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

By Thomas J. Curry (Author)
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Item description for Farewell to Christendom: The Future of Church and State in America by Thomas J. Curry...

Thomas Curry argues that discussion and interpretation of the First Amendment have reached a point of deep crisis. Historical scholarship dealing with the background and interpretation of the Amendment are at an impasse, and judicial interpretation is in a state of disarray. Here, Curry provides a new paradigm for the understanding and exploration of religious liberty, contending that much of the present confusion can be traced to habits of mind that persist from Christendom and inevitably draw government into religious matters. The First Amendment, however, was meant to be a departure from the thinking that had preceded it for nearly fifteen hundred years. Curry traces much of the current difficulty to the largely unexamined assumption on the part of judges and scholars that the amendment created a right--the right to free exercise of religion--and that the courts are the guardians of that right. The First Amendment is, in fact, a limitation on government and a guarantee that the government will not impinge on the religious liberty that citizens already possess by natural right. Here, Curry shows that the key to finding more coherence between Church-State decisions and the historical meaning and purpose of the First Amendment lies in embracing this understanding of the Amendment as a limitation on government.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.46" Width: 6.34" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 8, 2001
Publisher   Oxford University Press
Edition  New  
ISBN  0195145690  
ISBN13  9780195145694  

Availability  78 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 07:28.
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More About Thomas J. Curry

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Thomas J. Curry is an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and author of The First Freedoms: Church and State in America to the Passage of the First Amendment (OUP, 1986).

Thomas J. Curry currently resides in Los Angeles, in the state of California. Thomas J. Curry has an academic affiliation as follows - Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Law > Constitutional Law > Constitutional Law
2Books > Subjects > Law > Constitutional Law
3Books > Subjects > Law > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Government > Constitutions
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Government > Legal System
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Institutions & Organizations
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Church & State

Reviews - What do customers think about Farewell to Christendom: The Future of Church and State in America?

A Much Needed and Timely Little Volme  Dec 7, 2001
Clear, concise, and deeply thoughtful analysis of the basic premise underlying the religion clauses of the Bill of Rights and how they have been and continue to be misconstrued by both sides in issues involving relations between Church and State.

Tracks development of Jefferson's "wall of separation" comment from its original significance to the status of useful shibboleth. Provides insightful interpretation of events that gradually changed what had been "the Protestant nation" into a truly religiously plural society and turned James Madison's concept into reality.

Presents a clear and historically accurate picture of the relationship between government and religion envisaged by the Framers of the Constitution, as well as examples of how it can be adhered to in our time.

A Challenging New Book on Church-State Relations  Nov 30, 2001
For some time we have not had a truly radical approach to the reading of the First Amendment as it relates to Church-State Relations. Now Thomas Curry, the Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Santa Barbara, CA, has provided one that I believe will stimulate productive discussions from all sides.

Whereas people have largely divided themselves into "separationists" or "accommodationists," a general literalism of approach has blocked our seeing the historical roots of the First Amendment. Those who framed and passed the Amendment did not think like modern Americans, either those who wish for governmental support or those who would put a wall of separation between religion and government.

Read carefully, and seen in the context of writers like Jame Madison and the experience of the colonies, the Amendment actually declares that the government has no power in questions of religion. It declares itself incapable of judging religious questions. The founders did not want to support any religion as had been the case with governments of many stripes in the past. Neither did they wish to have a say on what religion was the best or what religion could do. Goernment simply had no competence in religious matters.

All religions, not just Roman Catholicism, will be affected by an understanding and acceptance of Curry's views. Freedom for Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Muslims--for all religions--is what the First Amendment guarantees for Amricans.


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