We are a Religious People Whose Institutions Presuppose a Supreme Being
Nexus: A Journal of Opinion, Vol. 5, p. 13, Fall 2000
12 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2006
This article challenges the separationist view of the Establishment Clause adopted by the Supreme Court in Everson and other cases, and instead explores Justice Douglas's important contention in Zorach v. Clausen that We are a Religious People Whose Institutions Presuppose a Supreme Being. Drawing on sources from the founding, such as the Declaration of Independence, debates in Congress over the First Amendment, state constitutional provisions, the Northwest Ordinance, and wide-spread practice, the article makes the case for treating the Establishment Clause as a federalism provision, not a rights provision, reserving to the states the authority to partner with religion in the exercise of the states' police power - that is, the power to regulate the health, safety, welfare, and morals of the people.
Keywords: Establishment Clause, Declaration of Independence, Northwest Ordinance, state constitutions, Zorach v. Clausen, Everson
JEL Classification: K10, K40, I20, I28, H70, H77, H10, H11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation