history. Higher education has been successful in providing courses on the important role that religion has played in major civilizations and particularly in the West. These approaches properly reject a purely secular view of man that ignores the critical role of religion in shaping culture and civilization.
JCS 10 (Spring 1968): 183 -89
DEDICATION OF THE J.M. DAWSON CHURCH-STATE RESEARCH CENTER
Baylor University -- 29 April 1968
While courses on church and state have become widespread among colleges, universities, law schools, and seminaries, few programs are dedicated to the study of church-state issues. Dedication of the J.M. Dawson Church-State Research Center at Baylor University marks a new step in the recognition of churchstate studies as an important academic subject. The Center houses "historical, legal, and theological studies on church and state along with materials pertaining to religious liberty, ecumenics and inter-faith relations, the status of religious minorities, case studies, court cases, and constitutional provisions on church-state relations around the world."
JCS 10 (Spring 1968): 189 - 92
THE PROBLEM OF NATIONALISM IN CHURCH-STATE RELATIONSHIPS
Nationalism, largely responsible for two world wars, is again resurfacing around the world. Nationalism is related both to nationality, where a group of people see themselves as a united society, and to patriotism. Though nationalism was submerged with the advance of empires and subdued in Western Europe through the Middle Ages with the concept of Christendom, it again emerged with the disintegration of the unity of Europe to which the Reformation contributed. In the twentieth century nationalism has become fully developed around the world. The totalitarian state, the most extreme expression of nationalism, submerges all rights for the good of the state. In demanding total submission nationalism reveals itself as a religion, a competing faith among the many traditional religions of mankind. Nationalism is a form of idolatry, demanding an allegiance which belongs only to God. A secular nationalism wars against God and religion, but a religious nationalism is willing to use religion in the service of the state. Religious nationalism negates the role of religion in society, and has no tolerance for religions that challenge state policies. Recognition of faith as voluntary and religion as independent of the state is critical to restrain nationalism.
JCS 10 (Spring 1968): 249 - 64
INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR HUMAN RIGHTS -- 1968
The twentieth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights dawns on a world in which two-thirds of its people are denied basic rights. The UN Declaration focuses on recognition of rights associated with "the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family," which it regards as "the foundation of freedom, justice and peace." Particular rights denominated include a right to live freely, to have physical sustenance and education, to own property, to marry and have children, right to work, and freedom of religion. The Declaration has been highly praised as significant in the history of man. The Montreal Statement of 1968 addressed discrimination, especially in South Africa; it expressed concern for the denial of economic and social rights, rights in armed conflicts, the right to family planning and rights of children, and dangers caused by scientific developments. The Statement called for ratification and implementation of the UN Declaration of Human Rights as well as teaching about and promotion of human rights. The lack of support for such efforts within various church bodies raises questions about whether they are more committed to their vested interests than the essential rights of man.
JCS 10 (Autumn 1968): 343- 48
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN ECUMENICAL AND INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
Religious liberty is basic to all civil liberties. Traditionally, religions, holding that they possessed absolute truth, have insisted on state establishments and persecuted rival faiths. The church of both the Middle Ages and the Reformation opposed freedoms of thought, speech, press, and conscience. The concept of religious liberty emerged slowly, beginning, for the most part, with the seventeenth century and was largely a product of civil, rather than religious, developments. The principle of religious liberty finally achieved international legal recognition following World War II with various U.N. declarations. The practice of religious liberty during the twentieth century, however, has not matched the declarations, with religion falling prey to totalitarian regimes. Religions have themselves promoted religious liberty, as expressed by the the Oxford Conference in 1937 and subsequent World Council of Churches declarations. The Roman Catholic Church in 1965 also expressed support of religious liberty. The state can recognize, but not actually grant, religious liberty. The church must exercise it. The faithful witness of the free church tradition has finally produced the fruit of the broad recognition of religious liberty as an inalienable right of all men.
JCS 10 (Autumn 1968): 421-44
THE ENCYCLICAL ON BIRTH CONTROL
Pope Paul VI's encyclical on family morality and birth control, Human Life (Humanae Vitae), issued on July 25, 1968, reveals positive and negative features of Roman Catholic claims on moral issues. The Church claims to be competent to interpret the "natural moral law" under the authority of Jesus Christ. Thus the Church concludes that the use of artificial birth control is a violation of moral law. In the Church's view, use of artificial birth control would promote promiscuity as well as lower respect for women and the family structure. Governments, having an obligation to promote morality, must discourage artificial birth control and prohibit abortion. The encyclical rightly promotes the "sacredness of life and the sanctity of the sexual relationships in marriage." The Church's claim of authority, however, is troubling as well as contradictory to its statements on the sacredness of the right of conscience. Church leaders in Australia, Germany, and other nations have questioned the Church's authority over the right of conscience, which is held to be "the ultimate guide of the morality of our actions."
JCS 11 (Winter 1969): 5 - 8
KENNETH SCOTT LATOURETTE (1884-1968) HISTORIAN, ECUMENICIST, AND FRIEND
Kenneth Scott Latourette, former Sterling Professor Emeritus of Missions and Oriental History at Yale, was "the leading historian of Christianity in the twentieth century and one of America's foremost historians of Oriental history." His comprehensive studies of Christianity "freed church history from its provincialism and geographical limitations" and gave "particular attention to the political, sociological, and universal dimensions of the history of Christianity." Using empirical analyses of the influence of Christianity on the environment and the environment on Christianity, Latourette found Christianity's expansion and effect on mankind to be unique. In addition to his monumental efforts as an historian, Latourette was prominent in the ecumenical movement within Protestantism and a promoter of Christian missions. His service as a member of the editorial staff of Journal of Church and State will be missed.
JCS 11 (Winter 1969): 9 - 15
CHURCHES AND TAX EXEMPTION
The tradition of tax exemption for religious groups has long accompanied state recognition of religion. In the the West, Christian churches have not been taxed since legalization under Constantine, through the Middle Ages, and into the post- Reformation period. Even with disestablishment in America, tax exemption for churches was not challenged. Recently, however, with expansion of church property holdings and business enterprises, tax exemption has been questioned. Up to 1950 any tax-exempt organization was exempt from paying taxes on related income, but the Internal Revenue Code was changed to tax unrelated income of tax-exempt organizations, except for churches. Churches used the loophole to expand business and investment activities, spurring the call for taxation of unrelated church business. Many church groups, including Presbyterians, Baptists, the National Council of Churches, and the United States Catholic Conference, have encouraged taxation of unrelated church-owned business income. Congress has denied tax exemptions to religious and education organizations that become activist groups. Churches should not seek tax exemption for income unrelated to religious purposes.
JCS 11 (Spring 1969): 5 - 8
CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION AND THE STATE
Religious and moral objections to the Vietnam war have given rise to the larger question of "selective" conscientious objectors. Christianity has generally opposed war and admonished Christians to disobey superiors who lead an unjust war or promote acts of cruelty. Christianity holds that the state is limited; only God is sovereign over the individual conscience. Additionally, the gospel commands to love, not kill, one's fellow man. Other religions have also opposed war and violence, preferring to promote peace. In the United States the Supreme Court has recognized the right of Congress to require military service in spite of conscientious objection. Congress, however, has provided an exemption for conscientious objection based on one's "religious training and belief." A broadened definition of belief was established in United States v. Seeger, allowing objection to warfare based on a consistent pattern of beliefs unidentified with orthodox religious faith. Humanists, agnostics, and atheists have protested any religious basis of conscientious objection as being discriminatory. Major religious bodies today have expressed support for the right of selective objection, reasoning that it is as clearly rooted in the right of conscience as absolute pacifism. Protection of the right of conscience is critical to the support of a free state, as well as a free church.
JCS 11 (Autumn 1969): 197 - 204
THE RISE AND GROWTH OF RELIGIOUS PLURALISM IN LATIN AMERICA
Though the Roman Catholic Church has been a dominant influence in the culture and history of Latin America, the actual Christianization of Latin America has been relatively unsuccessful. Argentine theologian José Míguez Bonino has described Latin Christianity as "a tremendous form without substance" built more on conquest than conversion. Practicing Catholics have been estimated at less than a third of the populace, and this number is declining. Meanwhile, Protestants have initiated missions to Latin America with considerable success, especially in the twentieth century, benefiting from movements toward religious toleration. The most recent successes within Protestant groups have been nontraditional faiths such as Pentecostals, with significant representation of Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormons. Protestant efforts have been strongly evangelistic, with much of the work carried on by nationals, and also have emphasized education. The corresponding religious pluralism in Latin America has spurred Catholic leaders to promote renewal within the Church; additionally, the Church has shaken off its conservatism, becoming more supportive of the needs of the people. Hopefully this will continue.
JCS 12 (Winter 1970): 1 - 11
CHRISTIAN RECONCILIATION AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: A THEOLOGICAL INQUIRY
"The idea of freedom, both civil and religious, is ultimately founded on a theological basis," beginning with the premise that man is made in the image of God, who has endowed man with inalienable rights. Christianity teaches that the essence of freedom is internal. Man in his fallen state is alienated from both God and man and bound in sin. Freedom then is reconciliation with God through Christ, who also reconciles men with one another. Freedom is not the capacity to do as one pleases, but to do as one ought. "The state has no authority to deprive men of their social right to do the will of God." God himself does not coerce obedience, much less should the state. Therefore, as Baptists stated in the Confession of 1612, the state has no right to "meddle with religion, or matters of conscience." This idea led to Roger Williams' conception of a secular state. "Religious liberty is fundamental to civil liberty" because in recognizing religious liberty the state admits the limits of its jurisdiction. Church and state must both be limited; the church should not use civil means to coerce faith, nor should the state use religion for secular ends. The church is called of God to be an agent of reconciliation by example and witness, not coercion. As religious freedom is the inherent right of all men, all religions should be treated equally.
JCS 12 (Spring 1970): 273 - 87
The 1960s have been characterized as "the decade of dissent," resulting in a crisis of authority. This has prompted questions on the legitimacy of civil disobedience. The primary concern of civil disobedience in the West has not been anarchy, but rather obedience to a higher standard of law and justice and resistance to injustice. The established order, however, usually suppresses any civil disobedience, no matter how worthy the goal. Civil dissent is not new; it is as old as Socrates and leaders of Israel, such as Moses and Jeremiah. Christ's teachings, demanding ultimate allegiance to a spiritual kingdom, were inherently revolutionary. Christian teaching in the Middle Ages urged resistance to unjust laws or acts of cruelty. But religious dissent, both in the Middle Ages and following the Reformation, was viewed as civil disobedience; leaders insisted on passive obedience to the state as a duty to God. Even in America dissenters often paid for their "rebellion" with their lives. Promoters of civil disobedience, such as transcendentalists in nineteenth-century America, believed in commitment to a higher law than the state, urging civil disobedience when necessary to promote justice. Opposers of civil disobedience hold that government, being ordained of God, should be obeyed, or that disobedience promotes anarchy. These views overlook the fact that a government run by sinful men may be unjust, and men have a superior obligation to conscience to resist it. JCS 12 (Autumn 1970): 373-84
CHURCH SCHOOLS AND PUBLIC FUNDS
Separation of church and state and public education are America's two great contributions to civilization. Sectarian schools dominated colonial America. With American disestablishment public schools largely replaced private schools, and state funding for sectarian schools was prohibited. Growth of Catholic parochial schools in the early part of this century was seen as a threat to state controlled and state supported public school systems. Pierce v. Society of Sisters ( 1925), however, determined that the right to attend church or private schools is constitutionally guaranteed. Religious schools, unable to secure direct funding, have appealed for indirect assistance to education, such as public transportation for their students, which was upheld in Everson v. Board of Education ( 1947). With federal entrance into funding of education following World War II, public funds became available for non-religious programs of religious colleges. Some have argued that public support for religious schools increases diversity in education as well as encourages moral and spiritual training. Providing public funds for religious education, however, compels non-church members to support religious activity and jeopardizes private control of the schools. State aid to private education inevitably redirects funds from public education, "the single most integrative force in American life."
JCS 13 (Winter 1971): 5 - 22
JEWISH-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
In spite of the dependence of Christianity, in its origins, documents, and theology, upon Biblical Judaism, the relationship between Judaism and Christianity has been characterized by misunderstanding, conflict, and even hostility. Jesus and his apostles were Jews, preached to Jews, and spoke in Jewish theological terms. The earliest Christian communities consisted of Judeo-Christians. Christian teaching, however, clashed with much of Jewish tradition, rejecting the primacy and the adequacy of the Torah. The deity and incarnation of Christ was also unacceptable to Jewish theology. With the spread of Christianity to Gentile communities, coupled with rejection of Jewish customs and rituals, the Jewish-Christian divide continued. Rabbinic Judaism encouraged persecution of firstcentury Christians. Christianity itself experienced conflict between Judeo-Christians and Hellenistic Christians. Patristic writings condemned the Jews as those who crucified Jesus. With Christianity exalted to a preferred status under Constantine, Jews were persecuted by the state. Persecutions of Jews continued under the Holy Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages. Martin Luther carried anti-Jewish bias into the modern world; anti-Semitism climaxed in the tragedy of the Holocaust. Jews and Christians should deal more honestly and respectfully with each other, recognizing their points of convergence.
JCS 13 (Spring 1971): 193 - 208
PAROCHIAID AND THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
Supreme Court decisions have clarified the relationship between states and religious education, rightly distinguishing secondary and elementary schools from colleges and universities. In Lemon v. Kurtzman and Earley v. Dicenso the Court ruled against direct state aid to elementary and secondary church schools. At the same time the Court, in Tilton v. Richardson, held federal funding to church colleges to be constitutional, but only where the programs and emphases are clearly secular. In Lemon and Dicenso the Court properly assumed that parochial schools were intimately involved with the mission of the church and that their programs were pervasively sectarian with the potential of influencing impressionable young students. Government aid would inevitably lead to an "excessive entanglement between Government and religion." Protagonists for aid to parochial schools argue that public funding provides more choices to parents as well as removes a burden from taxpayers to support more expensive public education. "There is," however, "something fundamentally wrong with the public support of nonpublic institutions. Schools which are publicly supported should not be privately controlled, let alone church controlled." Churches have no fundamental right or need to have public support for their schools. All forms of direct aid should be disallowed.
JCS 13 (Autumn 1971): 401-12
RELIGION, REVOLUTION, AND NATIONALISM IN ASIA
In Asia, the source of the great religions of mankind, religion has been inseparable from culture and society. So much has Asia had "a sense of the sacred" that it generally lacks a sense of history in secular terms. Religion and politics in Asia have been inseparable. Rulers have claimed divinity; government has supervised religion; religion has controlled government. Religion has largely determined the norms by which Asian communities "continue to think, feel, and respond to today's world." Revolution in Asia has also been associated with religion, offering a rallying point for values that contrast with those of Western colonialism and capitalism, as well as Christianity, which is perceived as failing to oppose colonial repression or correct societal inequities. Some social reforms which Christian missions did stress, including education for the masses and elevation of the status of women, have been incorporated into resurging Asian religions. Major Asian religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, have modified their messages to confront modern political realities. It remains to be seen if these religions can coexist with economic modernization and widely accepted views of human rights and secularization. The manner in which they address these issues may determine their role in the future of Asia.
JCS 14 (Winter 1972): 5 - 17
A THEOLOGY OF POWER
In an unprecedented age of power, it is important for Christians to realize that power is not inherently evil; it can be a "positive and moral force for good." According to Biblical teaching God possesses absolute power, and he has endowed the universe, and especially man, with certain attributes of power. All human sovereignty is limited by divine sovereignty. Man is called by God to exercise power for righteousness and justice. Jesus taught his disciples to pray that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Thus the gospel calls the Christian to be a revolutionary in society, challenging the status quo with the ideals of the gospel. The church should be independent of the state, submitted solely to God, and a voice for religious freedom and justice. The church in the Roman Empire demonstrated that it could be obedient to God as well as be a force in the world, eventually transforming the state. In the Middle Ages the church became too closely identified with worldly power, resulting in a loss of the church's divine mission and abuse of its power in union with the state. Still, the church was a significant social and political force for good, promoting the intellectual and social advance of man. The church errs with either a withdrawal from society or an accommodation with the power structures of society. The church needs to be in "creative tension with the power structures of the world."
JCS 14 (Winter 1972): 107 - 24
RELIGION AND PUBLIC EDUCATION IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
As the public schools are the symbol of American democracy, the status of religion in the public schools is crucial to America's free and pluralistic society. Public schools and the America tradition of church and state are "the two great contributions of the United States to civilization." Departing from the European pattern of church-dominated schools that had prevailed in colonial America, free, secular public schools emerged along with church disestablishment and with increased demand for secular subjects. Toward the end of the nineteenth century an increasingly pluralistic society challenged Protestant religious practices in the schools. Only in the twentieth century, with rising church membership, did Bible reading and prayer become common in the public schools. The Supreme Court, in several landmark decisions, including McCollum ( 1948) and Engel ( 1962), sought to restore the secular character of the public schools. These decisions did not, however, rule out the academic study of the Bible or religion in the public schools. Many groups, including the American Council on Education, the American Association of School Administrators, and the National Council of Churches have encouraged the academic study of religion, especially its important role in the formation of Western civilization. JCS 14 (Autumn 1972): 397-414
THE IMPERMISSIBILITY OF PUBLIC FUNDS AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS
Several recent Supreme Court decisions have clarified the relationship between government and parochial schools, consistently ruling that any direct aid is constitutionally impermissible. In two 1971 decisions, Lemon v. Kurtzman and Earley v. Dicenso, the Court declared unconstitutional the partial state funding of church schools, including payment of teachers' salaries or purchasing privately selected textbooks, even when these dealt only with secular subjects. Such funding, the Court said, would improperly entangle government with religion. Three 1973 decisions continued this reasoning. In Committee for Public Education v. Nyquist the Court held that New York's funding of maintenance and repair of church-school facilities or providing tuition reimbursement and tax deductions to parents was constitutionally impermissible. Levitt v. Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty disallowed New York's reimbursement to nonpublic schools for state-mandated services. The Court ruled similarly in Sloan v. Lemon on a Pennsylvania reimbursement program. Opposition to the Court's decisions viewed them as purposefully discriminating against Catholics, while supporters lauded the decisions as promoting religious freedom and church-state separation.
JCS 15 (Spring 1973): 181 - 91
THEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Though the right of religious liberty is recognized almost universally, there is no consensus on the basis of that right. Too often it is supported for merely practical reasons. A pragmatic base for religious liberty is insufficient to restrain coercion, discrimination, or persecution. Religious liberty is "theologically rooted," "in God's nature and in His dealings with men." God deals with men freely, calling for a voluntary, personal response to his initiatives. Religious liberty is also rooted in "man's nature and in his inalienable right to respond freely to God's revelation." Man, a unique creation of God, possesses freedom in his likeness to the Creator. Religious liberty is the right of the individual to act in faith; this liberty is not the grant of the state, but is to be recognized by the state. Man's duty to conscience is prior to, and always above, his duty to the state. Additionally, religious liberty is rooted in recognition that the state is limited and has "no jurisdiction over matters of religious belief and practice." Thus it is necessary that the state be limited to a civil role, and that church and state be separate. Religious liberty also has historical roots, being related to the emergence of the secular state, a greater degree of religious nonconformity and pluralism, and increasing international relations and developments in international law.
JCS 15 (Spring 1973): 241 - 58
JOURNAL OF CHURCH AND STATE: FIFTEEN YEARS IN RETROSPECT
For fifteen years JCS has been the only scholarly journal dedicated to addressing the relationship between church and state. The original commitment has been faithfully followed: "to provide a scholarly journal which would give an in-depth focus to church-state relations from various perspectives -- historical, theological, and judicial-and representative of a wide variety of religious traditions, both within and without the Judeo-Christian tradition." The volume of quality articles submitted has been impressive, but the scope of concepts addressed even more so. JCS has published contributions of major writers in the field of church-state relations. Reprints of major documents, reviews of significant books in the field, and "Notes on Church-State Affairs" have assisted in chronicling the growth of interest in this important topic. As Dr. James Leo Garrett, Jr. assumes the editor's position, "my sincere hope is that JCS may find an ever increasing sphere of influence and an ever growing readership as it probes further into the critical and far-reaching problems of church-state relations."
JCS 15 (Autumn 1973): 355 - 61
THE LEGACY OF JOSEPH MARTIN DAWSON (1879-1973)
Joseph Martin Dawson, for whom the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies was named, "was widely regarded as one of the most ardent and articulate defenders of religious liberty and the separation of church and state in America." Dawson contributed to the Journal of Church and State in many ways: he wrote an article for the first issue, he was a regular reviewer, and also a faithful reader and supporter, and from 1959 until his death he served on the Editorial Council. Dawson, a Baylor graduate (valedictorian in 1904) had a life full of accomplishments. He pastored in Hillsboro, Temple, and Waco. He was a prolific author, writing 12 books, several addressing church-state issues. He was an editor of the Baptist Standard of Texas. He was founder and editor from 1946 to 1953 of Report from the Capital, a periodical addressing church and state issues published by the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs; he was the Committee's first Executive Director, serving from 1946 to 1954. Dawson was a Southern Baptist denominational leader, holding the position of chairman of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1945. He served as a Baylor trustee for thirty years and was a founder of Hillcrest Baptist Hospital in Waco. Dawson was deeply committed to religious liberty. He helped to found the organization today known as Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "More than any other person in his day he influenced his own denomination toward a recommitment to religious liberty and the separation of church and state." We are grateful for his legacy.
15 JCS (Autumn 1973): 363 - 66
RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM AND THE NEW RIGHT
The history of the United States as a free society, with politics open to all participants, has seen a very active involvement by religious groups. The Constitution places a prohibition on state activity with regard to religion, not on religious activity with regard to the state. The New Religious Right focuses on issues such as prayer in schools, abortion, and the spread of pornography. Political action groups including Christian Voice, Moral Majority, and The Roundtable have emerged to lead the movement. With a pro-God, pro-family, and pro-America message, such groups are "permeated with triumphalism" in a "crusade for the soul of the nation." The movement is well funded and organized. It has partisan leanings, often aligning itself with the Republican Party. The crusade of the New Right goes beyond addressing a few issues or exhorting Christians to greater political involvement, it calls for "a political ideology, a political agenda," and "partisan political action." It offers simplistic answers to complex social issues. By confusing moral absolutes with public policy, it labels any disagreement as antiGod. There is a danger that political leaders may seek to use the New Religious Right for political ends. Its narrow agenda is both "morally and politically deficient," lacking a concern for the larger questions of injustice, poverty, bigotry, and war.
JCS 22 (Autumn 1980): 409-21
TUITION TAX CREDITS FOR NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS?
Recent proposed legislation would provide a tax credit for up to fifty percent of tuition payments for students in private schools. The only indirect support to private education authorized by the Supreme Court has been for transportation and textbooks. The Court has consistently rejected state support for private schools in the form of tuition reimbursement and tax credits, evaluating support by the purpose-primary effect-no entanglement formula. Tax credits would violate each of these, advancing religious instruction at public expense, as well as entangling government with religion in determining who would qualify for the credits. Additionally, the program would radically alter the American policy of providing support to public education, subject to public policy and public accountability. Private schools would actually receive preferential treatment, siphoning away support needed for public schools. The funds would not be subject to public control or accountability. Demand for greater funding would spill over into the political arena, dividing votes along religious lines. Tax credits would also be expensive as well as regressive, aiding the affluent at the expense of the poor. Tax credits for private education are "incompatible with the guarantees of a free and democratic society."
JCS 23 (Winter 1981): 5 - 14 The anticipated policy of the Reagan administration to remove restrictions on prayer in the public schools, intended to reverse the effect of Engel v. Vitale and Abington School District v. Schempp, "is unnecessary, ill-advised, and unconstitutional. It does not serve the legitimate interests of the state or true religion." Freedom from religious coercion in the public schools is critical in America's "free and pluralistic society." The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that state supported or prescribed religion is not allowed in the public schools, but has encouraged the teaching of religion as an academic exercise. Though proposed amendments to the Constitution to allow prayer in schools have failed, the current effort, led by Jesse Helms, would allow the states to "intrude into the religious beliefs and practices of public school children." The method of achieving this, removing states' provisions on prayer in the public schools from the jurisdiction of the federal courts, would restrict the ability of the Supreme Court to exercise its constitutional check or enforce the Bill of Rights. This would set a dangerous precedent and weaken the rights of the people, as well as violate the rule that Congress cannot eliminate the Court's jurisdiction to accomplish a result that Congress is unable to achieve through the constitutional amendment process. The public schools have a responsibility not only to teach the Constitution, but also to uphold it in practice.
JCS 23 (Spring 1981): 205 - 13
THE PROPOSED UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Though the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, no declaration specifically defining religious liberty was proposed until the March, 1981, "Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Bases on Religion or Belief." Religious liberty is rooted in liberty of conscience; it has only recently received the full protection of law in a few countries. Advances in religious liberty came as religious authority weakened in developing nation-states, which adopted constitutions that guaranteed religious liberty as a natural and divine right. Increased international relations, more widespread distributions of religions, as well as recognition of the principle of religious liberty have all contributed to advances. The "Draft Declaration" confirms freedom of thought, conscience, and belief (Art. 1); freedom from discrimination (Art. 2); protection from discrimination (Art. 4); and freedom for parents to impart religious faith to their children (Art. 5). Article Six specifies the freedom of worship, freedom to teach religious doctrines, freedom to train leaders, etc., but it lacks provisions guaranteeing equal protection for all religions, judicial review when rights are denied, freedom to openly witness about one's faith, freedom for religious pilgrimages, freedom of association, and freedom to maintain international religious relations.
JCS 23 (Autumn 1981): 413-22
TOLERANCE AND TRUTH IN RELIGION
Religion has often been associated with the identity of the community, tribe, or nation. To preserve national unity, dissent could not be allowed. Since religions claim uniqueness and superiority, they tend to be intolerant toward other religions, creating conflict. Sometimes religions have been tolerant of other religions, but only as long as their own gods, national identity, or values were not attacked. Christianity was persecuted in the Roman Empire because it was a threat to the unity of the state, which was rooted in religion. When Christians gained political power, they persecuted pagans and heretics. The Protestant Reformation continued the idea of the Christian state, as well as persecution of dissenters that accompanied it. The Puritans brought these ideas to America and likewise prohibited dissent. Toleration emerged slowly. The Protestant Reformation worked toward tolerance by dismembering Christendom; new nation-states emerged; ecclesiastical authority waned; international relations increased; and secular, constitutional governments recognized new pluralistic societies. Toleration of others' faiths is not a denial of one's own, nor of the finality of truth. Hopefully, faiths can move beyond tolerance to genuine goodwill toward each other.
JCS 24 (Winter 1982): 5 - 11
"SCIENTIFIC CREATIONISM" IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The demand of anti-evolutionists that "scientific creationism" receive equal treatment with evolution raises church-states issues. An Arkansas requirement that prohibited the teaching of evolution was challenged in Epperson v. Arkansas ( 1968), where the Supreme Court ruled that the law was rooted in religion in violation of the First Amendment. Arkansas' law requiring equal treatment of evolution and creationism was addressed in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education. Judge William R. Overton ruled that the law was intended to advance religion, had no secular purpose, and unlawfully entangled government with teaching religion. Overton determined that "scientific creationism" was not a science because it was not subject to revision and was not falsifiable. The proposed teaching of scientific creationism, which is really a fundamentalist interpretation of Genesis, threatens both the free exercise of those who disagree and the separation of church and state. A state requirement that it be taught threatens academic freedom; it would be intolerant of free inquiry and dissent. Such a mandate would also threaten scientific inquiry and the institutional integrity of the public schools. Religion and science are not contradictory. One deals with the infinite, the other the finite. The Biblical view of creation can be studied, as can all religions, as an academic pursuit.
JCS 24 (Spring 1982): 231 - 43
NEW RELIGIONS AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Diversity in religion has always characterized the American experience. James Madison viewed the multiplicity of sects as the best guard against the tyranny of the majority. The oppressive attitude toward new religions in America overlooks the benefits of diversity and fails to recognize that the guarantee of freedom and equality for all religions is essential. New religions have been classified as "cults" and accused of tax abuses, coercion, subversion, and violence. Irate parents of converts have pressured lawmakers to investigate and regulate the activities of these untraditional religions. Government investigation of a religious group without probable cause of criminal activity is no more than a witch hunt and violates both the Establishment and Equal Protection clauses. Government must have a compelling state interest to intrude into or regulate religious affairs. Nonconventional beliefs or practices do not warrant unequal treatment before the law. Government support for deprogramming is the latest manifestation of improper government intrusion into religion; coerced deprogramming violates one's freedom to exercise religious beliefs as well unlawfully entangles government with religion. The "denial of religious liberty to any one group is a threat to the religious liberty of all."
JCS 24 (Autumn 1982): 455-62
Whereas religion was usually identified with a tribe, nation, or empire, the modern tendency is toward religious pluralism. The growth of pluralism is a product of several developments: the rise of the secular state, which departs from dependence on divine law for its authority; the disestablishment of the national faith, replaced by equal treatment of all faiths; the related rise of religious liberty; a growing respect for human rights; and increasing international interaction resulting in interfaith encounters. A theology of dialogue has been developed to address interfaith encounters, with the understanding that dialogue does not imply religious relativism or repudiation of religious absolutes. Pluralism benefits both the state and religion; in "a truly religiously pluralistic society each religious faith affirms equal freedom for other faiths." The defense of pluralism affirms the voluntary nature of religion and liberty of conscience. Interfaith dialogue is important in a pluralistic society, not for the trivialization of religious differences, but for the recognition that religious principles are important and worthy of discussion. Rather than seeking uniformity, dialogue should seek unity in diversity. Such is especially important in the further development of the world community.
JCS 25 (Winter 1983): 5 - 11
THE NUCLEAR ARMS RACE AND THE CHURCHES
The threat to world peace appears to be growing as nuclear arms increase. The pervasive nationalism and militarism of the century have produced many devastating wars, but the threat of a nuclear war is far more serious than any wars that have ever taken place. The rational for nuclear arms buildup by the major world powers is to provide a deterrence for war and to preserve peace; both the Soviet Union and the United States have pledged not to launch a first strike. With rejection of SALT II, there appears no likelihood of an arms agreement. Since a nuclear war cannot be won, one must consider the best means of deterrence. The Reagan administration resorted to increased defense expenditures. Vocal opposition to the nuclear arms race by a majority of America's churches is a major development in church-state relations, though a few church groups, represented by the New Religious Right, have supported the military buildup. Perhaps the most significant development was the release of a pastoral letter by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, "The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response," calling for a nuclear test ban, a freeze on production of nuclear arms, and deep bilateral cuts in armaments. The document contributes "to the role of churches in their peace witness and in advancing the cause of peace throughout the world."
JCS 25 (Spring 1983): 219 - 29
JOURNAL OF CHURCH AND STATE: AFTER 25 YEARS
The Journal of Church and State is committed to publishing high-quality and comprehensive materials related to church and state issues while maintaining an interfaith, international, and interdisciplinary perspective. The journal has published some 500 articles addressing major church and state issues from a wide range of religious traditions, as well as significant denominational documents, notes on world-wide church-state developments, and reviews of more than 1700 books in the field. Many changes in church-state relations have occurred during the last generation, with declarations of religious liberty becoming almost universal. The U.S. Supreme Court has promoted religious liberty through requiring separation of church and state. Religious involvement in politics has intensified. Whereas government formerly promoted religion, the growing trend of government intrusion in religious affairs is through taxation and regulation, threatening free exercise and the prophetic role of religion. The clash between pluralism and nationalism is also inevitable, as is the increasing interaction between religious faiths. The Journal of Church and State will continue to address these issues.
JCS 26 (Winter 1984): 5 - 15
RELIGION AND EDUCATION IN AMERICAN CHURCH-STATE RELATIONS
The relations of the state to religious schools and religion to state schools have been critical issues in church-state relations and jurisprudence. The separation of church and state and public education are two of America's greatest contributions, and their development is related. Public, secular education increased as religion was disestablished in the United States. Only in the twentieth century was there a resurgence of Bible reading and prayer in the public schools and public funding for parochial schools. U.S. Supreme Court decisions addressing these issues have required that public schools be accountable to the public and provisions of the First Amendment prohibiting religious establishment. This has been interpreted as barring religious practices, such as religious instruction ( McCollum, 1948) or prayer and Bible reading, from the public schools ( Engel, 1962; Schempp, 1963). The Court has not prohibited the study of the Bible or religion in the public schools; it has in fact encouraged that study as an academic endeavor. Most religious organizations have supported these decisions, viewing them as protective of religious freedom. In the other major area of church-state jurisprudence, the Court has prohibited direct public funding of parochial schools; this doctrine was clarified in Everson ( 1947) and many other cases including Lemon ( 1971) and Tilton ( 1971).
JCS 26 (Winter 1984): 31 - 54
U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE VATICAN
The 1984 appointment of a United States ambassador to the Vatican was out of keeping with two hundred years of the nation's history. Though the United States had a chargé d'affaires to the Papal States from 1848 to 1867, this was a period when the papacy had extensive civil jurisdiction, and Congress cut off funds to the mission in 1867. Franklin Roosevelt appointed a personal representative to the Vatican during World War II. Truman followed Roosevelt's lead and even submitted a nomination to the Senate for an ambassador to the Vatican, which was subsequently withdrawn among overwhelming opposition. Presidents Nixon and Carter also appointed personal representatives to the Vatican. President Reagan's personal representative to the Vatican, William A. Wilson, was later nominated for the ambassador's post. Repeal of the 1867 prohibition on funds and approval of the nomination occurred in spite of opposition from several church bodies and churchstate liberties organizations. The Catholic League was supportive and characterized opposition as anti-Catholic prejudice. The mission must be opposed as promoting religion, entangling the government with religion, and granting preferential status to one religious body. The United States already has an embassy in Rome with a Vatican desk; any need to communicate with the Vatican can be met in other ways.
JCS 26 (Spring 1984): 197 - 207
RELIGION AND POLITICS-1984
Religion and politics were closely entangled in the 1984 presidential elections, with President Ronald Reagan heavily supported by the New Religious Right, which is "committed to the integration of its moral and spiritual values in the formulation of public policy." In the 1960 election the concern was whether John Kennedy would uphold separation of church and state; currently separation of church and state is itself under attack. The New Religious Right assumes that America is a "Christian nation" and should oppose secularism and reinstitute its version of Christian values in legislation. President Reagan tied himself to this agenda; his campaign chairman, Senator Paul Laxalt, wrote that Reagan supported "issues of concern to Christian citizens." This statement offended mainline Christian leaders who disagree with that agenda, as well as Jewish leaders, who likewise see their views excluded. The movement shows little toleration of others' views and leaves no room for compromise. The unwise claim, as Lincoln noted, that God is on one's side is always presumptuous. The social agenda of the New Religious Right, if instituted, would end separation of church and state and undermine the equality of all religions as well as irreligion before the law.
JCS 26 (Autumn 1984): 401-11
EQUAL ACCESS: A NEW DIRECTION IN AMERICAN PUBLIC EDUCATION
The Equal Access Act set a new direction in American public education, requiring public secondary schools which receive federal funds to provide equal access for student groups (if a school allows any noncurriculum groups to meet) regardless of their "religious, political, or philosophical" content. The Equal Access Act was a strategy of the New Religious Right to get prayer back into public schools, having failed to secure prayer by other means. Many Democratic House members voted for it to avoid being branded as anti-religion. The legislation was broadly supported, receiving the endorsement of the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches, and the U.S. Catholic Conference; it was, however, opposed by many major religious bodies. The result of the Act is to preempt local control of schools, while federal control is expanded. Under the Act's requirements schools essentially must sponsor religious groups; the presence of school officials at the meetings is a de facto endorsement. Neither schools nor parents may prohibit advocacy of political, philosophical, or religious positions which have traditionally been denied access; religious training, however, is too important to be removed from control of parents and churches. The Act is an intrusion of government into religion; its cumulative effect is to promote religion.
JCS 27 (Winter 1985): 5 - 17
WORLD RELIGIONS AND WORLD COMMUNITY
In the current age of interreligious encounter in an increasingly pluralistic world, interfaith relations, religious liberty, and world peace are topics of consideration. This discussion is in contrast to the conflict, discord, and intolerance of the past which characterized interfaith encounters. Teachings and traditions of great world religions encourage tolerance. Hinduism and Buddhism encourage the universal search for truth, thus rejecting intolerance. Judaism recognizes a God who blesses all men on the earth who seek wisdom. Islam rejects coerced belief and admonishes tolerance toward other religions. Christianity emphasizes a personal, voluntary response to a savior who is characterized by humility, and recognizes that the state cannot identify itself with the kingdom of God. Unfortunately, "the spirit of tolerance and the voluntariness of faith" reflected in these teachings "have not been historically characteristic or descriptive of the world religions generally." These teachings do, however, provide valuable resources for interfaith dialogue and goodwill. Religions of the world need to support the religious rights of all religions, as well as the advancement of world peace.
JCS 27 (Spring 1985): 217 - 22
RELIGIOUS PLURALISM AND AMERICAN SOCIETY
Religious diversity characterized the New World from the beginning of European settlement, but this did not produce toleration, as religious establishments largely prevailed. Practical needs for cooperation among sects as well as principled theory that government should not interfere with a man's relationship with his creator resulted in a movement toward religious liberty in the states as well as prohibiting religious tests for office and guaranteeing religious liberty on the national level. Also establishment of religion at the national level was clearly prohibited, acknowledging the pluralistic character of the new nation. This did not end bigotry and intolerance in the states; only ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment and subsequent incorporation of the First Amendment liberties ended discriminatory state policies. Efforts of the Reagan administration to incorporate into public policy the agenda of a sectarian religion threatens pluralism, the secular state, and a free society with equality for all regardless of religious belief. Separationists do not promote "secularism" but freedom. America's pluralism is a positive factor that is maintained by and supports separation and equality.
JCS 27 (Autumn 1985): 393-401
THE BATTLE OVER THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The public school is one of the major battlegrounds in American church-state relations. The Supreme Court has resisted efforts of the states to promote religion in the public schools. Many attacked these decisions as removing God from the public schools, but this overlooks the fact that the Court encouraged the academic study of religion. President Reagan has campaigned to put religion, and especially prayer, back into the public schools. The New Religious Right wants to restore a "Christian America" through "Christian education" in opposition to "secular humanism." Their agenda would threaten both the academic freedom and the academic integrity of the public schools. A truly secular education has no reason to undermine religion or traditional moral values. Education should address "human values, human achievements, and human capabilities, in which the activities, interests, and historical development of man are made central." There has been a decline in traditional family life and moral values, a rise in sexual promiscuity, and a breakdown of authority. Making the public school the scapegoat of America's social ills is simplistic; the schools can only reflect societal values. The church should concentrate on addressing moral and social ills in the voluntary sector before looking to the public sector.
JCS 28 (Winter 1986): 5 - 13
CHURCH LOBBYING AND PUBLIC POLICY
A majority of Americans are opposed to religious leaders becoming involved in politics. Lobbying, however, even for religious causes, is an important freedom in a democratic society. It should be viewed as "the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances." On the federal level lobbying was not regulated until passage of the Regulation of Lobbying Act of 1946. When such regulation is applied to churches, it raises constitutional issues. The Supreme Court recognized the right of church political involvement in Walz v. Tax Commission ( 1970) as guaranteed in the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Churches and clergy have always been involved in American politics. Church lobbying is "not only a constitutional right but also a divine obligation." Churches have a prophetic role in defending the rights of persons and making human institutions more just. Churches, however, are not always right, and they must be careful not to confuse political convictions with faith commitments or moral absolutes with political issues. There is no Christian blueprint for politics or society; churches can give direction but not directives. Churches have a valuable role in political affairs but should not attempt to usurp the role of the state.
JCS 28 (Spring 1986): 183 - 92
RELIGION AND THE STATE IN CHINA: WINTER IS PAST
Historically religion in China was communal rather than individual, and government and religion were intertwined. The three major religions in China, Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, were together referred to as San Chiao or "Three Teachings." Christianity came to China in separate missionary efforts, led by the Nestorians, then the Roman Catholics, and much later the Protestants, gaining substantial converts and influence in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With the victory of Chinese Communists and the rise to power of Mao Tse-tung in 1949, religion was brought under state control, many properties were confiscated, and any foreign influence banished. The only religious activities allowed were those that supported the state. The Cultural Revolution, 1966-76, sought to eradicate religion. With Mao's death in 1976 a new faction led by Deng Xiaoping reinstituted toleration of religion. The new constitution of 1982 recognized limited religious freedom. Document 19 of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee also recognized limited religious freedoms but affirmed its commitment to the Marxist vision of religion fading away. Instead of fading, however, religion appears to be on the upswing, with more than three million Protestants and a similar number of Catholics meeting in thousands of churches and millions more in house churches. Religious education is also increasing.
JCS 28 (Autumn 1986): 393-407
RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM AND THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
To religious fundamentalists secular humanism "embodies antimoral and anti-Christian ideas that undergird the liberal education and political philosophy that has come to control America." Public schools are denounced, and the Supreme Court is blamed for establishing secular humanism with its ban on religious instruction, prayer, and Bible reading in the public schools. Religious fundamentalists have sought to censor texts used in public schools seen to undermine Christian values, restore prayer in the public schools, replace texts which they believe conflict with their religious values, and substitute creationism for the teaching of evolution. The irony of the efforts of religious fundamentalists is that they seek to ban the teaching of secular humanism as an unlawful establishment of religion, but they want Christian values taught in the schools. The notion, however, that students should be exposed only to ideas "that are compatible with the values and beliefs of their parents is to threaten the freedom and integrity of education itself." In our pluralistic society it is impractical for the public schools to comply with the wishes of every parent. Textbooks should show respect for all religious beliefs and give greater attention to the role of religion in the history of man and civilization.
JCS 29 (Winter 1987): 7 - 17
"NO RELIGIOUS TEST SHALL EVER BE REQUIRED":
REFLECTIONS ON THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits religious tests for officials of the United States government. Proposed by Charles C. Pinckney, the provision reflected his concern for preventing discrimination associated with such disabilities in Great Britain. It passed unanimously and with little debate. According to Anson Phelps Stokes, this sole reference to religion in the U.S. Constitution "went far in thwarting any state church." The provision was not intended to interfere with the work of the church in society, but rather to secure religious liberty. It departed from the pattern of governments around the world as well as the colonial practice. The states followed the precedent and began eliminating religious tests for office, the major exception being in prohibiting clergy from holding office (which was finally eliminated in McDaniel v. Paty, 1978). Religious diversity within the thirteen states made a national religious test impractical. Banning of religious tests for office also indicated the intention to create a secular state, that is, a limited government with no authority over religious affairs. The New Religious Right's goal of placing only Christians in office undermines this intent. Religion has a right to be involved in the nation's public life, but only in the context of a secular state with policies serving a secular purpose.
JCS 29 (Spring 1987): 199 - 208
RELIGIOUS CENSORSHIP AND PUBLIC SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS
The New Religious Right recently suffered three major setbacks in its agenda. The first setback came in Edwards v. Aguillard in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law mandating equal time for the teaching of scientific creationism along with evolution. The Court found the provision did not have a secular purpose and had a primary purpose of advancing religion. The dissent stated that students should be free to consider both views. In a second case, Mozert v. Hawkins County Board of Education, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that requiring students to read material that offended their beliefs (or those of their parents) did not violate their free exercise; the court also found it impractical for the public schools to tailor their offerings to every religious belief. In a third case, Smith v. Mobile County Board of School Commissioners, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that textbooks could not be banned on the claim that they promoted "secular humanism." It is unfortunate that religious studies are under emphasized in the public school curriculum, but the use of secular texts that are neutral toward religion does not indicate hostility to religion. Meanwhile, those wanting more emphasis on religion are withdrawing from the public schools in large numbers.
JCS 29 (Autumn 1987): 401-410
RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT AND THE CHURCHES
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited employers from discriminating on the basis of religion. Section 702 exempted religious organizations from the prohibition on religious discrimination, but only in hiring workers for related "religious activities"; a later amendment deleted the word "religious." The exemption was challenged when six employees of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were dismissed after they failed to meet the requirement that they be in good standing with their local Mormon temple. The workers claimed, however, that their duties were not religious activities, and therefore their employment (or firing) was not exempt from Title VII requirements. The district court held that Congressional extension of the Section 702 exemption to secular activities of religious organizations was an unlawful establishment of religion. On appeal the U.S. Supreme Court, in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos ( 1984, 1985), ruled that extension of Section 702 to non-religious activity of churches did not advance religion, since government sponsorship or financial support was not involved. The decision is significant because it distinguishes "between allowing churches to advance religion" and "government advancement of religion." The ruling allows religious organizations and institutions to preserve their religious character.
JCS 30 (Winter 1988): 7 - 13
THE PROPHETIC ROLE OF RELIGION IN SOCIETY
As Reinhold Niebuhr noted, America is an irony in that it was founded as a secular republic, but is more religious than any other nation. Though religion was separated from government in the founding documents, nineteenth-century visitors such as Alexis de Tocqueville noted religion was an important political influence and inseparable from the life of the nation. This is still true today. Nevertheless, the current tendency is to denigrate the concept of America as a secular state. This is not new, for at its inception the Constitution was derided for not recognizing deity, and attempts have often been made to correct this. Theocrats still seek to mix religion with government, but mainline religious leaders have rejected these attempts, preferring separation. This is not to imply, however, that religion does not have an important prophetic role with regard to government policy, or that religion cannot be involved in public affairs. Freedom from mixture with government leaves religion free to boldly criticize the established order, "advancing justice, and promoting the general welfare of society." Even the totalitarian state tolerates religion when it supports the state. The test of religious freedom is whether the church is free to criticize the state.
JCS 30 (Spring 1988): 217 - 25
RELIGION, THE STATE, AND SEXUAL MORALITY
The U.S. Supreme Court, in Bowen v. Kendrick ( 1988), upheld provisions of the Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) that authorize federal grants to public and nonpublic (including religious) organizations in combating teenage pregnancy and abortion. The legislation, supported by the New Religious Right, was adopted in 1981. In a 1983 challenge a federal district court ruled that the Act failed the Lemon test because it advanced religion by funding religious organizations as well as entangled government with religion in setting a religiously oriented agenda for counseling. On appeal, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing for the majority of the Supreme Court, found that Congress may recognize the role of religion as well as fund religious organizations in solving secular problems. Rehnquist wrote that local administrators could determine if organizations were using the funds to promote religious doctrine; pervasively sectarian groups should not receive the funds. Blackmun, in dissent, argued that the Act unlawfully funded religious instruction on sexual morality, as well as unlawfully used religion to accomplish secular ends. The decision may presage a shift in the Court's interpretations toward "more accommodation and collaboration between church and state on a wide range of educational and welfare services."
JCS 30 (Autumn 1988): 431-39
RELIGIOUS PLURALISM AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
Religious pluralism, increasingly a fact of life around the world, is attributable to the expanding reach of traditional world religions as well as the creation of new religions. Wrongly referred to as cults, most new religions are reform movements of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sufism, or such as appeal to human self-realization. New religions have been quite successful at winning more converts than traditional religions, as have conservative counterparts of mainline denominations. With more traditional religions perceived as becoming increasingly more secular, and as individuals experience loss of faith, family breakdown, and societal dislocation, religions offering greater certainty and a sense of community have prospered. New religions are often seen as radical and are met with hostility. Discrimination against them must be rejected as a "violation of the human person." The broad recognition of religious liberty expressed in the U.N. declarations is a matter of international law and should be respected. Respect for religious freedom, even when a religion's teachings are disapproved by society generally, is just and right; religious pluralism is essential to a free state. Denial of liberty for one is a threat to all.
JCS 31 (Winter 1989): 7 - 14
SEPARATION VIS-A-VIS ACCOMMODATION:
A NEW DIRECTION IN AMERICAN CHURCH-STATE RELATIONS?
Those opposed to strict separation of church and state want more government accommodation to religion, including nonpreferential aid to religion. Robert Cord's Separation of Church and State: Historical Fact and Current Fiction ( 1982), a major attack on the separationist position, was cited by Chief Justice William Rehnquist in his Wallace v. Jaffree ( 1985) dissent in which he called for abandonment of the "wall of separation" concept. Since the Supreme Court did not define the Establishment Clause until 1947 in Everson, many have attacked the reasoning as an innovation without historical foundation. Strict separation, however, was the position of both Madison and Jefferson, as cited in nineteenth-century Supreme Court decisions. While Leo Pfeffer and other commentators have viewed the clauses as dual aspects of the single right of religious liberty, today many support giving primacy to free exercise above establishment, accommodating religion where possible. Decisions such as Lynch v. Donnelly ( 1984) placed free exercise above establishment concerns, more in line with Rehnquist's reasoning. These developments are both "disturbing and disappointing" for those committed to separation as the best means of preserving religious liberty.
JCS 31 (Spring 1989): 197 - 206
MAKING A NATION'S FLAG A SACRED SYMBOL
The United States Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. Johnson that burning the American flag in protest was a protected act of political expression under the First Amendment. President Bush and many members of Congress, veterans' organizations, and editors denounced the decision. Various statutes were proposed to counter the ruling, as well as a Constitutional amendment proposed to protect the flag. The ruling resulted from the conviction of Gregory Lee Johnson for burning an American flag at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the conviction, finding that Texas could not impose a penalty on Johnson for protected political speech. On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court cited its precedents disallowing state forced political conformity. The Court reasoned that (1) the state cannot determine orthodoxy in flag usage; (2) flag burning should not be distinguished from any other protest activity; (3) there was no practical limit on outlawing flag desecration; and (4) honor of the flag would not be enhanced by restricting the freedoms for which the flag stands. Beyond the Court's determinations, there is a concern for a secular state granting any symbol a sacred status. This would distort the meaning of the flag as well as contradict the secular and human (not divine) basis of the nation.
JCS 31 (Autumn 1989): 375-80
RELIGION AND NATIONAL INTERESTS
The term "national interests" is often used today to justify activities of the nation-state, with the support of religion, that would otherwise be unacceptable. It has been common in history for the state to use religion; the state and religion have been traditionally allied and even indistinguishable. The early Christian church, radically separated from the state, was an exception to this rule. During the Middle Ages, however, the Christian church and the state were allied. Following the Reformation the ruler determined the form of Christianity in his dominion. Subordination of religion to the state has increased in modern history. Such has been true in Japan, where Shinto was established in 1889, and China, where Confucianism was used to perpetuate the ruling class. Even the People's Republic of China recognized religions and practices which supported the state. Hitler used the church to promote his nationalistic agenda, with little dissent. The same has been true in Eastern Europe, exampled in support for Ceausescu's iron rule by the Romanian Orthodox Church. Virtually all modern nation-states welcome the support of religion for their policies, but often discriminate against churches that speak out against state policies. The state must be limited and have no control of the church. The church must be free and active in society without compromising its valuable mission. JCS 32 (Winter 1990): 7 - 16
ABRIDGING THE FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE
In a significant decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Oregon Employment Division v. Smith ruled that a state is not required to demonstrate a compelling interest to overcome a free exercise of religion claim. Beginning with Cantwell v. Connecticut ( 1940) the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional state laws which conflicted with a free exercise claim, later developing the "compelling interest" and the "alternate means" tests to determine if a state's law could override a claim of religious exemption. The Smith decision involved two individuals who were fired from their jobs with a private drug rehabilitation organization because they ingested peyote in a religious ceremony of the Native American Church. The state of Oregon denied them unemployment benefits. In 1990 the Supreme Court determined that Oregon's prohibition on peyote use was a lawful exercise of its powers, that the law was generally applicable, and that it did not place an undue burden on religious practice. The state was not required to make an exception for sacramental drug use or prove a compelling interest. Dissenting opinions argued that the Court should have used the compelling interest test. The Smith decision is disturbing in that it allows states to abridge the free exercise of religion if laws are generally applicable.
JCS 32 (Autumn 1990): 741-52
RISING EXPECTATIONS FOR RELIGIOUS RIGHTS IN EASTERN EUROPE
Religion, which played a significant role in overthrowing the communist regimes of Eastern Europe, is now receiving attention in the new polities. Poland in 1989 adopted the "Guarantee of Freedom of Conscience and Religion." In East Germany the greater measure of religious freedom experienced under communist rule was expanded. The Czechoslovak Federal Assembly approved a law guaranteeing to all Czech citizens the right to full religious freedom. Hungary's National Assembly approved "The Right of Freedom and Conscience," guaranteeing a greater measure of religious freedom than has ever existed in Hungary. The oppressive regime of Ceausescu in Rumania has been replaced with a much freer state, with many restrictions on religion removed or modified; laws on religious freedom are being developed. Bulgarian oppression of religion has ceased; churches can meet freely, carry on charitable activities, and operate schools and seminaries; a new law guaranteeing full freedom of religion has been drafted. In Albania, former bastion of atheism, political and religious prisoners have been released, churches reopened, and religious practice is permitted. The Soviet Union drafted a new law on freedom of conscience; churches are being reopened; monasteries returned to the church; and religion is being acknowledged in public life. Though the future of these nations is unsure, expectations for religious rights appear to be irreversible.
JCS 33 (Winter 1991): 1 - 15
RELIGION AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Religious liberty in minimal terms "includes the inherent right of a person to worship in public or in private according to one's own understanding or preference, to practice and propagate one's faith, and to change one's religion-all without hindrance or molestation." Though religious liberty is basic to human rights, its recognition is relatively recent. Religions, claiming absolute truth, have been more inclined to encourage intolerance and persecution than recognize religious liberty. Developments in religious liberties have not come primarily from religion, but from secular authorities in the modern nationstate and increasing religious pluralism and religious interaction. Only after World War II did religious liberty receive recognition in international law, and practice lags far behind the declarations. Factors necessary for the existence of religious liberty include a limited state, equality of all religions under the law, prohibitions on all forms of discrimination, and the right of religious dissent. The state should avoid sanctification of any of its activities. The church needs to be separated from the state to maintain its message and witness. Religions should not only tolerate one another, but should take other faiths seriously and support "religious liberty as an ally of authentic religious faith."
JCS 33 (Spring 1991): 225 - 230
THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS
Upon the celebration of the Bill of Rights it is well to recall the reason for its existence. The only reference to religion in the Constitution was a negative one in Article VI, Clause 3, prohibiting religious tests for office. Oliver Ellsworth and others denied that the clause was unfavorable to religion, explaining that it was intended to prohibit religious discrimination and promote religious freedom. There was a general concern throughout the states that the Constitution lacked a bill of rights. Its framers had reasoned that a bill of rights was not necessary in a government of delegated powers. In addition, several essential provisions, such as the right to trial by jury in criminal cases, had been included in the Constitution. Yet several states ratified the Constitution on the promise that a bill of rights would be added, proposing amendments for Congressional consideration. Among the proposed additions were guarantees for religious liberty; these were reflective of liberalization of the states' own provisions in this regard. Freedom of religion, essential to all other freedoms, precedes other rights listed in the Bill of Rights. Application of the Bill of Rights to the states has elevated them to a central role in American democracy. Americans must cherish and protect these rights.
JCS 33 (Summer 1991): 443-52
THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT
Oregon Employment Division v. Smith, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, determined that the state of Oregon could deny unemployment benefits to employees of a private drug rehabilitation agency because of their use of peyote during ceremonies of the Native American Church. The uniqueness of the decision is in its reasoning; the Court said that the state was not required to show a compelling interest to override a free exercise of religion claim, as long as its law was a legitimate exercise of its power and was generally applicable. This reasoning neglected 30 years of jurisprudence, beginning with Sherbert v. Verner ( 1963), that said states had to show a compelling interest if laws were to withstand a free exercise claim. Justice O'Connor strongly dissented, wanting to require the state to prove a compelling interest before allowing encroachment on religious freedom. Leading constitutional lawyers sharply criticized the decision as undermining religious freedom. A diverse coalition of civil and religious liberty groups and churches supported The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, designed to counter the effect of Smith. Its passage is desperately needed, because the disastrous effect of Smith has already been seen in court decisions where free exercise claims have been ignored.
JCS 33 (Autumn 1991): 673-79
CEREMONIAL PRAYERS AT PUBLIC SCHOOL GRADUATIONS: LEE V. WEISMAN
The Supreme Court will once again address school prayer in Lee v. Weisman, which resulted from a challenge to prayers offered by clergy at graduation ceremonies in Providence, Rhode Island. Both district and appeals courts disallowed graduation prayers, holding that the prayers violated all three provisions of the Lemon test. Several states as well as the Bush administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn the rulings, arguing that the Lemon test was an improper means of determining churchstate relations, as it had resulted in invalidating "practices with substantial historical sanction." The proper test, the administration argued, was whether the policy was coercive and actually established a religion. The Court's prior Establishment Clause rulings consistently upheld neutrality, beginning with Everson v. Board of Education ( 1947). Recent court decisions have tended toward allowing government accommodation of religious practice rather than neutrality. Replacement of the test of neutrality with one of coercion "bodes ill for the future of church-state relations in the United States." The shift would allow aid to and endorsement of religious activity, or even adopting an official religion; it would end government neutrality toward religion and irreligion alike.
JCS 34 (Winter 1992): 7 - 14
VOICES FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Religious liberty is a relatively modern phenomenon. Though the concept is found in the teachings of the world's great religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, it has not often been put into practice. Pleas for religious toleration and religious liberty have most often come from religious dissenters, or those disenfranchised or persecuted for their faiths. Such pleas went unheeded until the modern era, and that largely due to civil rather than religious initiatives. Only since World War II has religious liberty been recognized in international law as an inherent human right, including rights of liberty of conscience and freedom of worship and freedom to give witness of one's faith, encompassing the right of propagation and the right to change one's religion, all without suffering discrimination or civil disabilities. Declarations on religious liberty have been issued by World Council of Churches, other church and religious organizations, the Roman Catholic Church, and the United Nations. Yet the twentieth century has seen flagrant violations of religious liberty and religious rights. The new democracies in Eastern Europe are writing guarantees for religious rights. This is appropriate, for religious liberty is the cornerstone of all human rights.
JCS 34 (Spring 1992): 221 - 28
THE BUDAPEST INTERNATIONAL CONSULTATION ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY,
RELIGIOUS RIGHTS, AND ETHNIC IDENTITY
The new democracies of eastern Europe, having thrown off the Soviet yoke, are committed to upholding civil and political rights, and especially religious rights. These were addressed at the Budapest International Consultation on Religious Liberty, Religious Rights, and Ethnic Identity held under the auspices of the Budapest-based Democracy After Communism Foundation and the International Academy for Freedom of Religion and Belief. The Consultation included legal, governmental, and religious leaders representing seventeen Eastern and Central European countries and various religious traditions, plus observers from Western Europe and the United States. Among other major addresses, the editor, as president of the International Academy for Freedom of Religion and Belief, reviewed the emergence of religious liberty as well as broad recognition of the principle in international law and by international religious organizations. The Consultation's discussion included becoming more closely related to the international community, protecting both ethnic and religious minorities, protecting liberty of conscience and freedom of worship, returning church properties, church-state relations, and whether religious teaching should be allowed in the schools. Success of the Consultation will be seen in the degree of protection granted for religious liberties under the new governments.
JCS 34 (Summer 1992): 465-73
RELIGION AND THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1992
The 1992 Republican National Convention was marked by frequent references to God and moral and family values associated with religion, painting the Democratic party as supporting policies that undermined these values. Pat Buchanan declared that the nation was in the midst of a political and religious war. The platform adopted by the convention expressed opposition to abortion and civil rights protection for gays, and support for prayer and equal access for religious groups in public schools, vouchers to assist parents in sending children to private schools, and government promulgation of family values. President Bush chided the Democratic platform for failing to mention God. The Democratic nominees, Bill Clinton and Al Gore, members and committed churchgoers in Southern Baptist churches, oppose the agenda of the new Religious Right, disagreeing with their political views as well as their stands on church-state issues. Clinton rejected the divisive notion of religious war and instead called for a reaffirmation of values rooted in religious faith. While all Americans, regardless of their religious faith, have a right to participate in politics, the positions of the New Religious Right are "inappropriate to and out of character with the American tradition of church and state" and threatening to a free and pluralistic society.
JCS 34 (Autumn 1992): 721-28
THE PLACE OF CHURCH-STATE STUDIES IN THE UNIVERSITY
Though church-state studies are a relatively recent field of academic inquiry, there is a growing body of literature on the subject. Church-state studies address the interaction of government and religion; this is especially relevant when functions intersect, and there are conflicting claims. The role of religion in national and international affairs has often been underestimated, but the rise of church-state studies indicates an increasing acknowledgment of their importance. University studies should examine several aspects of church-state relations. Religion has played a formative role as the molder and purveyor of cultures and civilizations. In most ancient cultures, religion and government were inseparable, and the ruler often claimed divinity. A dualism of church-state roles was a product of Jewish and Christian ideas. Additionally, church-state relations have been a major issue in the history of Christianity and Western civilization. The church-state problem was near the center of the Christian faith, as articulated by Jesus, "Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's. University studies can also address church-state relations in American history. The American development of church-state separation was a bold, unparalleled experiment intended to free both church and state. Additionally, religion continues to be a major factor in national and international affairs, which cannot be understood without a grasp of their significance. Religion currently plays a major role in American politics, as it has throughout American history. An understanding of the importance of the nexus between religion and government has spurred interest of professional journals (such as the Journal of Church and State) as well as numerous academic programs concentrating in these issues, including the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University.
JCS 35 (Winter 1993): 131 - 51
THE BRANCH DAVIDIAN STANDOFF: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY
The assault by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on a religious group near Waco ended in tragedy; initially four agents and six Branch Davidians were killed; the final fiery climax brought the deaths of many more. The initial assault was "an unprecedented operation against a religious group." The Branch Davidians were formed from the Davidians, which departed from Seventh-day Adventists in 1934. They believed in a radical separation from the world of unbelievers and a radical apocalyptic imminent Second Coming of Christ. Vernon Howell, who changed his name to David Koresh, achieved control of the group in 1987. Lessons to be learned from the tragedy are, first, that government agencies need to take seriously the beliefs held by religious groups, even when these are out of the mainstream; seeking to discredit a religious group with the appellation of "cult" is inappropriate. An adversarial confrontation should be avoided, especially when the group predicts a violent confrontation with the world. Second, government should more consistently regulate the purchase of firearms. Also, constitutional rights of religious freedom must be respected regardless of the peculiarity of beliefs.
JCS 35 (Spring 1993): 233 - 40
THE BATTLE OVER RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN RUSSIA
As pledged by Mikhail Gorbachev, Russia approved a 1990 law which guaranteed the right of conscience, gave all religions equal status, prohibited state funding for religion, allowed churches to possess property and operate schools, and acknowleged freedom to publish and disseminate one's faith. A religious resurgence followed, including evangelistic initiatives from Western churches. The Russian Orthodox Church, generally viewing this activity with suspicion, sought government aid in restricting it. One result of this was creation of the Consultative Council of Experts to consider regulations on religious activities. Additionally, the International Academy for Freedom of Religion and Belief was asked to select legal scholars for consultation on drafting a new law on religion. Several Western scholars attended this conference, including James E. Wood, Jr., president of the International Academy, who cochaired the meeting. The session adopted a statement recognizing religious liberties as declared in international law. Meanwhile the Russian Parliament, involved in a power struggle with President Yeltsin, approved a law allowing free operation only for registered religious groups. President Yeltsin refused to sign this law, as it was contrary to previous international declarations to which Russia was a signatory.
JCS 35 (Summer 1993): 491-502
THE RESTORATION OF THE FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), approved by Congress in October 1993, was designed to restore the "compelling state interest" test in determining whether a state law can withstand a free exercise of religion challenge. Previously the Court had begun departing from the view that the Establishment Clause required a secular state and government neutrality toward both religion and irreligion, in its place adopting a more accommodating position toward religion, as supported by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The Court in Oregon Employment Division v. Smith confronted Rehnquist's view of accommodating free exercise, as well as more than thirty years of Court precedents. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the Court in Smith, determined that Oregon was not required to show a compelling interest to enforce a law prohibiting peyote use even though it conflicted with the religious exercises of the Native American Church. Since the law was generally applicable, and a legitimate exercise of state power, it was upheld. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's dissent stressed the need for showing a compelling interest for constricting free exercise to protect rights of religious minorities. Subsequently RFRA was approved by Congress to restore the compelling interest test for state legislation under Congress' power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment.
JCS 35 (Autumn 1993): 715-22
THIRTY-FIVE YEARS OF JOURNAL OF CHURCH AND STATE IN RETROSPECT
Thirty five years ago the Journal of Church and State began with meager financial resources and no assurance of success. The subsequent history of the journal, however, demonstrated the timeliness of addressing church-state issues. The journal has been faithful to its original purpose "to stimulate interest, encourage dialogue, advance research, foster publication of scholarly essays, and provide a forum on the subject of church and state," while maintaining both an ecumenical character and academic integrity. At the same time, the journal has been an advocate of religious freedom and religious rights. The journal's character has remained interfaith, international, and interdisciplinary, publishing articles that represent a wide variety of faiths, geographic areas, and academic disciplines. The journal has kept abreast of church-state developments with its "Notes on Church-State Affairs," and tracked academic discussions with hundreds of book reviews and listings of doctoral dissertations in the field. Though religious liberty has advanced, it is far from being realized, and is constantly under assault. Noting that this editorial was his last as editor of J C S, the editor expressed his confidence that J C S would continue to address these concerns under new editorship.
JCS 36 (Winter 1994): 5 - 12
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