The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State
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Some links of importance

Some of these links came from Tom Peters' Separation of Church and State Web Page. We have added and continue to add to the list as we discover more links. If you are interested in being listed here, let us know! We want this list to be as complete as possible.

Note: When you click one of these links, you are leaving The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State to visit other websites. We do not vouch for the accuracy of information contained on those sites nor do the sites necessarily reflect our position on all issues.

Religious liberty organizations:

The grand-daddy of religious liberty organizations is Americans United for Separation of Church and State. They have been very active in recent years in litigating and organizing on behalf of separation. Their home page is now substantially complete. Note, in particular, the link to their award-winning magazine, Church and State.

The other grand-daddy of religious liberty organizations is the American Civil Liberties Union. This is a good place to find information on what the law says about church/state separation, and background on the history of the First Amendment.

A new, and potentially very important, organization is the The Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan College in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Quoting from their mission statement: "The Center for the Study of Religious Freedom" at Virginia Wesleyan College, established by a confluence of college and community support, promotes the education and foundation needed to meet the challenge of fostering religious freedom in a diverse world. The Center's academic programs and other initiatives are interdisciplinary and interfaith in nature, and are designed to further understanding of the founding principle of religious liberty, that every person, protected by disinterested government vigilance, has the right to believe and practice any religion, or refrain from belief and practice. This principle is fundamental to human freedom and essential to the foundation of human rights throughout the world.

Norman Lear's People for the American Way is a great "fight the right" organization with a track record of defending religious liberty. This page is a great resource for separationist action.

The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance is a most unusual religious web site! In their own words:

By religious tolerance, we mean that everyone - Christian, Muslim, Jew and others -- should be able to follow their own religious beliefs and practices freely. Religious diversity is increasing. We need to develop a religiously tolerant culture, or North America is headed for disaster. . . . To be tolerant does not require that we accept other beliefs as true. . . .We believe that: Religions are very different. Religions worship different perceptions of God. Some religions and their followers have committed terrible atrocities. All religions cannot be absolutely true. . . . We describe both the positive and negative aspects of religions. . . .This site describes dozens of faith groups, from Asatru to Christianity to Wicca to Zoroastrianism. We cover new religious movements, including dangerous cults. We describe ethical belief systems, like Agnosticism, Atheism and Humanism. . . . We describe all sides of each controversial topic, from abortion, to physician assisted suicide, including capital punishment, evolution & creation science, and homosexuality.
Within the web site is a page that provides links to sites dealing with spiritual, religious, human rights, medical, ethics and other topics. 

The Interfaith Alliance and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation are the national non-partisan advocacy voice of the interfaith movement. The 150,000 members are from more than 70 faith traditions and people of good will who have united to: promote democratic values, defend religious liberty, challenge hatred and religious bigotry and reinvigorate informed civic participation.

PRO-S.O.C.S (PRO-Separation of Church & State) is a Texas-based organization that both defends separation of church and state (hence, their acronym) and monitors the activities of the religious right. At this site you'll find political commentary, information about Texas politics, and important defenses of separationist philosophy.

The National Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty has been involved in several historic lawsuits that have helped secure religious liberty.
At the present this Web Site is "off-line."

The American Communication Association's page on Religious Freedom contains a phenomenal number of documents and web links (both pro and con) on religious liberty. Browsing this page could take all day, but you'll learn a lot in the process.
As of January 16, 2000: This page was located at http://www.uark.edu/depts/comminfo/www/religion.html. The link is no longer valid, but we are attempting to locate the archives. Check back, we will post the new link if/when it is available.

Religious Liberty and the First Amendment:

Tom Peters' Separation of Church and State Web Page contains an overview of the historical and legal debate of church / state separation. The definitive source for information on this subject for some time, this web page is near and dear to our heart since we contributed research material and articles to it. Definitely worth a look!

The First Amendment Cyber-Tribune contains some great information on current happenings, historical documents on religious liberty, and position statements of some major religious groups. Their home page is a tremendous resource for all sorts of First Amendment issues.

The Institute for First Amendment Studies is concerned with defending the First Amendment against the forces of religious intolerance. Check out the archives of Freedom Writer, their monthly magazine, for a review of the activities of the religious right.

The First Amendment Center maintains an excellent FAQ on the religious aspects of the First Amendment. Go back to their home page to find an equally vigorous defense of the rest of the First Amendment.

Articles on Religious Liberty is a web site operated by Larry Pahl which offers a good sized library of academic papers on church-state issues. It also has a good number of links to related web sites.

Ed and Michael Buckner have compiled an extensive collection of Quotations Supporting the Separation of Church and State. In stark contrast to many conservative Christian publications, these quotes are authentic, accurate, and in context. This page is maintained by the Internet Infidels.

Baylor University houses an institute for Church-State Studies, that publishes the only academic journal devoted directly to that subject.

The Council for Secular Humanism Web Site provides timely information concerning the activities of the Council for Secular Humanism and also acts as a general educational resource on secular humanism.

William Golden maintains an excellent page on http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5752/Religious Expression in Public Schools. This site is primarily a collection of links and news articles relevant to religious expression; it does not take a stand on this issue itself. [Editor's Note: As of 2/12/03, this wesite is not available.]

Religious Organizations on Religious Liberty:

The Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs: Protecting Religious Liberty by Keeping Church and State Separate, represents the traditional view of most Baptist organizations in favor of separation of church and state. This site offers a wealth of information on current events and a chance to subscribe to their important publications, Report from the Capital and First Freedom.

The American Baptist Churches in the USA, (ABC) is one of the primary supporting bodies for the Baptist Joint Committee. The ABC has long been committed to the principles of freedom. Lots of great information on a variety of topics and interests.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, is a supporting body of the Baptist Joint Committee which operates this link from their home base in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Interfaith Working Group is a religiously based organization concerned with a host of progressive issues, including separation of church and state.

The Christian Science Church has a long-standing interest in church/state separation. Their Religious Freedom Home Page is a good introduction to religious liberty both here and abroad.
[Editor's Note: As of 2/12/03, http://www.religious-freedom.org/ is not available.

Religion in Politics is an evangelical group that believes that Christians should not mix religion and politics. This is a very different type of site than the others we link on this page, but it's worth looking at if you want to understand why believers can and should be skeptical of accommodationism.

Religious Expression:

"Theocracy in America: What Gentile life in Mormon Utah Can Teach Us About Church and State" by Stephanie Mencimer. Stephanie Mencimer is an editor of the Washington Monthly. Previously she has worked as a senior writer at the Washington City Paper, an investigative reporter for the Washington Post, and a staff writer for Legal Times. A native of Ogden, Utah and a graduate of the University of Oregon school of journalism, Mencimer is the recipient of the 2000 Harry Chapin Media Award for reporting on hunger and poverty, and has won numerous awards for feature writing from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Beginning with the statement, "The question of religion and politics is not the same as the question of church and state. Failure to make this distinction results in confusion." Kenneth Cauthen's essay  Religion and Politics versus Church and State offers points for resolving such confusion. Of himself and his web site, Cauthen states, "These essays are tentative expressions but reflect five decades of reading, thinking, and teaching. Long ago Harry Emerson Fosdick defined a liberal as one who wanted to be both 'an intelligent modern and a serious Christian.' That is my aim and the guiding philosophy of these essays. They represent an honest search for truth and set forth the best I know up to now from all sources."

The Secular Web describes itself as "the product of Internet Infidels, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing information over the Internet about the existence of a god, church/state separation, the possibility of life after death, mysticism and the paranormal, and the interface between science and religion, and the philosophy of religion. . . .the Secular Web is the largest and most heavily visited nontheistic web site on the World Wide Web. But despite the sheer quantity of articles on the Secular Web, Internet Infidels, Inc. makes a sincere attempt to publish only quality articles."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is an outreach of the free thought (i.e., non-believers) community. This site is highly critical of religion, but it contains some excellent articles documenting the sorts of discrimination non-theists face everyday of their lives.

 

Separation--No Myth: Jim Spivey is Assistant Professor of Church History at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A graduate of Auburn University (B.A.) Southwestern Seminary (M. Div.) and Oxford University (D. Phil.), he has served on the Southwestern faculty since 1987. He is a chaplain in the U.S. Army. His article -Separation No Myth- is a strong statement in favor of total separation of church and state, from a historical, religious, Baptist point of view. His article strongly endorses the traditional meaning given to Jefferson's "wall of separation" metaphor, and points out why those like David Barton are doing more harm then good.
[This article is now available on this site:Separation No Myth]

Church State Relations: Religion &: Politics make strange Bedfellows: A series of articles that we highly recommend. Sometimes humorous, ofttimes quite serious, always good by Kellie Sisson-Snider. Kellie says , "My Themestream Columns include: *Broad Daylight (Real life columns) *Knee Deep (columns that were previously published in Water Gardening Magazine) *Bedfellows (Separation of Church and State matters including School Prayer), *Menagerie (Pets and their people), *Creative Spirit (Spiritual life for the creative person). *History's Closet (Misconceptions about history.) and *Book Looks (Book reviews and links to booksellers)."
As of 2/19/03, this link 9 (http://www.churchstaterelations.com) is no longer available. A Google search will lead to many articles by her.

Religious Violence in America

Religious violence - American style by Albert J. Menendez, the author of Visions of Reality: What Fundamentalist Schools Teach and many other books relating to church-state separation. This article offers an chronological overview of American civil violence incited by religious issues. Published in the Institute for First Amendment Studies journal, Freedom Writer, June 1996 issue.

Bible Riots: When Christians Killed Each Other Over Religion in Public Schools by Rob Boston, the assistant editor of Church and State Magazine, published by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In addition to describing the events of the Philadelphia Bible Riots of 1844, Boston examines the parallels between the rhetoric of the Nativists that touched off the riots and that of the today's Religious Right. [Editor's Note: Some things never change!]. Published in Liberty: A Magazine For Religious Liberty, May/June 1997.

Monitoring / Countering / Debunking the Religious Right:

"A Christian Looks At the Religious Right" by Dr. Don Wilkey. Of himself, Dr. Wilkey says: I am a Baptist minister in Texas who is interested in the Religious Right. I did a Doctor of Ministry with a dissertation on the changing view of church and state in the Southern Baptist Convention. I watched a denomination torn up by the movement. I have pastored this Texas church for the last 22 years coming from a ministry in Mississippi. I have 2 daughters in college, enjoy fishing and antique wood working.

Mainstream Opinion A very good page that is providing the tools to fight the Religious Right.

Another page devoted to the right's historical revisionism is Gene Garman's page on America's Real Religion. These essays are short, well evidenced, and very supportive of separation.

Garman's article "Justice William H. Rehnquist's Abuse of History" takes an in-depth look at Rehnquist's failure to get his facts straight.

Paul Thibodeau's site on Christian Reconstruction is his attempt to "lay bare the theological presuppositions of the political and moral programs of the Religious Right." While this site is not directly focused on the issue of separation, it is a wonderful resource for countering the reconstructionist world view with a more orthodox take on Christianity.

Institute for Global Communications maintains an index of progressive policy organization on all sorts of issues. This is a great place to connect with organizations concerned about the religious right.

Other Activists Sites:

A new book, The Fundamentals of Extremism: the Christian Right in America can be found at http://www.newbostonbooks.com. This book, an in-depth examination of the causes and characteristics of Christian fundamentalism and its effects on women, children, African-Americans, gays and lesbians, politics, education, and American society, has received high praise. Richard Dawkins says, "I have just read this brilliant book from start to finish, almost without a break, and I am stunned and horrified by what I have learned." Bestselling author John Shelby Spong calls it, "a blockbuster exposé of the activities of the Religious Right." And John M. Swomley, Emeritus Professor of Social Ethics, Saint Paul School of Theology says "In fact, this is the most careful and devastating evaluation of the impact of fundamentalism on American society, politics and customs ever produced in the United States. . . ."

The editor and co-author, Kimberly Blaker, maintains "The Wall," a weekly column, at http://www.thewall-onchurchandstate.com

Meet Up is a website which helps link individuals interested in discussion or activities related to various topics with each other for scheduled monthly meetings. "Church and State Issues" is one of the topics. Find out more at churchandstate.meetup.com

WebActive is a gargantuan list of activist sites, many of which are concerned with civil rights and religious freedom. An incredible, if almost too-large collection of links.

Current Events:

Transcript of the July 29, 1999 Washingtonpost.com "Live Online" chat session with Joan Biskupic regarding US Supreme Court and freedom of religion Ms Biskupic has covered the Supreme court for the Post since 1992.

****"How the Supreme Court Decides Which Cases It Will Hear," an article by Joan Biskupic published September 6, 1999. Learn how the Supreme Court determines which of the 1750 appeals received over the summer recess will actually be heard.
As of January 16, 2000, this article is available only through the Archives of the Washington Post.

D. W. Steel maintains a page devoted to the school prayer controversy in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. This page contains a thoughtful essay on religious liberty, links to Judge Bigger's pro-separationist ruling, and other links to separationist documents and opinions.

Skip Evans of the Atlanta Chapter of American's United for Separation of Church and State has produced a web page, http://www.mindspring.com/~tallulah/rally/04-12-97/, detailing his experiences at a April 12, 1997 rally in support of Alabama Judge Roy Moore, who's practice of courtroom prayer and public posting of the Ten Commandments has come under judicial scrutiny . It's a frightening study of crowd mentality, complete with photographic documentation. 
[Editor's Note: As of 2/12/03, this website is not available.

Sites offering balanced opinions:

"School Prayer: A dividing line of American values." A good personal webpage offering input on the subject..

Opposing Views:

A page offering an opposing point of view is the Religious Freedom Home Page. In the author's own words: This page is dedicated to opposing the separation of church and state extremism which has taken all too strong a foothold in the body politic. Here, we refute the historical revisionists as well as those who would misinterpret the Constitution to make the case that the Founding fathers wanted to divorce religion completely from government."

An Introduction to WallBuilders The homepage for David Barton's WallBuilders organization describes its purpose: "WallBuilders is an organization dedicated to the restoration of the moral and religious foundation on which America was built--a foundation which, in recent years, has been seriously attacked and undermined. In accord with what was so accurately stated by George Washington, we believe that 'the propitious [favorable] smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation which disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained.' " [For additional information on WallBuilders' founder and president, David Barton, also see these links: Sects, Lies and Videotape: David Barton's Distorted History, CONSUMER ALERT! Wallbuilders Shoddy Workmanship. and An Index to Factual Information About David Barton And His Books.]

Sites of Interest to Researchers and History Buffs


Describes the amazingly complex and highly interesting relationship between technological advancement and law. In particular, the resource covers issues related to personal privacy and free speech. I have contacted you because this is a resource that I thought would be valuable to those who frequent your site.

http://www.paralegal.net/paralegal-guide-to-technology-privacy-and-free-speech/


Jim Walker, "Little-Known U.S. Document Signed by President Adams Proclaims America's Government Is Secular"

The Historical Text Archive, maintained by Don Mabry is an award-winning compendium of original material, links to other sites and electronic reprints of books covering much of human history. Well worth poking around.

The American Colonists Library: The Creator of this page has made these comments about the page: "You can find a lot out about what the founding fathers said about religion first hand. . . . A massive collection of the literature and documents which were most relevant to the colonists' lives in America. If it isn't here, it probably is not available online anywhere. Christianity is a pervasive theme throughout these primary sources. . . . A massive collection of Primary Sources for Early American History demonstrating the Christian Character of the birth of America." [It must be added that this page also serves a double role, that second role being to plug a book the creator of the page has co-written. The theme of the book is that Christianity was the most important influence in the founding of this nation. The book was written to be used as a text book in history classes in schools. (It would appeal to private religious schools, certainly.)]

Bank of Wisdom®: In his own words, Emmet F. Fields of the Bank of Wisdom® "gathers, preserves and distributes [on CD-ROM] the greatest and grandest thoughts of humankind. We scorn no opinions and censor no ideas of serious thought that might enlighten, elevate and emancipate humankind. We take it as our patriotic duty to humanity to again make the United States the free marketplace of ideas that the American Founding Fathers originally intended this nation to be."