• From Establishment to Freedom of Public Religion

    Author(s):
    John Witte, Jr. (see profile)
    Date:
    2004
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Wall of Separation, United States Constitution, Law and religion, First Amendment, Religious Freedom, Religious Establishment, Public Religion
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/1kwg-jb25
    Abstract:
    This Article juxtaposes the theories of religious liberty developed by Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. It argues that Jefferson’s notion of a “wall of separation between church and state” was a minority view in his day, and in the century to follow. More commonplace was Adams’ view that balanced the freedom of all peaceable private religions with the “mild and equitable establishment” of one public religion. Adam’s model of religious liberty dominated much of nineteenth-century law and culture, Jefferson’s model a good bit of twentieth-century law and culture. In its most recent cases, the U.S. Supreme Court seems to be developing a new model of religious liberty that draws on the insights of both Jefferson and Adams, but rejects their respective calls for the privatization or the establishment of religion. The Court’s formula is that both private and public forms of religion deserve constitutional freedom and support, though neither may be given preferential treatment.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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