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Kennedy’s speech on Separation of Church and State in 1960.

Trump had promised to fill the open slot on the high court with someone who holds “” to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Unfortunately, it appears that Trump has acted to fulfill that promise. Like Scalia, Gorsuch has exhibited hostility to church-state separation, which is the foundation of religious freedom. That is why Americans United opposes this nomination.

With Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and members of the majority party in Congress promising to adopt policies antithetical to church-state separation – including , and – the Supreme Court could be more important than ever.

What experiences led these leaders to be wary of intermingling state and church affairs?


When should the separation of church and state come into play....

There’s no denying that 2017 was a tough year for advocates of religious freedom and church-state separation. Yet despite the barrage of assaults from the Donald Trump-Mike Pence administration, Americans United saw important victories in and out of court.

There’s no denying that 2017 was a tough year for advocates of religious freedom and church-state separation. Yet despite the barrage of assaults from the Donald Trump-Mike Pence administration, Americans United saw important victories in and out of court.

Separation of Church and State - Paper Masters

There’s no denying that 2017 was a tough year for advocates of religious freedom and church-state separation. Yet despite the barrage of assaults from the Donald Trump-Mike Pence administration, Americans United saw important victories in and out of court.

Advocates of a strict application of the separation between church and state may eschew any notion of this being desirable.
Photo provided by Flickr

What then did Montesquieu add to seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century English thought on the separation of powers? Clearly his view of the functions of government was much closer to modern usage than his predecessors’—he was one of the first writers to use “executive” in a recognizably modern sense in juxtaposition with the legislative and judicial functions. His emphasis upon the judicial function and upon the equality of this function with the other functions of government, though (as we have seen) by no means altogether new, was nevertheless of great importance. The judiciary had a position of independence in his thought greater than that of earlier English writers, and greater than it was in practice at that time in England. Although he used the idea of mixed government he did not allow it to dominate his thought, as had the writers on the balanced constitution in England; consequently he articulated the elements of the constitution in a different way, and a clearer view of the separation of legislative and executive branches was now possible. He had gone a long way, in fact, towards the transformation of the theory of mixed government from its position as a doctrine in its own right into a set of checks and balances in a system of agencies separated on a functional basis. Perhaps the most significant difference between Bolingbroke and Montesquieu is that the latter placed the King outside the legislature. In some ways, then, Montesquieu moved back towards the emphasis that was placed during the Protectorate upon separate and distinct powers; he was certainly closer to the pure doctrine than his English contemporaries, but he did not go all the way. He had a more realistic, more articulated system, with an amalgam of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century ideas woven into a new fabric. Sometimes it is difficult to know whether the changes he introduced into the stream of political thought on constitutionalism were wholly intentional, or whether they resulted rather from his method of writing. We shall never know—but it does not matter. The very defects of his style gave him an influence which a more precise and less interesting thinker would never have achieved, but more important than this is the fact that by changing the emphasis that English writers of the preceding half century had placed upon legislative supremacy and the mixed constitution, he paved the way for the doctrine of the separation of powers to emerge again as an autonomous theory of government. This theory was to develop in very different ways in Britain, in America, and on the continent of Europe, but from this time on, the doctrine of the separation of powers was no longer an English theory; it had become a universal criterion of a constitutional government.

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Separation of Church and State - Term Paper

Read this essay on Separation of Church and State

Once more, there are statements in the above paragraph which may make the modern American evangelical uneasy, but by referring to the Lord's "table," St. Augustine has provided us with another bit of sound evidence that infants and young children were regularly communed in the church of his day. Augustine again betrayed the normalcy of paedocommunion in his day when he wrote the following:

Essay/Term paper: Separation of church and state

On the contrary, after the catechumens, hearers, unbelievers, and heterodox depart, the deacon begins the service by inviting the remaining believers with the following words (all italics are mine): "Let the mothers receive their children; let no one have anything against any one; let no one come in hypocrisy; let us stand upright before the Lord with fear and trembling, to offer."29 What follows next is a very careful, comprehensive, four-and-a-half page long prayer. Near the end of the prayer, the people in attendance are prayed for ("this people"30) according to their differing circumstances. The minister prays, "for those that are in virginity and purity; for the widows of the Church; for those in honourable marriage and childbearing; for the infants of Thy people...".31 It is striking to note how the infants and children of the church were included in every aspect of this service. And lest we suspect that the infants and children were present but did not commune, the author of the Constitutions then describes the order in which those present were to come to the Lord's Supper. "And after that, let the bishop

term paper on Separation Of Church And State

We find further primary evidence in favor of the early practice of paedocommunion in the Apostolic Constitutions. This work is attributed to Clement of Rome (c.90), but was actually compiled by "an Eastern Arian in the late fourth century."27 The twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth chapters of the eighth book of the Constitutions describe an early church communion service. According to this account, no non-communicating persons may remain in attendance for the observance of the Lord's Supper. Before the eucharist may be observed, the deacon must say, "Let none of the catechumens, let none of the hearers, let none of the unbelievers, let none of the heterodox, stay here."28 We notice immediately that there is no direction given that would preclude infants and young children from the upcoming ceremony.

Separation of Church and State - Writing College Term …

Having shown that all the elements of the pure doctrine of the separation of powers are to be found, if not always clearly worked out, in Montesquieu’s thought, can we simply label him as a protagonist of the pure doctrine? Clearly not, for he went further, and added to these ideas the further dimension of a theory of checks and balances between the legislative and executive powers, drawn largely from the theory of mixed government. He did not rely upon a concept of negative checks to the exercise of power, checks dependent upon the mere existence of potentially antagonistic agencies, charged with different functions of government—again he went further, and advocated positive checks by placing powers of control over the other branches in the hands of each of them. Perhaps the first important point to note about his theory of checks and balances is that in Book XI it does not involve the judiciary or “the power of judging” at all. The judiciary is not given any power over the other branches. Equally, its independence is absolute, for it is not subject to control by the other branches, except that the legislature can be a supreme court of appeal in order to mitigate the sentence of the law. The courts, in other words, being merely the mouthpiece of the law, being en quelque façon nulle, and not representing any social force in the State, are not seen as a check, nor is it necessary to check them. The difference between this view of judicial power and that of Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison, fifty-five years later, is of great interest although it is true that Montesquieu elsewhere saw the French parlements with their rights of remonstrance as checks to the legislative power.

The Necessary Separation of Church and State in America

People sometimes ask me why I got so interested in defending separation of church and state. The answer is simple: As a kid, I was sent to a Catholic school for eight years.

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