from Rick Garnett -- Thomas and the Establishment Clause
DLaycock at mail.law.utexas.edu
Sun Jun 20 16:07:20 PDT 2004
How many Catholics in Albemarle County in 1821? Jefferson's
account is perfectly consistent with my unquoted comments about government
religious observances not being an issue among Protestants at the
founding. But by midcentury in large cities, Protestants and Catholic mobs
were occasionally kililng each other in the streets, and Catholic school
boys were being whipped for refusing to read the King James translation.
The quoted sentence beginning "The result in most communities . .
." is in the present tense and refers to today. If government is running
the prayer, do we pray in Jesus' name or not? Yes is a bad answer. No is
a bad answer. When you are forced to confront that question, you have
taken a wrong turn.
At 06:52 PM 6/20/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>In a message dated 6/19/2004 3:22:01 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
>DLaycock at mail.law.utexas.edu writes:
>The nineteenth century conflict over the Protestant Bible revealed
>that these "generic" religious observances were neither so general nor so
>harmless as they had seemed. And the continued growth in the nonChristian
>and nonbelieving population just aggravated the problem. The result in
>most communities is government religious observance watered down to a level
>of generality designed to offend no one but atheists, and in a few
>religiously homogenous communities, government aggressively imposing on
>everyone public observances of the local majority's religious specifics.
>In 1821, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Thomas Hooker, and in a broad-ranging
>letter (one principal theme of which was the divisive character of
>Presbyterianism and another of which was the salutatory effects of the
>growth of Unitarianism), described the pacific nature of the communal
>observance of religious services in the Albemarle County Courthouse. Just
>a reminder that at that point in the 19th Century the observance of
>religious rituals in government facilities (therefore, perhaps, either
>expressly or implicitly endorsed by the government) were not necessarily
>watered down at all. Moreover, in the cyclic sharing of the "common
>temple," the government did not impose observance of the local majority's
>religious specifics (unless one ignores the distinctives that cause
>Methodists to view themselves differently from Episcopalians, etc.).
>To post, send message to Religionlaw at lists.ucla.edu
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