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5 people who fought for Separation of Church and State

August 21, 2012

An interesting article on 5 relatively unknown names from the history of separation of Church and State, including:

  • Charles Pinckney, the South Caroline delegate who introduced the language into the Constitution that there should be no religious test for office
  • Joel Barlow, who helped negotiate the Treaty of Tripoli, including the famous text claiming that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”
  • Rep. Gulian C. Verplanck, who explained why government-sponsored prayer is offensive… in 1832
  • Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general.  OK, he’s not unknown, but what is not very well know is his proposal denying tax money for religious schools and mandating no religious worship in the public schools
  • Ellery Schempp, the courageous high school student who was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that decided in a 1963 that public schools may not impose prayer and Bible reading on students

Separation of Church and State requires constant vigilance and defense.  A tip of the hat to the people, known and unknown, throughout history, who have worked to maintain that separation, thus guaranteeing freedom of religion for everyone.

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