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Equal Separation by Weber

EQUAL SEPARATION: UNDERSTANDING THE RELIGION CLAUSES OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT. Edited by Paul J. Weber. Contributions in Legal Studies, Number 58. New York, London and Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1990. Pp. xiii + 180. $39.95.

An amazingly interactive discussion between representative theorists of first admendment hermeneutics. Weber begins the conference with a defense of the "strict neutrality" theory (now termed "equal-separation"). Dean Kelley responds to Weber with a defense of the free exercise of religion. James Dunn criticizes strict neutrality on the ground that it undermines the establishment clause. Steve Monsma defends a pluralist (accommodation) model. William Marty addresses the problem of public and religious education in a pluralist society. Weber responds to each author, and the collection concludes with an historical survey by Robert Healey that overviews the development of "separation" language. For anyone interested in the contemporary debate surrounding the constitutional separation of church and state, this is a good place to start. An extensive bibliography is provided.


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