Farewell to Christendom: The Future of Church and State in America

By Thomas J. Curry | Go to book overview

ONE
SETTING THE CONTEXT

The refusal of modern governments to uphold the teaching, cusjGYa toms, ethos, and practice of Christianity, either Catholic or Protestant, has resulted in the end of “Christendom. ” In popular commentary, this phenomenon is sometimes equated with post-Christianity. Judging whether people are now more or less Christian than previously would require a sweeping assessment of Christianity and a broad comparison of past and present. By contrast, however, the evidence for the end of Christendom, the system dating from the fourth century by which governments upheld and promoted Christianity, is readily observable.

This book revolves around two major proclamations of the end of Christendom. The first originated in the Protestant tradition and came by way of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, enacted 1789–1791.* The second emerged from the Declaration on Religious Freedom proclaimed in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church. 1

____________________
*
The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ” For purposes of this work, the term “First Amendment” will refer only to that provision of the amendment that deals with religion.

-7-

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Farewell to Christendom: The Future of Church and State in America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents *
  • Farewell to Christendom *
  • Introduction 3
  • One - Setting the Context 7
  • Two - The Formation of the First Amendment 23
  • Three - The Continuing Emergence of Religious Liberty 46
  • Four - The End of Christendom and the Role of the Courts 71
  • Conclusion 108
  • Notes 116
  • Index 139
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