Please Don't Wish Me a Merry Christmas A Critical History of the Separation of Church and State

ISBN-10: 0814726844

ISBN-13: 9780814726846

Edition: N/A

Authors: Stephen M. Feldman

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Whether in the form of Christmas trees in town squares or prayer in school, fierce disputes over the separation of church and state have long bedeviled this country. Both decried and celebrated, this principle is considered by many, for right or wrong, a defining aspect of American national identity.Nearly all discussions regarding the role of religion in American life build on two dominant assumptions: first, the separation of church and state is a constitutional principle that promotes democracy and equally protects the religious freedom of all Americans, especially religious outgroups; and second, this principle emerges as a uniquely American contribution to political theory.InPlease Don't Wish Me a Merry Christmas, Stephen M. Feldman challenges both these assumptions. He argues that the separation of church and state primarily manifests and reinforces Christian domination in American society. Furthermore, Feldman reveals that the separation of church and state did not first arise in the United States. Rather, it has slowly evolved as a political and religious development through western history, beginning with the initial appearance of Christianity as it contentiously separated from Judaism.In tracing the historical roots of the separation of church and state within the Western world, Feldman begins with the Roman Empire and names Augustine as the first political theorist to suggest the idea. Feldman next examines how the roles of church and state variously merged and divided throughout history, during the Crusades, the Italian Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, the British Civil War and Restoration, the early North American colonies, nineteenth-century America, and up to the present day. In challenging the dominant story of the separation of church and state, Feldman interprets the development of Christian social power vis--vis the state and religious minorities, particularly the prototypical religious outgroup, Jews.
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Book details

List price: $27.00
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 8/1/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 408
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.188

Stephen M. Feldman is Jerry W. Housel/Carl F. Arnold Distinguished Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Wyoming. His previous titles include Please Don’t Wish Me a Merry Christmas:  A Critical History of the Separation of Church and State (NYU Press, 1997) and Law and Religion:  A Critical Anthology (NYU Press, 2000).

Introduction: Different Stories
A Story about the Ways of Power
A Dominant Story about the Separation of Church and State
Origins of Power: The Emergence of Christianity and Antisemitism
The New Testament
The Christian Discourse of Redefinition: An Excursus on Power
The Roman Establishment of Christianity: The First Crystallization of Church and State
The Christian Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages
The Later Middle Ages
The Christian Renaissance and Reformation in Continental Europe
The Renaissance
The Lutheran Reformation
The Calvinist Reformation
The English Reformation, Civil War, and Revolution
The English Reformation
The Civil War, Restoration, and Revolution
English Political Theory
Church and State at the End of the Seventeenth Century
The North American Colonies
The Early Years: Calvinist Roots
Christian Declension and Revival
The American Revolution and Constitution
The Revolution and Its Aftermath
The Constitution
The Fruits of the Framing: Church and State in Nineteenth - And Early-Twentieth-Century America
The Nineteenth Century
Church and State in the Early Twentieth Century
The Fruits of the Framing: Church and State in Late-Twentieth-Century America
The Supreme Court Intervenes
A Brief Assessment of the Supreme Court Cases
A Synchronic Analysis of the Separation of Church and State in the Late Twentieth Century: Concluding Remarks
Symbolic Power
Structural Power
The Interaction of Symbolic and Structural Power
Final Thoughts: A Political Statement
Selected Bibliography
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