Struggling with God: the US litigation explosion (Garry 2006)

May 26, 2007

Garry (2006) skillfully constructs a the historical, judicial and ideological underpinnings of the robust debate on the First Amendment, specifically the interpretation of Thomas Jefferson’s metaphor of the wall of separation (1802) argues that [slow world interrupted . . .]


Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties (Jefferson 1802).


1973 U.S. Supreme Court. Lemon v. Kurtzman,


Garry, Patrick M. 2006. Struggling with God: the Court’s Tortuous Treatment of Religion. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press.

Jefferson, Thomas. 1802. “Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists: the Final Letter, as Sent.” Jan. 1. 1802. http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html

U.S. Supreme Court. 1973. Lemon v. Kurtzman, 411 U.S. 192 (1973) 411 U.S. 192. Lemon et al. v. Kurtzman, Superintendent of Public Instruction of Pennsylvania, et. al. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. No. 71-1470. Argued November 8, 1972. Decided April 2, 1973.


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