Reinhold Niebuhr, via Union Theological Seminary archives

Americans are a pervasively religious people firmly opposed to the establishment of religion, and that paradoxical situation makes for endless confusion about the proper place of religion in the nation’s political order. Prominent in that confusion is the notion that the separation of church and state implicit in non-establishment further implies the separation of religion and public life. But the first proposition is a constitutional mandate affirmed by overwhelming national consensus, while the second is a denial of American principle and practice to which only radical secularists can intelligibly offer assent.

The point is virtually self-evident. The great majority of Americans say that they believe in God. They further say...


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