ERIC Number: ED174509
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
Religion and Politics: The Intentions of the Authors of the First Amendment.
Malbin, Michael J.
The author demonstrates why he thinks the Supreme Court has misinterpreted the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." The author claims that the Supreme Court, based on flawed reading of the intentions of the authors of the First Amendment, has held since 1947 that the establishment clause requires both Congress and the states to maintain strict neutrality between religion and irreligion in any laws that might conceivably aid private religious organizations. Based on a study of historical documents of the debates in the First Congress, the author believes that aid to religion was to be permitted as long as it furthered a purpose the federal government could legitimately pursue and as long as it did not discriminate in favor of some sects or against others. In the first part of the monograph the author reviews historical documentation of debates in the Supreme Court and the Senate concerning the establishment clause. In the second part he analyzes the intended meaning of the Amendment's clause about free exercise of religion. Among his sources for interpreting political philosophy are the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights, and writings of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Locke. (Author/AV)
Descriptors: Civil Liberties, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Court Litigation, Government Role, Philosophy, Political Attitudes, Political Issues, Politics, Relationship, Religion, Social Values, United States History
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, D.C. 20036 ($2.25)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Inst. for Public Policy Research, Washington, DC.
Identifiers: United States Constitution