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Farewell to Christendom: The Future of Church and State in America Hardcover – October 15, 2001


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Farewell to Christendom: The Future of Church and State in America + The First Freedoms: Church and State in America to the Passage of the First Amendment
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195145690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195145694
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author


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).

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Patrick McCarthy on November 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Marquez on December 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
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.
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