Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

date to keep Church and State completely separate. . . . Now as then, it is only by wholly isolating the state from the religious sphere and compelling it to be completely neutral, that the freedom of each and every denomination and of all nonbelievers can be maintained. It is this neutrality the Court abandons today when it treats New York's coercive system as a program which merely "encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities." The abandonment is all the more dangerous to liberty because of the Court's legal exaltation of the orthodox and its derogation of unbelievers.

Under our system of religious freedom, people have gone to their religious sanctuaries not because they feared the law but because they loved their God. . . . The spiritual mind of man has thus been free to believe, disbelieve, or doubt, without repression, great or small, by the heavy hand of government. . . . Before today, our judicial opinions have refrained from drawing invidious distinctions between those who believe in no religion and those who do believe. The First Amendment has lost much if the religious follower and the atheist are no longer to be judicially regarded as entitled to equal justice under law.

Source: Zorach et al. v. Clauson et al., 343 U.S. 306.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom ( Boston, 1953), pp. 351-373.

F. J. Sorauf, "Zorach v. Clauson: The Impact of a Supreme Court Decision", American Political Science Review, Vol. LIII, No. 3 ( September 1959), pp. 777-791.

References for Documents 154 and 155.


Postwar Tensions Behind the Iron Curtain

157
Agreement of Hungary with the Hungarian Reformed Church October 7, 1948

The shock of Communist decrees for sweeping reorientation of East European church life created religious upheaval in most countries between the end of World War II and 1950.1 At first the reorganizations

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1
Partial exception may be made for Russia itself, where Orthodox services in the war and the need for national unity reduced tensions. With Stalin's express approval, Sergei had been elected patriarch in 1943, the League of the Militant Godless suspended publication, priests were permitted to teach religion to children, and (in the following year) a theological institute opened in Moscow. The most important

-413-

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