THE SECULAR STATE AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SECULAR IDEOLOGY IN LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY
Author(s)Anna Smith Iltis
Principles of Morality
Separation of Church and State
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AbstractSince the 1950s, United States Supreme Court holdings have transformed the United States from a polity in which there was a soft establishment of Christianity to a polity in which there is now the establishment of a strong laicism. This essay begins with a brief review of some of the steps through which this transformation occurred in the United States through Supreme Court decisions beginning in the late 1940s. This paper demonstrates that the United States have moved beyond a separation of church and state to an established secular state that establishes policies and laws that are hostile to religious commitments. Such a state is not neutral with respect to religion. This paper demonstrates the extent to which the attempt to be neutral with respect to religion has led to non-neutral policies that privilege ways of life and conceptions of the good that reject religion.