Is Seperation of Church and State only a phrase?

In June of 2005, Rehnquist wrote the plurality opinion upholding the constitutionality of a display of the Ten Commandments at the Texas state capitol in Austin. The case was Van Orden v. Perry.

Rehnquist wrote:

Our cases, Janus (mythology) like, point in two directions in applying the Establishment Clause. One face looks toward the strong role played by religion and religious traditions throughout our Nation's history....The other face looks toward the principle that governmental intervention in religious matters can itself endanger religious freedom.

This decision was joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, Breyer, and Kennedy.

What are your thoughts?

15 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The line "Seperation of Church and Sate" is not in the Consitutution.

    There is a line that there shall be no establishment of Church along with State will not stop the free excerise Religion.

    This has come to mean that liberals don't want any expression of religion PERIOD more directly Christianity.

    They have no problem with schools teaching Islam or having teachers give Muslim name to students or even have foot baths installed.

    Yet if a Christian group want to have a prayer group the fur flys.

    They go on all over Bush for his religious beliefs.

    Now here is one for you explain to me.

    A person running for office spoke in more churchs and invoke the name of Jesus more than the other guy.

    Nothing was said about seperation of church and state.

    The other guy say he believe in Jesus and has been bash for it every since and crys of seperation of church and state go on and on.

    We now have the Freedom of Religion upset with crosses at cemetries that honor the war dead.

    Kids get expelled for reading a Bible on the bus.

    To me this is very convient use of seperation of church and state.

    I think it should be more accuratly stated we don't want one view to have the freedom to speak in this country.

    That is dangerous.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The separation of church and state is a wonderful concept.

    Now if only it were implemented.

    The only 10 Commandments that should be posted in any governmental institution is known as the Bill of Rights as found in the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America.

    And to the poster above who posited that the only ones fighting against the posting of the 10 commandments are those fighting for freedom FROM religion... you're wrong.

    We want freedom OF religion. The United States government should not endorse nor even imply the superiority of any religion over any other.



    The line of separation between church and state needs to be absolute.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This was a radical decision that totally ignored over 200 years of church-state jurisprudence.

    Separation of Church and State, contrary to popular right-wing rhetoric, is not a recent invention of an activist Court. It was the intent of the Founders. It was endorsed by many Presidents, including Tyler and Grant. The Court in the Reynolds decisin (1879) said that the phrase "wall of separation" an an authoritative indication of Original Intent. The Rehnquist Court was stacked with ideological activists of a reactionary bent.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The "role played by religion and religious traditions in our history " hardly justifies violating religious freedom. Just because religion has a legitimate role doesn't mean the government can overstep that role. Yes, the Ten Commandments have played a part in our history - but you still can't post it in a courthouse as if it is the law of the land.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Separation of church and state means that laws should not be made respecting an establishment of religion.

    Of course, a display of the ten commandments does not mean that they are to be enforced by the court. It should be thought of as an inspirational tool.

    Certainly, "Thou shalt not kill" is not an exclusive sentiment from the bible.

    People fighting the mere display are fighting for freedom FROM religion, not freedom of religion. There is a difference. One means you can practice whatever faith you like without persecution. The other means you have to crack down on people of faith who don't hide it.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    the genuine word does no longer. despite the fact that, many human beings such as the wonderful court have interpreted the 1st amendments prohibition of corporation to comprise any action by potential of the government that favors any faith or communities of religions over yet another. there is not any "attack on faith". those human beings that are actually not interior the conventional public do exactly no longer think of the government might desire to be shoving your faith down our throats. i ought to care much less what non secular ideals you chosen to freely workout. We by potential of regulation have an earthly government. you may pray all you like, you may not have the government mandate prayer for you. No court ruling has ever prevented prayer at school. they have time and time back prohibited pray backed by potential of the colleges. huge distinction. No government entity has EVER banned Christmas (or the different non secular holiday). have you ever celebrated a non secular holiday in defiance of regulation? i do no longer think of so. that could violate the loose workout clause of the 1st modification.

  • 1 decade ago

    Our Constitution and legal system are based on Judeo Christian philosophy, but the founding Fathers recognized the dangers of a state sanctioned Church. Therefore, there is no state sanctioned church and never will be in the US.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There is not a single mention of God, Jesus, or Christianity anywhere in the US Constitution The issue was discussed and the Founding Fathers voted God out, intentionally. The democratic republic they created was the first 100% secular government in human history.


    Article VI of the Constitution states that representatives take an oath to the (secular) Constitution, not the Bible or any god’s law:

    • “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”


    Even having a Congressional Chaplain is a violation of the ‘establishment’ language of the Constitution – but then, that is only the opinion of the men who wrote and signed the document.

    James Madison (Father of the US Constitution) addressed the issue of Congressional Chaplains.

    •“Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative."

    •"The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives… Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation?”

    •“The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority. To say nothing of other sects, this is the case with that of Roman Catholics & Quakers who have always had members in one or both of the Legislative branches. Could a Catholic clergyman ever hope to be appointed a Chaplain! To say that his religious principles are obnoxious or that his sect is small, is to lift the evil at once and exhibit in its naked deformity the doctrine that religious truth is to be tested by numbers or that the major sects have a tight to govern the minor.”

    You can replace ‘Catholic’ with ‘Hindu’ or ‘Muslim’ or whatever in the second quotation. They are all the same and equal (and separate from the public sector) in the eyes of the Federal Government.

    Here are a couple more Madison quotes, showing that Jefferson was not unique in speaking of a ‘Separation’ between Church and State:

    •Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and & Gov't in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history (Detached Memoranda, circa 1820).

    •Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together (Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822).


    By unamimous vote of the 1797 US Congress and signed into law by President John Adams:

    • “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,…”

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Since 80% of Americans believe in God, what surprises you? I would rather offend the 20%. It is called Democracy.

  • brian
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago


    saying that because rehnquist, thomas, scalia, and kennedy weren't offended by it doesn't make it settled law.

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