Friday, September 27, 2002

American University professor, Daniel Dreisbach, has written a new book arguing that the wall of separation between church and state, is not Jeffersonian, though he did originate the phrase. Jefferson didn't intend what we currently interpret that phrase to mean, that religion has been cast out of the public square altogether. Rather, Dreisbach argues, our current understanding of the "wall of separation" owes much more to former Supreme Court justice, Hugo Black, who was once a member of the KKK, and whose spin on Jefferson's phrase grew out of his radical anti-Catholic views, rather than out of his desire to correctly interpret what Jefferson intended. Don't expect the ACLU to rush to the aid of churches and religious groups who have been unconstitutionally disadvantaged by a view that is rooted in anti-Catholic sentiment. The truth of Jefferson's intent, and the muddied source of the current view of church and state, won't be enough to cause them to change their tune regarding civil liberties, because their views on the wall of separation are too much a part of their firmly entrenched agenda.

While many have lauded Dreisbach's scholarship, they are also doubtful that it will make a difference, as the "wall of separation" idea has taken on a life of it's own and has been firmly ingrained in the minds of most Americans. I, too, doubt that this will make much difference, though it's possible that it could give a boost to the President's Faith-based initiatives.

via Breakpoint

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