Church, state separated by First Amendment

2013-06-28T00:00:00Z Church, state separated by First Amendment
June 28, 2013 12:00 am

I write in response to Violet Ahrendt's letter published June 25. The U.S. Constitution does not contain the phrase "separation of church and state," but the principle that expression refers to is embodied in the language of the First Amendment, which provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

In an 1802 letter, Thomas Jefferson described this language in the First Amendment as building a "wall of separation between church and state." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed the notion in its interpretations of the First Amendment.

Although the application of the principle is sometimes difficult, the concept that our Constitution creates and requires a separation between church and state is well established in our history and law.

- Denise Woodside Murray, Valparaiso

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