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Farewell to ChristendomThe Future of Church and State in America$
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Thomas J. Curry

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195145694

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195145690.001.0001

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The Formation of the First Amendment

The Formation of the First Amendment

Chapter:
(p.23) Two The Formation of the First Amendment
Source:
Farewell to Christendom
Author(s):

Thomas J. Curry

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195145690.003.0003

Religious liberty depends on keeping the government out of religious matters, whereas religious toleration is a gift of government. Virginia's Bill for Religious Liberty and Massachusetts’ Constitution of 1780 illustrated these contrasting concepts. The modern preoccupation with the meaning of establishment of religion overlooks the significance to Americans in 1789, of the free exercise of religion. So, too, modern emphasis on the image of “separation of Church and State” leads scholars away from an appreciation of the historical meaning of the Amendment.

Keywords:   Bill for Religious Liberty, Establishment of Religion, Free Exercise of Religion, Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, religious liberty, religious toleration, separation of Church and State

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