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No Establishment of ReligionAmerica’s Original Contribution to Religious Liberty$
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T. Jeremy Gunn and John Witte

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860371

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860371.001.0001

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The Continental Congress and Emerging Ideas of Church–State Separation

The Continental Congress and Emerging Ideas of Church–State Separation

(p.180) 7 The Continental Congress and Emerging Ideas of Church–State Separation
No Establishment of Religion

Derek H. Davis

Oxford University Press

The Continental Congress is known for having made several positive references to religion and is cited by many as illustrating the founders’ understanding that the state may play a positive role in promoting religion, virtue, and morality. Although acknowledging that the Continental Congress issued several religious proclamations, this chapter argues that the larger story is that the Congress evolved over time in a way consistent with the developing American approach to disestablishment and the separation of church and state. Many of the founders who admired the positive contribution that religion could make to the state, nevertheless believed that it should be self-supporting.

Keywords:   Continental Congress, separation of church and state, disestablishment

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