by Jack Kessler, firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published in French in Bulletin des bibliothèques de France t.48, n.6, 2003, pp.52-61 , ISSN: 0006-2006 -- online in French as, Religion et bibliothèques aux États-Unis : Un « mur de séparation » ?, at,
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by Jack Kessler, email@example.com -- June 30, 2003
In 1802 Thomas Jefferson wrote that he felt the US Constitution had created "a wall of separation between church and State". US Americans long have argued over the meaning of Jefferson's now-famous phrase: both long before, over the idea which it expresses -- and ever since, over Jefferson's exact meaning, over whether Jefferson's meaning really matters, and most crucially over how to apply his idea in practice even if it is important.
One of the most difficult, and angry, discussions under way in the US today in fact is about whether "Jefferson's 'wall'" ought to be shifted over a bit, now, or ought to be removed entirely, or even whether it really exists at all, or ever has existed. The current US president has taken a strong stand on this: his personal convictions, and his constituency, both dictate that a radical change now is needed in the church-state balance which recently has been the national norm.
So we have, now, in the current White House, prayer before conferences, and prayer meetings, and a great increase in official invocations of the Christian god, and the trumpeting of an elaborate program of "Faith-Based Initiatives" -- the last a list of government programs now available to religious groups, as would not have been possible under the prior consensus on church-state relations in the US.
And, overseas, our friends are alarmed. Does this mean censorship, they ask? Does it mean a messianic religious revival, to be turned against others in foreign policy -- "Crusades", and so on? And does it indicate a radical strengthening, or perhaps even worse a weakening, of the political entity which recently has come to dominate the attention, the economy, and the military power of the entire globe?
Of the many mysteries of the world's most unique and mysterious nation -- the US must be the most unlike any other, of all nations in the world now -- US religion and its political and legal treatment must seem the most strange, to foreigners. In other nations, things religious normally are less convoluted: religion has been entirely forbidden, by some, while others have been formal religious states -- many nations have "established" religions, which exist in occasionally-uneasy but at least time-honored relationships with the secular government. In Belgium, for example, it is possible today to write of,
"The Economic Importance of Financing Religion ...the total cost of financing recognized religions... is estimated currently to be 252.5 million euros per year... from public authorities at the federal, state and local levels... 295.6 million euros per year also are spent on religious education..."
-- words which would look horrifically strange to a US American, but perhaps only to a US American -- and the US American's horror, in turn, would mystify someone Belgian.
Such an "establishment", however, is precisely what those who wrote the US Constitution had in mind, when back in 1791 they declared that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". The colonies which for nearly 300 years preceded the formation of the US had made many experiments with "establishing" religion, and so the nation's founders had much experience with the intense wrangling and unresolvable difficulties of same.
And even whether those 17th and 18th century people themselves meant "only one religion", or "all religions", or "anything at all religious", has been hotly debated ever since, by historians and legal scholars, with much fine parsing of words and sifting of intentions, and all too little actual evidence. So the famous "wall of separation" comment, made on the cusp of the 19th century by Thomas Jefferson, then the newly-inaugurated third president, perhaps represents only his personal interpretation of the matter. At the time he wrote there was much disagreement, and historians have continued disagreeing ever since, over not only the idea itself but also Jefferson's own idea of it.
The contentiousness of the church-state relationship has permeated US society for a very long time, then. And the issue has long been a vital concern of libraries. Since the founding of the earliest colleges, for training religious ministers, academic libraries have struggled with questions surrounding religious instruction: Harvard began in 1636, "To advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate Ministry to the Churches" -- William and Mary in 1693, that college's first chancellor being "our well-beloved and right trusty the reverend father in God, Henry, by divine permission, bishop of London" -- Yale in 1701, by religious ministers, and governed by a succession of same, the most famous of whom warning students of the evils of dramatic literature and diversion, "When you go to theatres, recollect that you are to give an account of your conduct at the last day".
And from the beginning US academic librarians have had to deal with the controversies. Young John Harvard had emigrated from England precisely because, "many clergy were making the move to what was regarded by them as a new land of religious toleration". Book selection was central: Yale College's very founding was a symbolic act involving books and religious ministers -- "In 1701, when the founding of Collegiate School was imminent, 10 ministers gathered at the Branford home of the Reverend Samuel Russel, each bringing a number of books, which were ceremoniously placed on Russel's parlor table to mark the founding of the school" -- and the "diversity" of this particular US library collection is described now as, "that early theological library... well suited to the purposes of the University's founders". So US academic libraries are no strangers to issues of religion.
The earliest US public subscription libraries, as well, wrestled with religion. Benjamin Franklin's 1731 Library Company of Philadelphia declared its purpose to be, "Communiter Bona profundere Deum est / Doing Good is Deepening God": this from the talented diplomat who later was to delight Paris with his genius for wit and l'ironie, author of many deliberately and deliciously ambiguous sayings -- such as his advice on the US Declaration of Independence, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately" -- or his comment on the Constitution, "This... can only end in Despotism... when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other..." Then-young Franklin and his friends were very well aware, in 1731, of the problem of religious preponderance in library book collections of their time: the exact position of "Deum" in their slogan could be interpreted as either an exalted or a diminished one. The modern successor to their Library Company describes their earliest catalogue of 1741: "Theology accounted for only a tenth of the titles. This was in marked contrast to the earlier libraries of Harvard and Yale, but a harbinger of other popular libraries which were founded later".
So libraries in the US, like US society generally, have dealt with religion, and with the balancing of other values in competition with it -- and with the problems of separation, and the lack thereof, of "church" and "state" -- for centuries. This is not "plus ça change, plus c'est la même", exactly, but it is not something new. The overall issues now are broader and deeper than just "religion", perhaps, although an examination of the newer controversies may be illuminated by considering some of the older, but still difficult, problems posed. These have included, 1) problems of defining "walls", 2) problems of defining "religion", 3) problems of "applications", and, 4) "politics", or at least the most general problem of figuring out better means of resolving all of this, than resorting just to politics.
1) Problems of defining "walls"
"Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's,
and unto God that which is God's..."
-- Matthew 22:21, Mark 12:17, Luke 20:25
All civilizations always have had difficulties in defining "walls", and particularly in areas of religion. Much ink has been spilled already in the current controversy in the US: no blood, yet -- unless the copious and very real blood spilled in the bitter "abortion and women's rights" controversy, which verges on the "religion" issue, gets counted in. The past, however, offers many examples of bloody conflicts over issues of church and state.
The US itself might be said to have originated from religious conflicts, in fact. The 16th century European Wars of Religion produced many of the refugees who populated the earliest American colonies: as John Adams wrote, of the religious diversity of the Continental Army,
"There were among them Roman Catholicks, English Episcopalians, Scotch and American Presbyterians, Methodists, Moravians, Anabaptists, German Lutherans, German Calvinists, Universalists, Arians, Priestleyans, Socinians, Independents, Congregationalists, Horse Protestants and House Protestants, Deists and Atheists, and 'Protestants que ne croyent rien' ['Protestant' non-believers]"
-- early US colonists included Quakers, and Baptists, and Calvinists, and good "Huguenots", and many other Christian groups.
European difficulties in coping with religion also were on the minds of the people who sat down later on, in the late-1700s, to found the new US nation. The nation-state as a general idea is said to have been derived from the Peace of Westphalia (1648), so European ideas about nation-states as well -- Bodin, Hobbes, Montesquieu, also Grotius, Pufendorf, Vattel -- influenced, or influenced others who influenced, the late-1700s authors of the new US nation-state. Along with the resolution "never again" to permit the bloodshed of the preceding century, then, came certain ideas regarding the relationship between religion and the new State. European ideas on church-state relations have been involved, in the US, since the nation's very beginnings and before.
Scandals and sensations, too, have played their part. Among the notorious court trials which rocked the US 1920s was one purporting to pit the Theory of Evolution against the Bible: the "Monkey Trial" of 1925, in Dayton, Tennessee. In a deliberately-staged test of Tennessee's law forbidding the teaching of Darwin's theory in schools, the greatest lawyer in the US, Clarence Darrow, confronted one of its greatest politicians, William Jennings Bryan -- as reported to the world by one of the earliest courtroom radio broadcasts, and by the acerbic wit of the greatest journalist of the times, H.L. Mencken.
The electrifying "Monkey Trial" roused the entire nation, during that hot 1920s summer. Its central issue was the contest between the traditionalist teachings of the Tennessee church, and the Enlightenment rationalist science of the modern US State. A later famous stage play, Inherit the Wind, further immortalized the incident, and its issues, in the general US mind.
And another famous stage play again highlighted these church-state controversies, in the 1950s: Arthur Miller's The Crucible, ostensibly concerning late-17th century witchcraft trials which actually had been held in Salem, Massachusetts, although also about mass psychology dangers of the "Communist Red Scare" era during which Miller was writing. Church-state relations were central: the dangers of an "established" religion, and of the imposition of its "irrational" faith-based beliefs, in secular judgment situations calling instead for impartial investigation, and cold rationality.
Even more recently, the issue of the influence which religion has and ought to have in daily life has been brought again into the headlines in the US, by terrible scandals which for the past several years have wracked the Roman Catholic Church, over the sexual abuse of children who were in the care of priests -- abuse by those same priests -- and the attempts by that church to "cover up" the abuses.
The point being, in all such cases, that religious people are only human, and therefore are just as likely as others to become embroiled in the scandals of their times: this is what church leaders themselves say, in their own defenses against scandal and efforts to rationalize their positions -- the US has heard much, recently, of the need for the morality provided by religion, as well as of "Judge not, that ye be not judged" and "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone!".
So the difficulty becomes, in political and legal spheres anyway, where to draw lines officially between the secular roles of religious people and their participation in their religions. Several fundamental ideals become involved, and they conflict: for example should a man who happens to be Roman Catholic be prevented from becoming the national president? John Kennedy faced that question... Or should students who attend religious schools be permitted to use public busses for school events? There have been several law cases...
Ought politicians elected to represent their local communities to listen less to "religious" groups, than they would to the individuals involved had they not been in a group, in the interests of avoiding preference to certain religions? All US politicians have faced this... Shall the phrase "Under God" be excluded from the national "Pledge of Allegiance"? So innocuous- sounding an issue recently has created a furor, in the US, supplanting news headlines about the country's invasion of a foreign nation, and occupying politicians at the height of wartime, and now it takes up valuable room on the crowded schedule of the national Supreme Court...
Such issues of "religion" tend to be highly emotional, and highly complex. They are sincerely and deeply felt. The problem for others who must deal with this -- for beleaguered politicians, and busy judges, and police who would rather be chasing criminals, and schoolteachers who would rather be teaching school, and for US librarians -- lies in defining the issue. Most often this is accomplished by drawing lines, as must be done for any difficult problem: so that greater issues may be broken down into subsets, and categories -- and ultimately into smaller questions which then can be resolved, one by one, as a means hopefully of resolving the larger.
This is what Jefferson, the practical politician, very well may have intended at least in part by his "wall": a dividing line, classifying issues and those who advocate them, into problems which might be resolved by the secular society -- his reference to "State" -- and problems which must be referred instead to the religious authorities, his reference to "Church". A procedural technique, then -- one familiar to Europeans, with their long history of settling conflicts between "church" and "state" -- a means of getting a set of intractable difficulties resolved, if imperfectly and temporarily, and at least removed from a busy politician's desk.
2) Problems of defining "religion"
"Upon my arrival in the United States, it was the religious aspect of the country which
first struck me... everyone attributed the peaceful power which religion excercises in their
country principally to the complete separation of the Church and the State."
-- Alexis de Tocqueville, Of the principal reasons which encourage the maintenance of a democratic republic in the United States / Of the principal reasons which render religion powerful in America .
As difficult for civilizations as the definition of "walls" generally has been, the difficulties of defining "religion" have been worse, greatly complicating the problem of defining church-state relations.
So many of the perceptive observations of the young French nobleman Tocqueville, made so long ago in 1831, appear still to be true. His comment above, on the breadth and depth of religious conviction in the US, seems to be one of these. A more recent commentator observes, in more detail,
"As the twenty-first century gets under way, about 85 percent of Americans tell pollsters they identify with some religious faith. More than 40 percent say they attend religious services at least once a week..." [and the principal groups are] "mainline Protestant denominations, making up about 20 percent of the total population...; the Roman Catholic Church, about 25 percent; the white evangelical Protestant churches, about 25 percent...; African American Protestant churches, about 8 percent; and Jews, about 2 percent. Other significant groups, such as Mormons, Orthodox Christians, Christian Scientists, and growing numbers of Moslems and followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, and other eastern religions..."
But the trouble with statistics, in the case of religion, is that it is hard to quantify matters of belief. Ask someone whether she or he "is religious", in the modern US, and you are likely to get a "yes": that is the sort of tally which the many definitive-looking tabulations on the subject use. Yet the question most in need of an answer really is, "how religious?": for example, just "personal belief?", or "occasional church on Sundays?", or "do you believe that the Second Coming is about to happen and that we all had better sell our worldly goods and Repent, and right now?" It is difficult to find many people, or many polls, which will or even can narrow things down that far -- most believers have not even decided for themselves.
One always can ask the churches. But figures derived from those sources vary, according to degrees of both quantity and quality of belief. Perhaps no church, in any religion anywhere, ever has held that the entire congregation is loyal: every attempt to inflate such estimates -- to qualify for state subsidy, or to magnify the glory of works accomplished, or simply for bragging rights against a competitor -- is more than met by the number of times the pastors complain of the inconstancy of their flocks.
And it is difficult to define "Christian". In the US now, for example, contests rage among Christians for the dignity or notoriety of being labeled "Evangelical" or "Fundamentalist": the former referring to those who proselytize, and the latter to those who insist on rigorous interpretation of the exact words of the Christian Bible. Some sects claim both labels, others deny either to "Mormons", or "Catholics", or one another, and so on... To a foreigner accustomed to one or a few Established churches, it can seem that US religionists "parler en langues": "Evangelical", "Fundamentalist", "Born Again", other labels... with definitions, lines of demarcation, walls of separation, all loosely-drawn at best...
But such contests have gone on inside Christianity since at least Nicaea, 325 AD. "Varieties of religious experience" is nothing new, to the world or to the US. Nearly any political calculation involving a thing so difficult to quantify as "religion" comes up against methodological flaws. For instance US election result tallies exist, and receive extensive media use, which pretend to show religious participation: "40% of Bush voters were Evangelical Christians" runs one notorious generalization, currently used to present scary scenarios for the extent of US religious control. But one first has to know what "40%" means... and then one also must inquire about the meaning of "Evangelical", and even of "Christians"... It turns out, in fact, that the 40% in question here is only 40% of the mere 48% which that candidate polled, which itself was a mere 51.3% of those who actually might have registered to vote: so that we are speaking here of, at most, 9.8% of the adult US population... so, a "low voter turnout" problem, in effect...
And we still do not know the depth or breadth of the "religious" feeling of these people: what they believe on individual issues, whether they voted for this candidate simply because they disliked his opponent, what issues they might trade off against others, in political decision-making processes -- the workaday problem of politics being to decide whether a voter will balance her healthcare worries against those for her children's education, for example, or either of those against her concerns for her elderly parents. Until we know such things about her, simply knowing that she may be "Evangelical" in her religion does not do us much good in our daily politics.
Every nation faces these problems. They are in the nature of the political process, anywhere. Any "statistical" news headline about religion gets used both for and against the candidate in question -- praising for rectitude, perhaps, or denigrating for intolerance -- when in fact this begs the real political issues involved, which concern individual choice, and nothing so neatly covered by a questionable generalization such as "religion".
Libraries did not ask for such uncertainty. The library world of collecting and organizing and classifying information -- and now of attempting, at least, and nearly mathematically, to match user preferences with classification to enable a "search and retrieval" process -- is one which is as uncomfortable with uncertainty as is that of any other profession. And yet uncertainties do break in upon the comfortable library world, religious uncertainties among them.
The Dewey Decimal Classification, for example -- proud symbol of US librarianship, in extensive use in US public libraries and also in libraries overseas -- provides one full top-level section for "200 Religion". This prompts several questions of the type which show up increasingly in law courts in the US these days, regarding the relative roles of the various categories: any implication that "200 Religion" is of a value equivalent to "300 Social Sciences" or to "100 Philosophy"? such that schools ought to teach one in preference to the other? or, both subjects being of equivalent intellectual importance, need both be taught? These are the very issues fought so fiercely in the 1925 "Monkey Trial", mentioned above, and in the "Creationist vs. Darwinist" controversies wracking US school classrooms and courts still today.
And the Dewey Classification subdivides "200 Religion" into several subcategories but giving pride of place to Christianity: all the world's other religions relegated to "210 Philosophy" or "290 Other"... And is there, the contentious might ask, a preference here for Protestantism, then, perhaps as practiced in Mr. Dewey's own 19th c. US, with the further breakdown of "280 Christian Denominations" into many classifications, relegating "Catholicism" to only one and with Protestants of various types receiving the lion's share?...
But these are old issues, familiar to every librarian: certainly every librarian in a Catholic country, and any who have tried explaining the Dewey Classification to people in countries primarily Buddhist, or Hindu, or Islamic. Always there are difficulties in defining what is and is not "religion", and often difficulties in determining which religion is involved. And what to do when different religious norms conflict, when different religions conflict, when norms of religion contradict norms of politics or law or other social structures?: conflicts present innumerable occasions for thought, and argument, and sometimes even battle. Even in the library... The point here being merely that the library world is not exempt, from the troubling issues of defining "religion" which beset the more general society from time to time.
3) Problems of applications, and the "rule de minimis"
"De minimis non curat lex / The law is not concerned with trifles"
-- old legal maxim
"That government is best which governs least."
-- Henry David Thoreau
How to cope, then, with the difficulties of defining social "walls", and defining "religion"? The law provides the minimum. As libraries, and society generally, wrestle with the broader and deeper ramifications of any given social issue, the law defines at least the minimal behavior permissible while the debates go on -- the minimum which will keep a person out of court, and out of jail. And even the law has its own minimum: matters so minor that busy and expensive police and judges try their best to avoid getting caught up in them. Thence the maxim cited above: that no, the courts and the judges will not become involved in your occasional fights with your neighbor, and the police will encourage you to settle things yourselves, as they are occupied with more important things, such as chasing murderers...
Into the "de minimis" category traditionally fall many of the supposed controversies of the church-state relationship: these can include the fights over "oaths of office" and "proclaimed days of prayer" and "bailiffs' incantations" -- a famous US law case involved forbidden state support of a Christmas nativity display, and whether the inclusion of a secular "teddy bear" doll or "Santa Claus" figure made it any more permissible -- one of the most emotional "de minimis" religious controversies has been the periodic fight over the words "under God" in the national pledge of allegiance. Wise courts simply duck such issues, or try to. One ardent defender of Jefferson's "wall" drily observes, however,
"...religion saturates American public life. Every president swears the oath of office with one hand on the Bible and often says 'So help me God.' Almost every president has proclaimed days of prayer and thanksgiving to God, and, since 1952, when Congress decreed that a specific date be set aside each year for Americans to pray, the president has annually declared a National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday in May. The Supreme Court opens its session after the bailiff has asked God to save the Court and the United States. Every state legislature as well as Congress starts its daily session with a prayer from a chaplain whose salary is paid with public tax monies.
"All of us, including schoolchildren, when pledging allegiance to the flag, invoke God on behalf of our nation. Witnesses in court swear to tell the truth, 'So help me God.' Our money announces that we trust in God. Our churches and synagogues are exempt from taxation. One of our great libertarian enactments, the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedoms, calls upon God, as does the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, both written by Thomas Jefferson, the advocate of a wall of separation between church and state".
So such minimalist controversies about US church-state relations details are old, and they are continuous. Nearly immediately after the founding of the nation, the issue arose of appointing religious chaplains for the armed forces and the legislatures -- furious controversies have arisen periodically ever since, although the chaplains remain to this day. And since Darwin first published his thoughts about natural history, the issue of whether and how to teach that in light of the contradictions of Creationism has been a recurrent social theme -- both before and since the 1925 "Monkey Trial".
The usual strategy of the law has been to ignore such issues: why waste court time debating conflicts which cannot be resolved and do not hurt anyone, when there are murderers to be tried? As Jefferson put it, "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg". The fights considered de minimis by US law courts are not only religious, after all: argumentative people bring lawsuits in which they themselves are not involved, and they are turned away -- courts refuse to hear matters in which no injury is claimed or injury is slight -- arbitration and mediation are imposed to cut down on court case loads...
Yet exceptions slip through: and so, in this year 2003, the California courts, and now even the US Supreme Court -- all of which should be busy deciding other more injurious matters -- are arguing once again over whether the national pledge of allegiance should include the words "under God". "Why now?", one should ask: why, with all of the other pressing concerns which these courts face, has the US legal system decided that these two religious words are important enough, just at the moment, to merit their extremely expensive and time-pressed attention?
US law also is constrained by a traditional minimalist streak which runs through US politics, as suggested by the above famous line from Thoreau's 1849 essay: US Americans, in addition to supporting a legal system which like most others cannot "be concerned with trifles", for practical reasons, also long have believed that government in general should not do more than it has to, particularly in the private lives of citizens.
The entire effort to craft a constitution, in 1789, was one to minimize the powers of the new government: the US Founders, forced by circumstance to strengthen the central authority, were very concerned, both in principle and to ensure acceptance of the new document, that the new powers be enumerated. The document was to exclude any power not specifically set down. This concern gave birth to the Bill of Rights: the list of citizens' privileges, considered superfluous by many Founders because the new government had not been given capacity to abuse them. Its final Tenth Amendment stated, simply and memorably, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
So the often minor controversies surrounding matters of religion might be considered "de minimis" in two senses, in the US system: not only are they so minor as not to be worthy of the attention of the law, they also are matters of daily life posing more of a nuisance than any sort of serious issue, to a government specifically restricted to deal with only the most important matters of its people. Other governmental systems are designed to be far more intrusive. All the more reason, then, to inquire why the US government, and its legal system, are being so intrusive on these minor religious matters now?
In the US, libraries provide one frontier between government and its citizens. Like schools, and churches, and other public meeting places, libraries offer a chance to test the rules which make peaceful social interaction possible. A hermit may live alone, cherishing his eccentricities, and soldiers may conform to rigid personal disciplines, but between these extremes the vast majority of society needs a looser rein: freedom to conduct their daily lives as they themselves see fit, restrained by a minimum of paternalistic interference from government -- such, at any rate, is the general theory upon which US government has been based from its beginnings.
So how does this minimalist approach work, in the case of libraries as a microcosm -- an "inside view", albeit a "frontier" -- of US Society? Just as US Society in general has room for "religion", so do US libraries: there are books on religion on the shelves, multimedia collections include materials on religious subjects, library Internet terminals and wireless systems link to online religious websites... And just as US Politics provides room for religion, so too religious political debate takes place in libraries: where else do debaters find their material -- where else do people do the research which fuels the noisier confrontations of the political arenas -- if someone in the US needs to pursue or defend any particular position on a religious issue, politically, her starting-point is research in some library. And so too, then, like US Law, libraries also confront questions of minimal acceptable behavior: what will, and will not, be tolerated in a library context, enabling the library both to function as an institution and to further the broader goals of Politics and Society, regarding religion and other social values?
US libraries maintain plenty of their own internal "Legal" rules and regulations. In a library one may see in operation many such rules which try to govern social behavior minimally. These range from general conventions, such as the imposition of fines for overdue materials, to specific rules on the use of certain rooms for certain purposes. Vagrancy rules are enforced, to prevent sleeping in doorways and at desks. Usage rules are imposed, wisely or not, over how long students may play games and use their email on Internet terminals. So library rules exist: from innocuous if sometimes elaborate opening hours and access regulations -- such as the old BN's famous stricture on carrying reading materials down to the reference room, or reference materials up to the reading room, lampooned along with so much else about his favorite place by Umberto Eco -- to the famous caution about noise which symbolizes librarianship everywhere, "Shhhh". The sociology of a library, like that of any large public institution, can be complex.
Library "Legal" regulations also can be oppressive, however, like any rules, so much so that they chill or even frustrate the fundamental purpose of the library. Just as a community can be over-policed, a library can be over-restricted. Too great a concern for the safety of the books, for example, can so restrict users that the books themselves rarely get read -- an old balancing problem experienced by every library... Likewise, libraries balance the needs of groups which cause disturbance, and noise, against those of others who need silence: thence, somewhat for this reason, the invention of "children's rooms", also the regulation of political protests, exhibits, social gatherings -- all of which serve library purposes at times at odds with others. And now there are those noisy flipphones and computer keyboards, too...
The Political sphere is present within US libraries as well, and it is very active. Not only do US library organizations, unlike professional groups in many other countries, develop their own opinions on library-related political issues, they publicize these, campaign hard for them, are leaders in national efforts to make changes. Some even resort to suing the national government itself, in open court and as far as the US Supreme Court, over political issues on which the librarians hold strong beliefs. Currently the leading law case involving US Internet censorship is remarkably entitled, The United States of America versus The American Library Association -- a title which might sound rare and threatening in a non-US context, but which in fact is the normal way of operating in the contentious and litigious US.
But in the general Social sphere US libraries see themselves not so much as partisans, even of their own strongly-held ideas, but as venues: opportunities for all partisans to do research, think, discuss, formulate their individual ideas. Frontiers, then: the libraries provide places where all of the activists can gather, and expand their minds, supervised and encumbered by a minimum of rules.
These minimal rules are set out, as clearly as they can be, by the American Library Association (ALA). The central concept, of their many recommendations to US libraries concerning religious issues, is "Intellectual Freedom": the ALA believes, fervently, that none of its various goals can be met without openness of information, the greatest possible free access to all, confidentiality for users, and a total lack of censorship. The best place to examine the credo, on all of this, is at the ALA Website, and the organization has a distinguished history of publishing works on these subjects in print, as well.
Since 1982 the ALA has sponsored its "Banned Books Week": an annual nation-wide event celebrating freedom of information and fighting censorship. This is where exceptions to the general US freedom from censorship get publicized: for instance Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, which periodically gets removed from some local libraries because of its use of the word "nigger", a term offensive to US African-Americans -- or the Harry Potter series, which some US Christians believe offends their religion. The "Banned Books" list always is long. The range of authors on its "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books" is broad. But in a society as large and as varied as the US now is, there is going to be a great variety of reasons for objecting to things. Inclusion on the "proscribed" lists becomes a badge of notoriety worn with pride now by many authors. Recently works by John Steinbeck, Judy Blume, J.D. Salinger, Alice Walker, Madonna, Harper Lee, Aldous Huxley, Roald Dahl, Stephen King, Isabel Allende, Kurt Vonnegut, William Golding, Toni Morrison, and Mark Twain and J.K. Rowling, have been banned by some library, for some reason, someplace in the US.
These are the exceptions, though. The entire purpose of the ongoing US library profession effort to bring attention to them is to pressure local library and other decision-makers to stop censorship and restore the books to the library shelves. A few cases make it to the Political news headlines. And fewer still make it to the expensive and arduous process of the Legal courts. Most instead get resolved through these constant pressures of civil liberties groups like ALA, in the broader US Social arena: as ALA puts the civil liberties attitude on the censorship issue, quoting Benjamin Franklin, "Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech", and, "Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech" -- although a more famous phrase, in frequent use in US political culture, sums up the attitude even better, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance...".
The important point for any foreigner to understand is that all of this professional participation by libraries in "intellectual freedom" is part of the normal process -- part of the general US approach to civil liberties, which takes place in Law, Politics, and the broader Society. As in the general case, libraries need rules, and occasionally even "walls". So internal library rules exist, and professional political activities on behalf of civil liberties are encouraged. Even religions which advocate everything for which the library does not stand are welcome, as so many other unpopular causes are, so long as they obey the minimal library rules.
So if the rules are changing, now, this too is part of the general US Political process, and is nothing unique or even unfamiliar to the time-honored traditions and practices of US libraries. Rules do change, occasionally. But at least the politics which tries to change them is more volatile -- and, more quickly than it changed, can change back again. Certainly there is the danger that things can change too quickly, or in the wrong direction -- this last so worrisome to our friends overseas now, about the rapidly- changing US. But that would pose less of a danger than their never changing at all -- there is nothing worse than a sclerotic social system, for then change comes too quickly and too violently. So while the US gropes toward new balances, friends should take comfort in the size and variety and flexibility of the US system: the "de minimis" hope, perhaps, is that it is all far too unwieldy now, at least, for any one small group to guide it in any single political direction which will be entirely wrong.
4) It's Politics, in the end
"Est igitur... res publica res populi /
Government... is a thing of the people"
-- Cicero, De re publica, I, 39.
The law, which does only the minimum, grows out of politics, which handles much of the rest. And, in the final analysis, the problems of freedom of religion and of church-state relations -- which appear to have so much to do with law -- are not legal but political. In the US democratic tradition all laws are derived from the political culture, after all: the US court which tries enforcing rules from other sources -- be these Scriptural or Natural Law or Customary Usages, or the fiat of bureaucrats and administrators -- runs up ultimately against the mandate of the ballot box. This perhaps is only logical, law generally being only the minimal rules of political society: the entire legal hierarchy depending on who accepts the basic norm as being "valid" -- not a legal but a political or sociological question, as Kelsen would have said. Politics, though, includes more about religion: more than do the conservative corridors of the law, which nearly always fight a rearguard action against the turmoil of political trends.
* Demographics -- Immigration, Ageing, Globalization
So, for any foreigner wishing to understand the politics of all this, in the modern US, and for any citizen as well, it first is important to realize how unique the US has become, among nations. The differences make no nation better than any other. But they do show comparisons, and attempts to force one system upon another, to be difficult. For example the US is comparatively enormous, now, in every respect: far more population than nearly all other nation-states -- over 290 million total, against just 60 million in France, 83 million in Germany, 60 million in the United Kingdom -- and far greater land mass, and economic strength, and overwhelming military power. And the US hosts great variety, in its modern population: among "ethnicities" are Caucasian, including increasing "Hispanics" yet totaling only 77.1%, African-American 12.9%, Asian 4.2%, Other 5.8%, across great regions -- Germany by contrast is German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, Other 6.1%, with nearly all non-Germans living in just a few major cities.
At the same time the US is both much older and much younger than most other nations, now. The current US governmental structure has functioned for over two centuries. But US citizens inhabit major cities such as San Francisco, approaching 7 million in regional population today, which was founded as a tiny Franciscan mission only in 1776, and really began to become a city only in 1849 -- as against two thousand years of urban tradition and practice in places like Athens, Rome, Lyon, Paris.
And religion comparisons are similarly dramatic. US variety, "Protestant 56%, Roman Catholic 28%, Jewish 2%, Other 4%, None 10%", compares to France, for example, where one religion predominates, "Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, Unaffiliated 4%". Again, the point is just that cross-cultural comparisons are difficult: numbers are unreliable, and even the nation-states by which they are grouped increasingly represent entities so dissimilar that comparisons become meaningless -- it compares "apples to oranges", in the modern world, to contrast France to the US, or the US to France, or either of these to a place so different from both as, say, Iraq -- in most matters, and perhaps most in matters of religion. The US is not even well-suited to the "national" label used by European nation-states: that was a cultural, ethnic, and at times even racial description of homogeneity -- of early 19th century European states -- and the US never has been that.
Great changes, however, do draw the peoples of different places together politically, nowadays, even as the increasingly irrelevant nation-state boundaries which separate them gradually weaken. For example Immigration, Ageing, and Globalization all are having profound effects on US society, as they are on societies elsewhere -- changes such as these may be at the root of "religious" tensions and other social and political movements, now being raised in fact in reaction to them.
Again, a few comparisons: in France the net migration rate, "the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving [the] country during the year per 1,000 persons", recently has exceeded .64 -- in Germany the same figure has been 3.99, in Denmark 2.01, in Italy 1.73, Switzerland 1.37. In the US, 3.5... So, making no generalizations about the effect of such immigration upon particular cultures -- some need and welcome immigration, some feel inundated by it, all handle it better than some and worse than others, all for complex reasons not revealed by bald statistics -- one nevertheless can see that all of these nation-states do have one thing in common: more people are moving in than are moving out, and policies for this are needed by all. So there is much common ground here, and much room for international cooperation -- and also for misinterpretation, misunderstanding, tension, and conflict.
Another major trend creating emotions and fears, in the US and elsewhere, is the ageing of the post-World War II generation: in the US the "Baby Boom", one of the largest demographic bulges in the history of the nation. Bill Clinton, born 1946, represents the cusp of a 30+% US birth rate increase which extended to the early 1960s and then fell sharply: only 2-3 million US babies born each year, through the 1930s Great Depression and the 1939-1945 war years -- 2,735,458 in 1945 -- and then suddenly, in 1946, "when the soldiers came home", 3,288,672 -- and over 3 million and as much as 4,268,326 (1960) in every year thereafter until 1965, when this fell back below 4 million where it has stayed fairly consistently since. The effects have been enormous: from pop music to education -- as in France, the US first underbuilt and then vastly overbuilt its educational infrastructure -- to suburbs and Inner City ghettos, to supporting a huge Aged population from earnings of a diminishing labor force, this demographic tidal wave has both energized and swamped the US. Many emotions, among them fears, have resulted.
And Globalization has done the same. The US, possessing an overwhelming share of the economic might of the world in 1945, had to adjust to a global predominance very unfamiliar to a people traditionally wedded to self-sufficiency, plus a general wariness of "foreign entanglements", punctuated by periodic bouts of extreme "isolationism". While revolutions in transportation, communications, and demographics have shrunk the world, various nation-states, designed for a more static and manageable situation, have encountered great difficulties in adjusting to the new geopolitical realities. US adjustment has been among the most awkward. In Korea, in Vietnam, in various smaller adventures and most recently in Iraq, the US has learned bitter lessons about the realities of becoming, intentionally or not, "the world's hegemon". For one thing, it does make you more of a target...
Other trends might be cited, the general point being that broad changes such as those involved in Immigration, Ageing, and Globalization are at least as much a part of geopolitical development, and "religious" revivals, as are negative factors such as the "ambition", "greed" and "empire" more often cited in the mass media. In bitter debates surrounding modern geopolitical change, including debates about "religion", emotive issues predominate. While these ought not to be ignored, there are other things involved here as well -- other broader and deeper things, over which we all have far less control, perhaps.
* Static Positions
The question then becomes what general political strategies we adopt for keeping up with such changes. Political extremist groups -- "religious" among them -- are even more numerous in US society than they are elsewhere. US size and variety and political culture guarantee this: on church-state issues alone, a vast array of groups exists, each with its particular orientation. For example, consider the following retrieval result, from one recently-developed locus classicus for social trends --
Google Web Directory -- June 5, 2003 -- http://www.google.com
Society > Religion and Spirituality (113,802 entries)
-- among the latter groups,
-- there are US "religious" groups and organizations, now, interested in,
-- something called,
-- other things called,
-- still others interested in,
-- and none of these is without some form of representation, nowadays, in the expansive and ecumenical US... So foreigners or US citizens who wish to understand "US religion", nowadays, need to cast their nets wide.
Then too, within 82,677 Google entries just for "Christianity", nowadays there are 57,099 "Denominations": "Christianity" apparently now includes, or tries to include, groups such as,
-- and, for US history,
-- again, nearly all with at least some US presence...
So the currently-popular myth, and fear, of US Monolithic Christianity seems to be ephemeral: there are a lot of different things going on, really. The tidy notion that US religion is a tidy thing -- in the case of Christianity a single hierarchy, reporting to a single Authority, such that one can speak of "religion" and "church-state" as though there is only one or even just a few religions and churches involved -- needs dismissal at the outset. In the US, there truly are "varieties of religious experience" available, today. Even "Catholicism (25,594)" gets parsed, seemingly endlessly: Google entries exist for things like "Not in Communion With Rome (179)", and "Autocephalous Churches (145)"...
These groups espouse positions on political matters, in the US. Some are highly organized, and disciplined, and united, and have been very persuasive recently on key issues such as abortion, and private schooling, and "stem cell" research. Groups like "The Moral Majority" (dissolved 1989) have played significant roles in recent US elections, and their leaders have run for office with occasional success. Some extremists now pretend even to influence foreign policy, injecting supposedly-"Christian" notions into Middle East policy debates, although fears of such meddling may vastly exceed the reality.
But religion in the US tends to speak in static terms, on political issues. A group may feel strongly about abortion, or the teaching of Creationism or Darwinism in schools. Divorce and Homosexuality have received much attention from US churches. Such opinions commit the groups to fixed political positions, however, institutionally as well as individually.
And religion does not speak with one voice, in the US. Fights among religious sects and denominations have been legion, and they have been bitter. Former-president Jimmy Carter recently resigned from his Southern Baptist Convention, over the Iraq invasion and that organization's support for that war. And arguments among recipients of the new White House "faith-based initiatives" appear to have created great difficulties for those programs -- squabbling over the spoils could do more damage than principled opponents ever could. And Google's search algorithms appear to feel that, currently anyway, the US may contain as many as "113,802" possible candidates for such squabbles, nowadays...
The very practice of stating positions and fighting specific issues creates a problem for any group engaged in formulating public policy. A religious organization "entering the fray" -- by formulating firm positions on topics of current controversy -- risks becoming so associated with current affairs that, when things change, as they always do, they themselves will be relegated to the past along with their no - longer - topical issues. US religious groups face "losing sight of the forest because of the trees", then, regarding "faith-based" and other current political strategies: identification with a current political administration not only subjects them to political control, both direct and insidious, from the politicians and political party currently in power, it also can lead to their being tossed out, along with said party and its politicians, in the next "alternance", the next time the voters go to the "urnes".
Religious groups which think clearly about this may become wary of involvement with "faith-based charity" and other short-term politically-motivated programs. In fact one traditional reason for US church-state separation comes from early religious reformer and founder of Rhode Island state, Roger Williams, who wanted it not to protect the State from religion but to protect religion from the State.
In addition there is the more general problem of taking positions on immediate, worldly, political events at all: just as association with secular society poses one set of dangers, the formulation of static positions poses another. Several religions have survived and performed their work best, historically, precisely because they avoided both. The problem can be seen even in the secular debates about church- state separation: three rigid strategies -- Jefferson's "wall of separation", the Constitution's "neutrality", and now the "advocacy" of these recent faith-based initiatives -- the problem is the statics, of such hard positions, and the great difficulty of building in flexibility to accommodate the inevitability of change.
* Dynamic Process
For, given the immense size and variety and global reach of the current US, change will come, to US "religion" policy as to everything else. When the current president and his political party finally meet their political end, under the US system -- and the system requires a change in the Presidency after two terms at least, in 2008, and this current president's electoral margin having been so slim originally, he always could depart earlier, next year in 2004 -- the question in Washington DC will be, who will be departing with him? When "The tumult and the shouting dies; The captains and the kings depart", will religious groups now so interested in receiving money from the current Administration's "faith-based initiatives" political tactic, also be interested in "departing" along with him, then? In terms of the usual hopes of religious movements, five years, much less one year, is not a very long time...
One way religion and church-state relations in the US might better be viewed is not in terms of current policies and static positions, but in terms of long-term trends and the dynamics of policy. The "place" of religion in the general society, to a view as long-sighted as this, becomes more important than the immediate "role" to be played by it in current affairs:
"... the central question for the Founders had not been religion's role; indeed, most were convinced that Christianity was the surest foundation of a moral society. Rather, they worried about religion's place, deciding in the end that it would flourish more through persuasion... than through government coercion..."
-- rather than sacrifice general standing to specific and perhaps ephemeral issues, then, any institution interested in both its own survival and its ability to perform good works over the long run will look to long-term trends and their dynamics, and to the preservation of a long-term "place" within those.
This has been the usual strategy of the Catholic Church, throughout most of its very long history. Several Protestant sects, too, have ensured their own survival, and the survival of their ability to carry on their work, in spite of continual secular political change. Hinduism and Buddhism likewise have been able to survive political change: not, as their oldest lessons say, by directly resisting the flow, but by moving with it and only occasionally trying, subtly, to influence its direction a bit. The old "river" or better "ocean tide" metaphors are appropriate: politics being among the trends which periodically and inevitably "ebb and flow", and particular politicians and political parties and policies ebbing and flowing with it -- or, "turning and turning in the widening gyre", as Yeats put it. Religion has an established "role", in US Society, but to preserve its "place", doing the good works for which all of us hope from it over the long run, perhaps it would best stay aloof from the changeable and narrow ephemera of Politics and Law.
Conclusion: "Something there is that doesn't love a wall..."
The best result of the current US church-state separation debate might be procedural, then: a realization that dividing lines shift, and that even ground rules change, from time to time. The overall legal and political and social system needs to be flexible, to allow for such periodic shifting and change. Systems which are static break apart, under the strains of controversy. Such systems need to be dynamic, instead, as most of the eminently-flexible US governmental system is. It is that dynamism which has enabled the US system as a whole to survive, for so long, and to prosper.
Libraries can become casualties, of this need for social dynamism, just as churches or entire religions or any other social institutions can. Static political positions, and rigid postures in areas of inevitable political change, can doom them. US libraries appear to realize this: ALA's posture of active partisan engagement on political issues, coupled with careful neutrality in daily library operations, gives them great flexibility. When the inevitable moment of departure arrives, for the "captains and kings" currently in political power in the US, the libraries will survive -- not so, perhaps, various churches which now busily are linking their political stars to "faith-based" and other recent political strategies.
This dynamism process is most easily seen from an "outside view", of law, politics, and society as a series of concentric spheres, one within the other: Society, the largest, covering the greatest ground, and including Politics and Law and much more within it, and definitely including religion -- Politics within that, governed more narrowly by rules requiring rationality, not faith, to avoid bias and religious persecution -- and only last and finally Law, a mere subset of Politics, where only the most narrow rules are allowed to operate, creating a minimal legal structure least threatening to the conduct of daily life.
If Law creates "walls" and leaves out religion, then, or simply ducks its issues, the larger sphere of Politics can debate some at least of the tenets of religion, just as politicians endlessly debate everything else, and finally the broadest category Society has, as it always has had, much that is religious in it. But we need all three -- Society, Politics, and the Law, and each in its own sphere -- for getting along with one another. It is a practical approach: not ideal but pragmatic, as the lawyers say, "In law school everything gets classified. Religion becomes a category, and categories are easy to manipulate".
So, for example, is the US a "Christian Nation"? Has it been? Amid the emotive US religious controversies of recent years, such questions have been thought to pose "ultimate" problems. If these are viewed instead as having been just a mixup, among procedural issues involving spheres of Society and Politics and Law, it appears there is plenty of substantive room available for religion, in fact. It is just that the Law is not and cannot be concerned with religion, but only, as Robert Bolt's Thomas More suggested, with more mundane and minimal things; and Politics can try grappling with religion, as with anything else which citizens in a democratic society suggest, although not at the expense of the minimal rules of Law, which even in Politics we need to observe in order to get along; and Society of course is in large part religious, as it is so many other things -- always has been, and probably always will be.
And US Society offers a perfectly good example of this last: a religious Society, if not necessarily a religious Politics or Legal system. Even Jefferson, the Deistic and perhaps even Atheistic Founder according to some, thought it necessary in 1776 to include in his Declaration, after his famous, "We hold these truths to be self-evident", the words, "endowed by their Creator" -- whether Jefferson himself meant that last word literally we perhaps never will know, and whether it was a reference to the Christian god or to that of some other religion, has been and will continue to be debated in all its minutiae by historians. It does seem unquestionable that most US citizens were Christians back then, and have been since: the pervasive and persistent appeal of Christian myth and imagery in US culture -- from Creationism to the Star Wars movies -- certainly belies any pretension that the US has not been and still is not somewhat "Christian", in some sense. It is this precise "sense", however, which is at issue: US Society contains more than just Christians, and US Politics contains more than just religion, and US Law simply is concerned with other things. So, leave religion and its complexities to the broad Social sphere, then, as much for its own protection against interference from the State, and from the lawyers, as for any other reason -- this seems to have been the most consistent strand, over the several centuries now of US thinking in church- state relations.
Ultimately the greatest practical guarantee that this dynamic will continue -- that the US never will become so static as to "establish" or even simply to favor, either one or even several religions -- is that the faith-based continue to indulge in the natural human tendency to fight among themselves. Competition for funds from the new White House "faith-based charities" is fierce, and sniping by one group against another can be ferocious. From Mormons, who follow a Christianity considered suspect by others, to "Wiccans", who believe in witchery, to even more extreme groups, the numbers of those in the enormous and varied modern US who might scramble for inclusion, under any new non-preferential "accommodationist" government policy toward religion, have become too great, and their own hue and cry against each other too ferocious. An effective united front in the sphere of US religion seems unlikely.
Even if it were to occur, however, there still would be a need for "walls". Dividing lines, and distinctions, make government possible. Without them, decision-making in individual cases is just too difficult. Politics, and Law -- and libraries -- need classifications, jurisdictions, rules, regulations. This is why they have avoided the vaguely-defined and overlapping distinctions of religious conflicts. It is difficult enough to tell whether a loaf of bread was stolen, in a case, without trying to focus the crude tools of rationality upon issues such as "The Immaculate Conception", or "The Unity of the Trinity".
"Religion could be ignored by the Constitution, but it could not be removed from politics", but, "[The Founders] believed that religious liberty, not religious regulation, was the more effective bond in a pluralistic society". The US is as pluralistic now as it was back when these Founders shelved the thorny questions of the church-state relationship, by building their "wall of separation". The US since has grown, and the varieties and eccentricities of its population have grown, as well. Even more, then, the need nowadays for distinctions and separations: otherwise how are these varieties and eccentricities, which in large part make the US so successful, to be protected from pressures for conformity, and uniformity, exerted by a centralized State? The trick is to provide legal "walls of separation" but coupled with a social dynamism, one which can change with the times and needs of the US and its people. New dangers of terrorism may create some new challenges, now, but so do other issues such as Immigration, Ageing, Globalization: sacrificing the rest to meet just one challenge throws away too much -- multiple goals must be realized, simultaneously, the world being too complex a place for static answers and simple solutions.
So we need some "walls" -- now more than ever before, perhaps. Jefferson's wisdom here may be nothing more than procedural. Perhaps Jefferson wanted his "wall" to keep Religion out of Government, and perhaps Roger Williams wanted his to keep Government out of Religion. Both are needed. Jefferson's turn with language was extraordinary -- his ability to state complex issues simply and clearly is nearly unparalleled, in writings on political subjects -- yet there was one US writer who said all this even better:
Something there is that doesn't love a wall...
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go...
He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
-- Robert Frost, Mending Wall
: Jefferson Letter to the Danbury Baptist Assoc. (1802) -- http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html
: White House Office of Faith-Based [etc.] Initiatives -- http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/fbci/
: Francis Delperée, Louis-Léon Christians, Frans Vanistendael, Wim Moessen, "Les aspects constitutionnels, budgétaires et fiscaux du financement public des cultes. Perspectives belge et comparées" Annales de Droit de Louvain, vol. 612, 2001, n° 4, p.445. [tr. JK]
: The Early History of Harvard University -- http://www.news.harvard.edu/guide/intro/index.html
: College of William & Mary -- http://www.wm.edu/administration/Chancellor/duties.php
: Theatre and Anti-Theatre in the 18th Century, An Exhibition at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library -- http://www.library.yale.edu/beinecke/18c.htm
: John Harvard of Stratford-upon-Avon -- http://www.stratford-upon-avon.co.uk/soaharv.htm
: "Beinecke display explores how Yale's library has evolved over the centuries" Yale Bulletin & Calendar (October 5, 2001) v.30 n.5 -- http://www.yale.edu/opa/v30.n5/story3.html
: A Brief History of the Library Company of Philadelphia -- http://www.librarycompany.org/instance.htm -- [tr. JK].
: See Justice David Souter's erudite dissent, in the "US v. ALA" Supreme Court decision just released, which, very sadly, now permits Internet censorship in the US: inter alia Souter describes the historical evolution of US library attitudes from earlier "freedom of choice was apparently not within the inspiration for the mid-19th century development of public libraries" situations -- and "'moral censorship' of reading material" assumptions -- to modern "the librarian's authority as moral arbiter [is] coming into question" attitudes. Nowadays, Souter believes, quoting an ALA president, "'The true public library must stand for the intellectual freedom of access to the printed word'". cit. n. , infra.
: Although, as Frank Lambert wisely points out, "The Bible [is] ambiguous, and even contradictory in its admonitions. For example, exactly what should Christians 'render unto Caesar', and what should they 'render unto God'?" Frank Lambert, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America (Princeton, 2003) p. 24 ; see my review of this excellent new book, online at, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0691088292/qid=1054570063/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/104- 1504965-9255921
: John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters (U. North Carolina, 1959) v. 2, p. 339; cit. in Lambert op. cit. supra n. , p. 219, [tr. JK].
: Jonathan Haslam, No virtue like necessity : realist thought in international relations since Machiavelli (Yale, c2002); Philip Bobbitt, The Shield of Achilles : war, peace, and the course of history (Knopf, 2002).
: The Scopes "Monkey Trial" -- http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/inherit/1925home.html
: So-called for the famous schoolboy taunt against any believer in Darwin, "Your old man's a monkey!"
: Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, Inherit the Wind (Random House, 1955).
: Arthur Miller, The Crucible, a play in four acts (Viking Press, 1953).
: Don Lattin "Scandal affecting church's credibility: Sex abuse detracts from other issues" San Francisco Chronicle (June 16, 2003) p. A-1 -- http://www.sfgate.com/cgi- bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/06/16/MN264906.DTL; see also inter alia Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe, Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church (Back Bay Books, 2003); Donald B. Cozzens, Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church (Liturgical Press, 2002); Jason Berry and Andrew M. Greeley, Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children (U. Illinois Press, 2000); Garry Wills, Why I Am a Catholic (Houghton Mifflin, 2002) (Mariner Books, 2003).
: Address of Senator John F. Kennedy to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association -- Houston, Texas, September 12, 1960 -- http://www.cs.umb.edu/jfklibrary/j091260.htm
: No. 02-1574 United States v. Newdow, pending, appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, April 30, 2003 -- http://www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/docket.html
: Alexis de Tocqueville, De la Démocratie en Amérique (Flammarion, c1981) v. 1, 2ème partie, ch. IX, p. 401- 402 [tr. JK]; cit. in Leonard Levy, The Establishment Clause : Religion and the First Amendment (U. North Carolina, c1994) 2d ed. revised, p. 246 fn. 41.
: A. James Reichley, Faith in Politics (Brookings Institution Press, c2002) p. 1, 8-9.
: William James, The varieties of religious experience : a study in human nature, being the Gifford lectures on natural religion delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902 (New York : Longmans, Green, 1902).
: The Dewey Decimal Classification -- http://www.oclc.org/dewey/
: Epperson v. State of Arkansas 393 US 97, 89 S.Ct. 266, 21 L.Ed.2d 228 (1968), McLean v. Arkansas Bd. of Ed. 529 F.Supp. 1255 (E.D. Ark. 1982), plus many law cases before and since; also Inherit the Wind, op. cit. supra n. ; and i.e. http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/9b6/9b6030.html -- among many others...
: Thoreau, Civil Disobedience -- http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Literature/Thoreau/CivilDisobedience.html
: Lynch v. Donnelly 465 US 668, 104 SCt 1355, 79 LEd2d 604 (1984).
: US v. Newdow -- cit. supra n. .
: Levy op. cit. supra n. , p. 123, 154, 208, 217, 241.
: Levy op. cit. supra n. , p. xiv.
: Marsh v. Chambers 463 US 783, 103 SCt 3330, 77 LEd2d 1019 (1983) ; cf. Levy op. cit. supra n. , p. 120.
: Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 17 "Religion" -- http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/jefferson/
: cf. Christopher D. Stone, Should trees have standing? Toward legal rights for natural objects (Los Altos, California : W. Kaufmann, ).
: Umberto Eco, De bibliotheca (Caen : Echoppe, c1986).
: No. 02-361 United States, et al., Appellants v. American Library Association, Inc., et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, September 6, 2002 539 US __ (2003), decided against the library association on June 23, 2003, so per this article's discussion the Legal arena now is exhausted, on this vital censorship issue -- now the recourse which anyone has is to the broader Political arena, working for the election of a different Congress, one which hopefully will pass anti-censorship laws -- http://www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/docket.html;
* see also Jack Kessler, "'Tout a changé...' : le filtrage des informations et la censure, une actualité dans les nouveaux Etats-Unis d'Amérique" Bulletin des bibliothèques de France t. 47 n. 2 2002, pp. 12-20 (in l'américain as, "'Everything has changed...': information filters and censorship, in the 'new' USA" -- http://www.fyifrance.com/f102001.htm);
* see also Jack Kessler, "'Tout a changé...' : a reply to François Lapelerie" Bulletin des bibliothèques de France t. 47 n. 6 2002, p. 112 (in l'américain as, "'Everything has not changed...' : a reply to François Lapelerie" -- http://www.fyifrance.com/f102002a.htm);
* see also Jack Kessler, "La Censure et les enfants, dans les 'nouveaux' Etats-Unis d'Amérique" La Revue des livres pour enfants No. 208 (December, 2002) pp. 119-128 (in l'américain as, "Censorship and Children, in the 'new' US of A" -- http://www.fyifrance.com/f102002c.htm).
: ALA's main website -- http://www.ala.org/ -- and ALA civil liberties resources related specifically to religion and censorship include:
* Issues and Advocacy --
* Intellectual Freedom / Censorship --
* Library Bill of Rights --
* Freedom to Read Statement --
*Freedom to View Statement --
: Among many examples see, ALA Intellectual Freedom Manual (ALA, 2002) 6th ed. ISBN: 0-8389-3519-2 -- http://www.ala.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Our_Association/Offices/Intellectual_Freedom3/Intell ectual_Freedom_Toolkits/Intellectual_Freedom_Manual/Intellectual_Freedom_Manual.htm
: ALA Banned Books Week -- http://www.ala.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Our_Association/Offices/Intellectual_Freedom3/Bann ed_Books_Week/Banned_Books_Week.htm
: ALA Banned Books Week, The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–20001 -- http://www.ala.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Our_Association/Offices/Intellectual_Freedom3/Bann ed_Books_Week/Related_Links7/100_Most_Frequently_Challenged_Books_of_1990-2000.htm
: ALA Banned Books Week -- http://www.ala.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Our_Association/Offices/Intellectual_Freedom3/Bann ed_Books_Week/Banned_Books_Week.htm
: The famous saying is apocryphal: attributed to many, including T. Jefferson and T. Paine and E. Burke, all of whom were close but not exact -- one W. Phillips came closest -- http://freedomkeys.com/vigil.htm
: Cicero De Republica, Book 1, Section 39 -- http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/cicero/repub1.shtml [tr. JK]
: "Who presupposes the basic norm?... whoever interprets the subjective meaning of the constitution-creating act... This interpretation is a cognitive function... " Hans Kelsen, The Pure Theory of Law (U. of California, 1967) p. 204, n. 72.
: Comparative statistics which follow, here, with the exception of that for total US population, are from the CIA's World Factbook 2002 -- http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook
: U.S. Census Bureau -- http://www.census.gov/
: See Saskia Sassen, Guests and aliens (New Press & W.W. Norton, c1999) ISBN 1565844815.
: U.S. National Center for Health Statistics -- http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/natality/mage33tr.pdf
: The Columbia Encyclopedia, "Moral Majority" -- http://www.bartleby.com/65/e-/E-MoralMajo.html
: Welcome To The Official Pat Buchanan For President 2000 Archive -- http://www.buchanan.org/
: A remarkable recent piece, as confusing to US Americans as it will be to anyone else: "End Times: NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports that some Christian Zionists believe the fulfillment of biblical prophecy is being threatened by the Bush administration's road map for peace in the Middle East." -- alarming, although to the point of hilarity -- http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.jhtml?prgId=3&prgDate=June/12/2003
: Jimmy Carter, "Just War -- Or A Just War?" The New York Times, March 9, 2003 -- http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/03.03/0310carter_justwar.htm -- http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20A1EFF3A5B0C7A8CDDAA0894DB404482
: "Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations Expresses Concern Over Bush's 'Faith-Based Initiatives" (Washington, DC, January 30, 2001) -- http://www.uua.org/news/faithbased/; Pat Robertson "Faith-Based Initiatives Pose Some Problems" (The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., ©2003) -- http://www.patrobertson.com/NewsCommentary/FaithBasedInitiatives.asp
: Williams declared, in the 17th century, "The civil state of the nations, being merely and essentially civil, cannot (Christianly) be called Christian States"; "Williams differentiated between spiritual and civil power... the state or 'civil sword' has no right or power to 'act either in restraining the souls of people from worship, etc., or in constraining them to worship.'" Frank Lambert summarizes the views, a century later, of the US Founders, who knew Williams' writings well: "By creating a secular state and regarding religion as a natural right beyond the state's jurisdiction, the Founders opted for persuasion rather than coercion". Lambert op. cit. supra n. , p. 287.
: Rudyard Kipling, Recessional -- http://www.bartleby.com/101/867.html
: Lambert op. cit. supra n. , p. 205-206.
: W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming -- http://www.well.com/user/eob/poetry/The_Second_Coming.html
: This from a law professor and leading authority on the US law of religion, who also is a practicing judge: he judiciously warns that there is more to religion than just the minimum which the Law sees of it -- J.T.Noonan, Religious Freedom (Foundation Press, 2001) p. xii.
: A category mistake: "A foreigner visiting Oxford or Cambridge for the first time is shown a number of colleges, libraries, playing fields, museums, scientific departments and administrative offices. He then asks 'But where is the University?'..." Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind (Barnes & Noble, 1967, c1949) p. 16.
"Roper: The law's your god!"
"More: Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... But I find him rather too subtle... I don't know where He is or what He wants."
-- Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons : a play in two acts (Random House, 1962).
: Lambert op. cit. supra n. , p. 266, p. 206.
: tr. Maurice Le Breton, in Roger Assilineau, Robert Frost (Eds. Pierre Seghers, c1964) p. 83. In l'américain: Robert Frost, Mending Wall -- http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/frost-mending.html
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