June discussion – “Religion and Government”

Arden Scholars Gild

Tuesday, June 17 at 7:30 PM

Lower Gild Hall

Separation of church and state” is a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson and others expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The phrase has since been repeatedly used by the Supreme Court of the United States.

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.

When Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (2010) interjected the question, “‘Where in the Constitution is “Separation of Church and State’?” in the debate with her opponent Chris Coons, the law school audience laughed and guffawed in derision. But, the term “separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the Constitution.

Many argue the First Amendment does not forbid contact—and even voluntary cooperation—between church and state. Rather, it protects private religious liberty by neither compel nor prohibit religious exercise.

On May 5, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case Town of Greece v. Galloway, 12-696, regarding whether prayers at town meetings, which are allowed, must allow various faiths to lead prayer, or whether the prayers can be predominately Christian. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the Town of Greece by holding that the U.S. Constitution not only allows for prayer at government meetings, but also for sectarian prayers like predominately Christian prayers.

Other ruling this year are likely to further define the relationship between religion and our government.

Join the Arden Scholars Gild for a non-legal based discussion of the relationship between religion and government. We meet on June 17 at 7:30 PM in the air conditioned portion of the lower Gild Hall. References can be found at the Scholars Gild blog on the Arden Club website. Forward additional references to ArdenScholarsGild@gmail.com to be added to the post.

(Source: Wikipedia reference)