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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 Continuing Emergence of Religious Liberty

The Continuing Emergence of Religious Liberty

(p.46) Three The Continuing Emergence of Religious Liberty
Farewell to Christendom

Thomas J. Curry

Oxford University Press

The enactment of the First Amendment did not automatically guarantee religious liberty. Americans came to see themselves as a Protestant Nation and enacted a de facto establishment of religion. The advent of Catholic immigrants provided the opposition and diversity needed to vindicate religious freedom. Historians have generally failed to recognize this development, and many of them continue to advocate an unhistorical nonpreferential establishment of religion, or to erroneously describe the Amendment as creating a “wall of separation” between Church and State.

Keywords:   Catholic, Catholic immigrants, de facto establishment, nonpreferential establishment, Protestant Nation, religious Liberty, wall of separation

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