Publication Date: April 2005
Publisher: American Jewish Committee
Author(s): Danielle Samulon; Jeffrey Zack; Richard Foltin; Jeffrey Sinensky
Research Area: Culture and religion; Government
Keywords: Political Behavior; Religion; Church and State; Schools
Coverage: United States
This pamphlet, prepared by The American Jewish Committee (AJC), explores the relationship between the state and organized religion and the importance of religious freedom. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom to practice one's religion without interference from the state, and at the same time, forbids state establishment of religion. Together, these clauses provide the basis for, in Thomas Jefferson's well-worn phrase, a "wall of separation between church and state," which has been crucial to the flourishing of religious diversity in this nation. AJC believes that these twin constitutional guarantees are crucial to the freedom and security of Jews, and therefore of all Americans. Thus, the assertion that the United States is a Christian country marginalizes those of other or no religion and undermines the First Amendment.