Liberty and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State

by Robert J. O’Keefe

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About the book
What does it take to bring political liberty into reality and what is required to sustain it? Is

religion a necessity or a hindrance? Is religious neutrality in public affairs possible? What

do means of persuasion and the knowledge of good and evil have to do with political

liberty? Do the well-considered views of the authors of the Declaration of Independence

and the Constitution on the separation between church and state have any relevance today?

Such questions are bypassed in the pragmatic expediencies of politics. But they cannot be

overlooked if the American experiment in liberty is to be understood and prolonged.

Liberty and the Wall surveys these and other aspects of political liberty as it is enjoyed in

the United States. It distills from history the essentials of natural right and consent of the

governed, and the necessary virtues of self-reliance and self-governance. It analyzes the

conditions and events that led to a formal separation between political rule and religion for

the first time in history. The transition from government over people to people over

government and the principles embedded within the Constitution and the Declaration of

Independence are explored. Insights are drawn from the Federalist-Anti-Federalist and

Lincoln-Douglas debates. The danger of utopian ideals and the place of appeal to

authority higher than both people and government receive due attention.

Liberty and the Wall steers clear of conventional, superficial controversies over religious

symbols, speech, and practices on public property and in public institutions. Neither is

there any pretense about easy fixes to public controversies. Far more germane to the

subject are underlying conflicts of values and senses of the good and just in matters of

public interest, as opposing metaphysical views contend for political supremacy below the

level of popular awareness. Politics is infused with values and concepts of right. The

determination of the valuable, the right, and the just is far more the commanding question.

Additional information

Author's Name

Robert J. O'Keefe

Paperback

978-1-64908-698-3

eBook

978-1-64908-697-6

Hardback

978-1-64908-699-0

Publication Date

March 11, 2021

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