Talk:Separation of church and state in the United States

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"Another debate..."[edit]

I have cut the following sentence from the lede, recently added by North8000: "Another debate is between those who say that the phrase states what is in the constitution vs. being only a metaphor for what is in the constitution." We already have a paragraph there stating that the interpretation of "separation..." is subject to debate, and no source is provided for this addition. North8000, I'm not trying to be contrary, but I don't see any evidence that "those who say that the phrase states what is in the constitution vs. being only a metaphor for what is in the constitution" is a public debate at all, let alone noteworthy enough to be worthy of the lede. Does anyone think "wall of separation" is not a metaphor? That would mean they maintain there is actually a physical wall someplace, wouldn't it? -- BTfromLA (talk) 15:44, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

The debate is not what you stated, it is what is in that sentence. Expanding on those two sides, they are:

  • Side #1. It is ONLY a metaphor, it is NOT a precise summary of what is in the constitution.
  • Side #2 It is MORE than a metaphor, it IS a precise summary of what is in the constitution. (or, some believing that it actually IS in the constitution) This leads to the argument that the Constitution mandates complete separation in all respects rather than what is actually specified in the constitution, and is the basis of various cases/controversies covered in the article.

This, and things leading from it is certainly a common debate if not the most common debate. The current sentence (without such an addition) is problematic. Certianly not a summary from the article, and only covers one specialized case. This is a highly problematic sentence for the lead, and you have been reverting attempts to fix it. North8000 (talk) 16:24, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

If I understand you correctly, you are objecting to the part about David Barton, which seems to put an over-emphasis on the Christian Nartionalist position. Is that right? If so, how about we cut Barton and the sentence you dislike entirely from the lede, and change it to read:
... Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."
However, the Court has not always interpreted the constitutional principle as absolute, and the proper extent of separation between government and religion in the U.S. remains an ongoing subject of impassioned debate.
End of lede. Seem like an improvement? -- BTfromLA (talk) 20:43, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that is excellent. Also that removed specific case material would be fine for the body of the article, but should not be stated as if it were summary of the controversies. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 20:47, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
OK, done. Progress! -- BTfromLA (talk) 20:54, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Cool! North8000 (talk) 23:41, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Abortion?[edit]

I cannot seem to add the concept of abortion anywhere in here. Should we add the concept of abortion here? After all, the Christians are trying to gain their rights to not have to supply birth control to their women, because it is against their religious beliefs (although a couple of churches are going as far as to make abortion illegal). I think that the abortion topic belongs. --Thenewguy34 (talk) 12:12, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

The issue of whether or not laws that have their basis in a religious mindset are constitutionally valid is certainly much larger than the single issue of abortion. It would necessarily stretch from abortion and gay marriage all the way to local ordinances recognizing contracts based on sharia law to the display of the ten commandments, and it would be a disservice to limit the discussion to abortion. Also, not all (but most) Christians are trying to push their religious beliefs into the public sphere, and other religions have attempted to do so as well (though with less success).

Oops, forgot to include signature.Skberry889 (talk) 20:19, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

That letter by Jefferson[edit]

Is obviously very important, but must it be mentioned twice in the lead? Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 16:36, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

References[edit]

While you are taking the time to edit this controversial, yet important article, please note that two notes, 'Note 6' and 'Note 7' are identical and one needs to be deleted, whilst the citation numbers listed in the article for 'Note 6' and 'Note 7' need to be fixed to match the deletion of one of these notes.


^Note 6: Religious tolerance for Catholics with an established Church of England was policy in the former Spanish Colonies of East and West Florida while under British rule.

^Note 7: Religious tolerance for Catholics with an established Church of England was policy in the former Spanish Colonies of East and West Florida while under British rule.

Sponsion (talk) 19:15, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Good catch. Fixed it. North8000 (talk) 16:03, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Lemon v. Kurtzman and the Lemon Test[edit]

I think information on the supreme court case Lemon v. Kurtzman and the resultant Lemon Test are important and relevant and should be added to this article. - - MrBill3 (talk) 14:37, 15 August 2014 (UTC)