Sunday, March 20, 2011

Master's thesis; Spring 2000


Some Historical Background for the Separation of Church and State
The Interplay of Politics and Religion in Early Modern Republican Thought

By William Tharon Chandler; Spring 2000

The concept or thought of the terms "religion" and "politics", used simultaneously in a sentence, brings an image to the mind of the average, modern, American citizen. The typical reader might associate this thought with the political "right" in our modern politics and media, of which the "right" in our spectrum, or so a proportion or group of persons so inclined, often are categorically referred to as "Republicans". This can be contrasted to our political left, of which a majority or minority party, as the case may be, are known as "Democrats". Our modern mode of government, often referred to as a democracy, is a representative democracy or in definition a republic. This is one factor to now be clarified. Whether one considers themselves a republican by party or a democrat; or they are supporting the green party or libertarian; or they care not for politics or don't like any of the candidates; the form of our government as it is studied is a republic. One may live in a republic without necessarily being a member of the republican party. One usage of the word is a noun, as in country. The other use is an adjective, like a descriptive term. Democracy, as de Toquevill was supposedly in search of, in its fullest form is associated with populism, or is a style of government too radical for conservative America, perhaps too radical for optimum economic efficiency. Perhaps unknown or escaped of awareness by the masses, our government, the study or history of our government in the evolution of its formation, must be referred to within this paradigm of thought concepts or specific treatment of language. This republicanism could be contrasted with a more modern concept of "Federalism" yet for the pertinence of the material may best be compared to monarchy, the form of government most often pre-ceding a republic or that the republican form of government successfully replaces, as in the overcoming of tyrannical rule. Part of the process is the inherent need of justification for overthrowing the "ancient regime" often associated with the divine right or inspiration of kings; in favor of a popular and equitable state of civil existence. To make this justification or seek out an optimum mode of jurisdiction, the literature refers to the concepts so flavored of the republican topic, those of virtue and fortune, reason and passion, liberty, law, property, etc.

Whatever the concept means to a given individual, this concept of religion and politics, the effect which each of the institutions can have upon the other or the way these exist together, within the concept or history of republican thought, makes for an interesting study. My thesis here maintains that the history of government can not be studied without also studying the history of religion. Specifically, and as a Caucasian man, my point is that the Western or Atlantic Government can not be studied without studying the historical effect of Christianity upon its own institution and upon that government. Though we have elected to have some legal separation of church and state here, as in the American constitutional framework of the late 1700's, (even though I believe my instructor insists that 12 of 13 colonies had a state church which was positively dominant) I hope we don't have ignorance of the history and effects of how these are connected and the fashion or spirit in which they should be perceived separated. At some point we arrived at the realization of separation of church and state, having to do with increasing numbers of diverse peoples to necessarily be included in our government. Due to the sincerity with which men regard religious belief, and inherently necessary disdain for giving up truths or beliefs learned from each one’s own ancestors, the evolution of this separation and toleration has been slow and marked by upheaval. It was and perhaps is a most vital concept.

Truly I can tell you the process of writing this paper has evolved a lot during the course of progress, as the sources have been utilized. It has seemed to become obvious that the most important or interesting or relevant portion of this paper pertains to the American Founding Era (1730-1805). There seems to be much material about it and some controversy. One overwhelming or enticing tendency has been to compare the history to the present, and obviously the history of religious worship and the history of government has much to do with what and how we do and think in the present, yet in attempts to "stick to the assignment" and provide tighter focus for what I wish to relate to you, I will narrow the focus to specific time periods in history, and I will endeavor to limit the thought to certain groups or "characters" of people's, within a certain framework or paradigm. The "thesis" of this work then is that: "in the history of early modern republican thought, the concept of religion has undergone an evolutionary separation from the concept of government".

The concept of politics and the concept of religion, can each offer one the "Truth" as best as it can be had. Yet for one strain of thought, that of religion, that truth is spiritual or between a man and God, and with likeminded worshipers in the case of reciprocal choosing. The truth of government, which can be called politics as in the procurement and / or manifestation of said government, has to do with history of political thought, the conservative and dynamic forces of money, and the counting of voter ballots. In the past these two concepts or truths, these of politics and religion, were positively intertwined yet by popular demand have become separated. There is still controversy over concessions yet wisdom goes with maintenance of fundamental separation. If this thesis is yet large then let it be large, as it will certainly not be as "in depth", nor broad nor narrow as it could possibly be, within acceptable parameters of scholarly work.

The sources or historical literature on this thought is vast, and as is studied by historians, occurring at a point in time removed from the actual time of the writing. History is studied in "hindsight". That is certain but what cannot be held certain is one specific interpretation. There may be as many interpretations of history as there are historians. Yet there are facts deemed accurate, certain terms and concepts inherent to the field, and there are scholarly and expert sources. The accuracy of the sources, and to some the skill of the historical field language that they use, give them their credibility. The sources prescribed by the course, as the inspiration for this paper, are certainly experts in the field. Yet there is no shortage and there is much congruence across the literature, about this material, among the universal and private publications. As I "wrestled" with the thought of exactly what I wanted to do with this paper, as it pertains to the class, I came upon one source which offered "Ten Theses", if you will. The idea was framed as one of the concluding chapters and began as follows: "AT THE CONCLUSION OF THIS STUDY I offer the following ten theses, which, I believe, find reasonable support in this volume.

(1)Probably ever since the institutions of religion and of secular powers were recognized as separate and distinct in human history, the two forces have competed for
and struggled over human destiny. In this struggle the church has sought to dominate the state and use it as an engine for its purposes.
(2) During temporary periods of history and in scattered areas, the church has dominated the state; but overwhelmingly in time and place, state has dominated church and used it for its own purposes.
(3) Before the launching of the American experiment, the concept of religious liberty and the separation of church and state was- for all practical purposes- unknown. The experiment embodied in the majestic words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," was a uniquely American contribution to civilization, and one that the other countries of the world in increasing numbers have emulated and are continuing to emulate. * Please see my note beyond this listing.
(4) The principle of separation and freedom was conceived as a unitary principle. Notwithstanding occasional instances of apparent conflict, separation guarantees freedom, and freedom requires separation. The experiences in other countries indicate clearly that religious freedom is most secure where church and state are separated, and least secure where church and state are united.
(5) The principle of separation and freedom was conceived to be as absolute as possible within the limitation of human communal society. Only where they were unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security or welfare of the community were infringements on religious freedom to be justifiable, and only to the smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger. Likewise the separation aspect was conceived to be as absolute as could be achieved, predicated as it was on the concept that religion is outside the jurisdiction of government.
(6) When the constitutional fathers and the generation that adopted the constitution formalized the concept in the first amendment, they thereby imposed- and intended to impose- on future generations of Americans in church and state a great moral obligation to preserve their experiment and adhere strictly to the principle they expressed.
They were fully familiar with the religious wars, the persecutions, and all other evils that had inevitably accompanied unions of church and state, and sought forever to keep those evils from our shores.
(7) Since man is imperfect, and does not lose all his imperfection when he enters the service of the church or state, there have been deviations. Religious freedom has on occasions been interfered with, and the separation of church and state has on occasions been impaired. These impairments have incorrectly been urged as evidence that it was not the intent of the framers of the First Amendment that the principle be absolute and the separation complete.
(8) These impairments of the principle of absolute separation has inevitably brought with them, in greater or lesser degree, the very evils that the constitutional fathers sought to keep from the new republic; particularly when the impairments have occurred in the area of public education have the evils of interreligious disharmony and oppression been manifest.
(9) Nevertheless the American people have by and large been faithful to the obligation placed on them by the framers of the First Amendment; church and state have been kept separate, and religious freedom has been preserved. The people have willingly kept faith; whenever an opportunity has presented itself to obtain an expression of the voice of the people, that voice has clearly been expressed on the side of absolute separation and freedom.
(10) Under this system of the separation of church and state and religious freedom, religion has achieved in the United States a high estate unequalled anywhere else in the world. History has justified the great experiment, and has proved the proposition on which it was based - that complete separation of church and state is best for church and best for state, and secures freedom for both. "
Now, these theses make for a good summary of about half of the material for my paper, that in chronology being the period 1600 to modernity. The author, Pfeffer, is obviously a true patriot or very nostalgic about the founding of our country. As for my boldface notation posted in theses #3, it is because here I believe the author erroneously discounts the previous thought about this concept. The framers of the U.S. constitution
did not single handedly manifest the reality of a free conscience. Men always had a free conscience, it is their voice that at times has been muffled; their liberty to act upon their convictions curtailed. The entire reformation and counter reformation has to do with
religious unrest or dissatisfaction. There has been a various degree of religious liberty, denoted by the works we have from and about 16th century Netherlands, etc. and 17th century England, etc., and for the matter, there is still some bearing upon the reality of one's political existence, according to the choices that one makes about religion and worship. We have the greatest or most qualified degree of freedom or separation, modernly in this country, but the idea had been evolving all along, and was partially, at various places, previously realized. This will be developed in the material which follows.
I will not try to act like an old pro but shall write in a personal tone, as an attempt to befriend the reader. As I write to you about my study of it I will write about the method I shall go about composing a paper to do with it, and more about the sources I refer.
This paper is to partially fulfill requirements for a university, graduate, history class; a class known of as "Seminar on Topics in Premodern Europe". The course as it has been focused has much to do with historical politics and religion. As a subtitle or label for the syllabus page of the course, it is denoted "Republicanism: Revolts, Revolutions, Rights and Republics". The course has somewhat of a time span, focussing on Livy, a Roman whom lived near the time of Christ. It touches on points of history between these times, but seems to jump to the renaissance era via Machiavelli, another Italian whom expounds upon Livy and the concept of Republicanism. This development of the concept or paradigm of "Republicanism" is then applied to the problems of the Dutch provinces and their successive revolts against the Spanish Monarchy. A case study develops to see how and if the republican form of government can be applied to the English government of the British Isles. The course then follows a logical procession to the colonial era and the founding of our country, in what is sometimes referred to as an Atlantic, republican tradition. The instructor is keen on this concept of "Republic", which in name is the style of our own modern government, that of a "representative
democracy". Yet he is not primarily concerned with the concept in that fashion but in the essence, form, concepts or paradigm of the concept. Somewhat of a good definition or elaboration of the topic (republic or republicanism) has been offered or quite developed within the required material for the class. In J.G.A. Pococks The Machiavellian Moment, the author and probably most renowned expert on Machiavellian Republicanism, phrases, "Mavhiavelli’s thought can now be related to Savonarolan tradition, and at this point the notion of civic virtue takes on added depths of meaning. It was this virtue, as it was the end of man to be a political animal; the polity was the form in which human matter developed its proper virtue, and it was the function of virtue to impose form on the matter of fortuna. The republic or polity was in yet another sense a structure of virtue: it was a structure in which every citizens ability to place the common good before his own was the precondition of every others, so that every mans virtue saved every others from that corruption part of whose time-dimension was fortuna. The republic was therefore a structure whose organizing principle was something far more complex and positive than custom." Here, I believe, can be found the good of mankind, and can be seen why, (under the inspiration of the good lord) that the best part of mankind is a rotating representative government. The quotation, which is by Pocock on Machiavelli on Savonarola, I believe, points to the development of each individual, or political identity in a naturally political society, and the care that the group would take for each; as the inherent dangers of corruption, which arise from the fortune of virtue, can be checked by the good of all in care of each. This is at the core of these concepts I wish to develop, that the history of the church and that of the crown so to speak, occur within the concept of the government or political arena, where the concerns pertain to the utmost ideals of prime concerns, those of the procurement and protection of property, so that each can be a member of a civilized society. To me the best set for procurement and protection of property is the facilitation of an optimum economy and then the fostering of opportunity; which means leadership based upon virtue, fortune, polity, liberty, and placing esteem for the common good above concern for one's self. What the history of the Church or churches and the history of government, politics, and "laws" represent to me is a history of the common people's or masses attempting to be better off or better
themselves, or somehow loosen or lighten the yoke of oppression… So as to balance my statements thus far or to try and not sound too liberal about this particular part of the concepts, there are ties between the reality of rule and the right to rule, and in such jurisdiction are concepts known such as "Devine right" of which I place some stock. I say this to say that just as there have historically been a lot of people who appear to have at times felt "misruled", the history also included someone or the groups who made up or consisted of the "rulers" whom accounted themselves responsible to God, and I'm sure felt or did the best they would with the situation as it was , and felt themselves a champion of the people, even from a position of monarchy or acute oligarchy.
As for this concept of "the common good", this is a gallant and dependant concept to which I was naturally endowed, living my life quite selflessly with some concern for becoming well qualified, at expense to myself, with the intent of teaching high school in a socio-economically deprived, or culturally improvisational arena. Dreams do become modified and sometimes even change, but let me say that this is not a paper about me, and that I try not to take myself too seriously. I do take the concept of career and human needs seriously, and since I have found myself in situation for my analysis about it, I would frankly contend that if everyone were as selfless or most concerned for the common good as I, the standard of living would be better for all. This is my natural position, never having been a selfish man, and likely I will at some time defend my pertinent viewpoints. The question about consideration for the common good lies ultimately with the beholder, as ultimately each man must fend for himself, perhaps as a member of a likewise group, to meet his needs. Saying that yourself is most concerned for the common good is like saying that yourself is an excellent friend; the final analysis or evaluation will not be in oneself but determined by the person or group supposedly befriended. Let me say, about other persons and society, that even though I have seen deprivation not for myself but in unfortunate peoples, I have seen much kindness. I have at times received or witnessed much kindness and social human enjoyment that the Lord was surely present. Having said that, and beginning to write a paper about politics and religion, let me say "in the quest of a republic, in a republic."
My writing about the concepts will obviously be with due consideration for the fact that the optimum goal for the historical peoples written about, or a majority of the "citizens", were in their actions duly preoccupied with concern for the common good, or with concern for good government, as in a republic. It will take some skill and genuine compassion to be a leader in the near future, as merely being selfish and representing "special" interest is out of style. Yet this study is not of modern history. The time to speak of will include some information from what is sometimes referred to as the "classical" period or that of the early Roman times, as related to the works of Titus Livy. Livy is later expounded upon by Mr. Machiavelli, a Florentine, whom we know was living in the "renaissance" era or @ the 1500's. I will pause perhaps upon some European information, perhaps from the 11th, 13th, and 15th centuries and then will likely be focused on the time period of 1500 to 1800, with some emphasis on the period encompassing the writing and advocation or ratification of the United States Constitution.
I will allude or compare to the present, or modern history, minimally and with purpose of
relevance. I had planned and began to use somewhat of a chronological approach yet will introduce and expound upon the material in the most logical organization as comes to me. I must, as I have, use some introductory reflections to set the stage for what I am trying to discover or prove for myself, in attempts to share it with a reader of my writing. As I write I invite you the reader; we will explore the material together.
As I have already introduced an interesting source or two I will tell you that the materials are there for doing some excellent work, or making a good report of and about the sources. I have found such good sources, so rich in what I decided to focus upon for the paper, that it is unlikely that I give the undertaking proper justice.
Justice is a big word as we are referring to laws or law within these systems of politics and religion. Law is primarily what is to be considered if considering historical politics, or the way that government has generally become less centralized and less autocratic, as in liberty to the people. Perhaps it is the contention of this paper that a history of western politics can not be considered without the consideration of the history of religion, or Christianity as it is for the geographic and philosophic area of our study, as the concept of separation must be explored, as was evolving in the American (English)
colonies, which in the proper context may be compared to the present… One big question, as offered for a topical choice to be written upon by students at this University, in a course denoted Western or World Civilization, is whether religion was created by the elite to effectively control the masses. Particularly the question asks students of a class, History 191-01, World Civilizations to 1500, to write a 300 to 500 word essay on one of the following topics 1. "Religion was created as a means to achieve political ends by the elite." or 2. To what extent can one argue that the dichotomy between the literate and illiterate that emerged in early civilizations was necessary for progress ?… "Give examples from the River Valley civilizations to illustrate your argument"". These are each an interesting question and perhaps appropriately posed to students but the answer should have to give credit to the sensibilities of human beings and their evolutionary development. The questions and the answer to either of them must have some to do with the education or literacy level of the subjects considered, yet realistically each question
could most properly or accurately be answered by considering the local economy of that time, as related to the political aspect of the local religion. The first assigned question above leads the student to a theory of religious tyranny, the second begs to indoctrinate either the value of compulsory education or the value to the elite of maintaining political illiteracy among the poor. The questions seem to be omnipotent in their relevance to the ancient past and contemporary present, even if some educators may downplay on one hand or overemphasize on the other, some tenet of these considerations. Likely the questions refer to the "Tigris and Euphrates" or the Nile River Valley. In the case of the history of the Mississippi River Valley, the answer would have depended on whether you were fighting for the North or the South, and the color of your skin, as to your opinion about the necessity of the dichotomy. Though there are some persons quite ignorant or somehow inclined to show their ignorance, the idea of the form of the human brain or the concept of the mind or thinking capacity can not have changed that much over four hundred years, nor could there be much divergence or difference across races of Homo Sapiens-Sapiens. Most people have enough common sense to know what they need and to know what they believe, hence the concepts of moderation and toleration, i.e. freedom
of conscience . That must be just as true for persons living in 1492 as it is for people today.
My best explanation, of the "big picture" is that people love God because he exists, created us, and is benevolent. But he necessarily leaves us with questions or less knowledge than he has. It is like a great gift which ensues from his compassion, yet to give us as much as he would, he gives us the facility of choosing. People do well to believe in god and they want to, yet the matter is made more confusing upon a closer examination of the focus, or the way we worship, due to the human element. One can find it obvious and may somewhat logically argue that there is a benevolent god. Yet it is upon the defining of that god which makes for division among peoples; and this division can and has been conveniently used to enforce economic division. This may lead to opulence for one group as it leads to downtroddenness for others, and the conditions under which one is born are inherently, naturally challenging to lose or overcome as the case may be. Surely the most benevolent religions and the one’s most closely following the teachings of Jesus Christ, as in the King James version of the Holy Bible, are those that are the most inclusive or tolerant. This is some background for the religion concept; now for more of the law. Some persons seem to be more greedy and more or less needy than others; some are supposedly more lazy, and as we supposedly have only limited resources, we adhere to observe laws. I use the word observe rather than the term "make", as in laws, because the laws are already there naturally. We merely pronounce language about them. This can be demonstrated by considering the Law of supply and demand. We, as a general rule about the total of all persons or any particular economy, have unlimited wants but only limited resources, so the resulting balance can be described as a "natural" law of supply and demand (Adam Smith). Of course this may be considered differently than "statute" laws or enforced laws that arise from precedent, such as the crime of stealing and a conviction and punishment which could result, yet truly they are the same or the one stems from the other. Stealing or killing and the laws observed for dealing with it are a subset of needs, wants, resources and the
natural way men can strive to meet them. One counter argument to this, and there may be more than one here, is that there are some persons flawed to be bad, naturally born inferior and with tendency to evil or wrong, and that it is the "duty" of those "good" or morally correct persons to provide some semblance of justice, or the procurement of punishment and / or incarceration, and / or contractual disqualification, and / or social disinclusion for the perpetrators. Rehabilitation may be possible and is a different concept.
Consider the following statement: "it is right to treat the growth of political ideas as a branch of ecclesiastical history". If that sounds rash or unfounded, the point is that a source at name of John N. Figgis writes this pertaining to the late medieval period. This
was said to say that early politics was much grounded in the religious setting. This seems quite believable but the amount of stock to be vested in the statement could depend upon who Mr. Figgis is and what makes his opinion qualified. Perhaps he was a registered voter or citizen but I will tell you about the writer by whom he is mentioned. John D. Eusden, has published a book that is quite a work of the art. Impressively, the book is published at New Haven by the Yale University Press, in 1958. Eusden, an assistant professor of religion at Yale, wrote his Puritans, Lawyers, and Politics, "out of the author's interest in the relationship of religion and law". It is a 239 page book of information, originally submitted as English Puritan and Common Law Concepts of Political Authority, 1603 - 30. I deem the account as accurate as we can have to study, and I find the content or subject matter to be as positively interesting as any book but for one. The question posed by Figgis introduces the concept that the government has origins in religion or the church, it relates to the fact that this could even be in question as ignorance today would have it, and it portrays that there has been an evolutionary separation perceived or realized. This source is a true inspiration to me and is of utmost value if I have in fact well chosen my topic for writing and can put the sources to proper, if not necessarily chronological, organization.
To use some semblance of chronology about this study, I would use what I "almost" know, but is as of yet still some categorical perception, about the writings of a
man named Titus Livy. Titus Livius, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, lived from 59 B.C. to A.D. 17, is the most famous of Roman historians, and was born at Patavium (Padua), Italy. Livy’s History of Rome was in 142 books and covered Roman history from the arrival of Aeneas in Italy to the death of Druses, brother of the emperor Tiberius, in 9 B.C. His works are no doubt a treasure to the history of government or more specifically to the school of republican thought. There is significance to us in that his writings are in some length and at certain times or eras have been reiterated. "{[Machiavelli]} found in Livy the means to inspire scholars for five centuries. Within the Discourses, often hidden and sometimes unintended by their author, lie the seeds of modern political thought"(Peter Stothard on Mansfiel and Tarcov). Machiavelli has, as some would say, done us each a great service in his study of ancient republicanism as he has saved and edited the work, and made it possible for us to consider. Whatever that format used by Livy, Machiavelli in a book crediting his authorship, translated by Mansfield and Tarcov, divides the material into little episodes or minimally worded moral lessons which were grounded in historic happenstance. For example, one narrative (p. 78 or I 37) is titled "What Scandles the Agrarian Law Gave Birth to in Rome; and That to Make a Law in a Republic That looks Very Far Back and is Against an Ancient Custom of the City is Most Scandelous" the verses go on to speak of ancient writers, good and evil, combat, ambition, rank, and the causes of the destruction of the republic; and it does so with authoritative organization. The book is not scientific but romantic. Yet there are some excellent observations, as in the short (one half page) narrative titled "To Leap From Humility to Pride, from Merci to Cruelty, without Due Degrees Is Something Imprudent and Useless." The book lends a valuable precaution, even if any kind and strong hearted being would already know such prudence. Allow me to transcribe it in full:
"Among the other means badly used by Appius to maintain his tyranny, it was of no little moment to leap too quickly from one quality to another.
For his astuteness in deceiving the plebs, pretending to be a man of the people, was well used… also well used was the audacity of creating himself against the opinion of the nobility; creating partners to his purpose was well used. But it was
not at all well used, when he had done this, as I say above, to change nature of a sudden and from a friend of the plebs show himself an enemy; from humane, proud; from agreeable, difficult; and to do it so quickly that without any excuse every man had to know the falsity of his spirit. For whoever has appeared good for a time and wishes for his purpose to become wicked ought to do it by due degrees and to conduct himself with opportunities, so that before your different nature takes away old favor from you, it has given you so much new that you do not come to diminish your authority; otherwise, finding yourself uncovered and without friends, you are ruined."
I say that only a fool would become mean or corrupt after the gain of advantage or conferred authority, such as the winning of a public election. Surely one may become more somber but pride and cruelty should be checked. Aptly, the next little chapter from this source is titled "How Easily Men Can Be Corrupted" One statement made therein, after listing gross examples of good men becoming corrupt... "If this is well examined, it will make legislators of republics and kingdoms more ready to check human appetites and to take away from them all hope of being able to err with impunity." I shall like to go on about this source, yet first I would insert a note about this topic of corruption. The material is also Machiavellian and the source was previously mentioned. " But not only was it a fact of experience and history that such structure of virtue could become corrupt and disintegrate; it was by a terrible paradox, inherent in the very nature of republics that this should be so. The republic attempted to realize a totality of virtue in the relations of its citizens with one another, but did so on a footing that was temporally and spatially limited." Hence the complexity of the human endeavor. Here I would point to the humanistic quality of this line of thought as it allows itself, nor the spoken of communities, much recognizable recourse to religious teachings, prayers, and faith. To resume, the next in the translation of little verses is titled "Those Who Engage in Combat for Their Own Glory Are Good and Faithful Soldiers" It talks about the uselessness of having mercenary troops and the faithfulness of the citizen army." With this I agree. Yet, even though the writer is likely accurate about his scope, realistically the work is doctrine, grounded possibly in historical happenstance, or the observational reflection
upon such. It is sort of like hearsay that probably has a lesson to be learned, even if the underlying ethical reality is questionable. This is a good time to mention that the author, Machiavelli, is the same author of that notorious book called "The Prince". It is a book that dwells upon the gain and maintenance of political power. This one, "Discourses on Livy" is a required textbook, or literature prescribed for the class. Another of the titles, to the little anecdotes, usually 1 to 4 pages in length, reads "Before Great Accidents Occur in a City or in a Province, Signs Come That Forecast Them, or Men Who Predict Them." It speaks of a Cathedral being hit by lightening preceding the death of Lorenzo de Medici the Elder, and men seen and heard fighting up in the air above Arezzo, before the coming King Charles VIII of France to Italy. There are some verses which point to the interplay of politics and religion. One, on page39 or I 13 is, "How the Romans Made Religion Serve to Reorder the City and to Carry Out Their Enterprises and to Stop Tumults"… Machiavelli believed that somehow the Christian church and religion stand in the way of the recovery of ancient virtue and ancient republicanism. He maintained that "A prince of a republic or of a kingdom should maintain the foundations of the religion they hold… " but that "if such religion had been maintained by the princes of the Christian republic as was ordered by its giver, the Christian states and republics would be more united, much happier than they are. Nor can one make any better conjecture as to its decline than to see that those peoples who are closest to the Roman church, the head of our religion, have less religion. Whoever might consider its foundations and see how much present usage is different from them might judge, without doubt, that either its ruin or its scourging is near." He said that, or he edited Livy saying that, "because of the wicked examples of that court, this province has lost all devotion and all religion- which brings with it infinite inconveniences and infinite disorders; for as where there is religion one presupposes every good, so where it is missing one presupposes the contrary…" secondly he goes on to say in several sentences at length, "that the church has kept and keeps this province divided. And truly no province has ever been united or happy unless it has all come under obedience to one republic or to one prince, as happened to France and to Spain. The cause that Italy is not in the same condition and does not also have one republic or one prince to govern it is solely the church. For although it has inhabited and
held a temporal empire there, it has not been so powerful nor of such virtue as to be able to seize the tyranny of Italy and make itself prince of it. On the other hand it has not been so weak that it has been unable to call in a power to defend it against one that had become too powerful in Italy, for fear of loosing dominion over its temporal things. This has been seen formerly in very many experiences: when, by means of Charlemagne, it expelled the Longobards who were then almost king of all Italy, and when in our times it took away power from the Venetians with the aid of France, then expelled the French with the aid of the Swiss. Thus the church has not been powerful enough to be able to seize Italy, nor permitted another to seize it, it has been the cause that{[Italy]} has not been able to come under one head but has been under many princes and lords, from whom so much disunion and so much weakness have arisen that it has been led to be the pray not only of barbarian powers but of whoever assaults it. For we other Italians have an obligation to the church and not to others. Whoever wished to see the truth more readily by certain experience would need to be of such power as to send the Roman court, with all the authority it has in Italy, to inhabit the towns of the Swiss. They are today the only peoples who live according to the ancients as regards both religion and military orders; and one would see that in little time the bad customs of that court would make more disorder in that province than any other accident that could arise there at any time."
In "leading up" to more information about the "classic" period, I will show that the earliest, best-recorded history that we have, inherently grounds politics in Religion. As stated by Heichelheim and Yeo, in A Hisory of the Roman People, "During the early period, the executive power of the Etruscan city - state was in the hands of a king elected and assisted by a council of aristocratic chiefs of whom he was one. He was the symbol of the state, the commander -in- chief of the Army, the high priest of the state religion, and the judge of his people. He wore purple robes like those of the Hittite nobles and possibly a golden crown, and rode in a chariot inlaid with ivory. As he passed through the streets, heralds preceded him and lectors accompanied him bearing the fasces and double bitted ax, symbols of justice and religion. Yet he was neither a hereditary monarch nor an absolute ruler. Sometime during the sixth or fifth century B.C., the nobles stripped him of his political, military and judicial powers, and set up republics
governed by aristocratic senates and headed, as in Rome, by annually elected magistrates. The real power in the state was at all times in the hands of a small circle of landowning families (lucumones), who enjoyed all the privileges of a warrior aristocracy and a priestly caste. In some cities they were later forced to share the government with a small group of wealthy craftsmen and merchants. The middle and lower classes consisted of small shop owners, petty traders, craftsmen, foreign immigrants, and the descendants of conquered Villanovans, who worked as serfs or slaves on the large estates and served as foot soldiers in time of war…" So we see here that from the beginning of government as we can imagine it, there was religion, and there was stratification or division among socio-economic classes. This would have been and perhaps still is necessary, as it takes skill and sense to procure goods and safety, and some are hereditarily more skilled and sensible. The question is how much skill and sense should be shared in an advanced humanitarian society; and what enduring effect this will have upon the persons of each socio-economic. Surely advantage saved is advantage earned and one should not cast jewels before swine lest they be trampled underfoot. One who deserves and can find the mode for upward mobility will want to share it, unless he is inherently selfish which is incongruent with true virtue. in every case of upward mobility, he or she will be at some variable level of juxtaposition with those now and previously enjoying advantage. Seen
in this source above is the origin of the diffusion of power and the precepts of class struggle.
As I try to find the background, with consideration to the concept of republican thought, for reasoning of the eventual separation of church & state, which I know has taken place; some chronology is in order, and I try to have in these early stages of this draft, some evidence of how strong the church was in law and every day life. Later I would show how the ecclesiastical authority has at times been challenged by a more temporal manifestation of order, which ultimately led, as is the object of this paper, to the separation of church and state in the United States of America.
The endeavor is going to have some to do with the time of Christ’s human life and the gospel’s which followed. It would also consider some information from non - Christian sources and or ideas. A book titled "Church and State" by Wood, Thompson,
& Miller has in the first chapter a page heading which reads ‘biblical foundations’. One interesting portion of the text reads "The Old Testament has preserved conflicting views as to the origin of the establishment of the Israelite monarchy. According to the Samual source the desire of the Israelites who demanded a king was nothing less than apostasy motivated by the desire of the elders to secularize Israel and make her ‘like all the nations.’ The nation Israel was not founded with divine approval and blessing, but allowed as a grudging concession. The other tradition, often referred to as the Saul source, regarded kingship as providential and a means of bringing deliverance to the people of Yahewah. Significantly enough, even in the Saul source the establishment of the monarchy was not regarded as the fulfillment of God’s will but as a providential development in her history." The work goes on to say that the human kingdom was not in any way considered part of the kingdom of God nor did their rulers make pretense of deity, as rulers in some other primitive nations did. Later in the chapter, a quote credited to G. Ernest Wright summarizes "Hebrew kingship, therefore, never achieved the sanctity or the absolution which is encountered elsewhere. The office of the prophet, the herald of Yahewah, was independent of kingship and was therefore free to enter into open conflict with the monarchy…" Here is an example that the ancient persons had reasoning about such matters as divine right of kings or the good sense and modesty of rulers to
refrain from such notions. Also the concept of prophesy, which I imagine had its time as is not currently practiced, was independent of kingship. Yet from the introduction of the same book, "In ancient times, and indeed among most of the people of the world outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the problem of the relationship between Church and State was incomprehensible. From earliest history religion was a matter for the community as a whole and not the individual. Religion and culture were inextricably intertwined, and as religion developed from the tribal to the national stage the religious history was inseparable from the cultural and political history." That is the thesis here, that the history of politics can not be studied separately from the history, yet we have successfully separated the two, for the better, in the contemporary United States.
"Whereas in some lands, as in India and Persia, there was a priestly class which virtually dominated the entire life of the people, in other lands, as in Greece and Rome,
there was little distinction made between the king and the priest. In both social structures, however, there was no real consciousness of the sacred and secular spheres of life, which is largely a phenomenon of modern times, albeit limited to western civilizations…" When we say western civilizations we mean Europe and the Americas. The Church, our earliest obvious concept of the Christian Church, began in Rome, Italy. Not only was the church evangelical, but in its inseparable way the Roman Empire began to conquer and grow, spreading its Christian religious doctrine with its rule. Catholicism was strong in Spain, Italy, Southern France, Southern Germany, stretching eastward to be checked only by the Islamic Sultans. At one time Catholic leadership was strong on the British Isles, still maintaining a formidable foothold in places like Ireland. Still a cause of some conflict, Roman Catholicism has had opposition in the North of Europe, where the concept of Protestantism originates.
From chapter five of the same source, "…this principle [separation of church and state], which most Americans take for granted along with their other liberties, was unheard of before the sixteenth century. In all ancient and medieval societies religion and state were scarcely distinguishable. It was a universal assumption in both the pagan and Christian worlds that society was unitary and that the security and stability of the social order demanded the religious solidarity of all the people. Kings and priests were
partners in the development of a tribal or imperial solidarity. Although there were notable exceptions, the kings generally exercised the greater power in the partnership.
The Hebraic theocracy was one outstanding exception to the general rule of royal supremacy. Until the time of King Saul religion was the state. With Saul the state became the rival and ultimately the master of religion, with a resulting corruption of faith, but in the chaotic years which followed the decline of the monarchy a new priesthood emerged. By the time of Jesus the theocratic spirit, nurtured by a fanatical nationalism and a messianic hope, was a disturbing factor to the ruling Romans, albeit strong elements within the Jewish population, notably the sadducees, favored collaboration with the conquerors. Jesus himself, caught between two extremes, advised his hearers to render unto both God and Caeser their respective dues. Whether Jesus was merely realistically facing the facts or laying down an abiding principle, many of his followers
construed his statement to mean that there were two claims on a Christians loyalty, the adjustment of which was an essential part of the Christian life.
So the republican concept began in ancient Rome and has always had some juxtaposition to Christianity. At the present our country practices a quite secular style of political leadership yet there is some potential controversy with regard to religion, just as our country was born amid religious strife. To trace this one would study the "Reformation" and the Counter Reformation of the Catholic Church. One source pertaining to what can be thought of as the beginning of the reformation movement states:
"Gilson's [distinguished Catholic historian of philosophy] views have been popularized in the English speaking world by Gordon Leff and David Knowles. Leff describes the fourteenth century as divided between the skepticism of Ockham (nominalism) and the dogmatic authoritarianism of the Augustinian Thomas Bradwardine, each in his own way rejecting the reasoned belief of the thirteenth century. Knowles maintains that after the fourteenth century men were forced to choose either a "practical skepticism" or a "blind fideism." Both Scholars see the foundations of ethics, metaphysics, and the priestly sacramental system of the church shaken by a fourteenth century restriction of the theological
reach of reason and exaggeration of the degree of God's freedom over his creation. It is alleged that followers of Ockham (whom Luther called "my teacher") preferred to doubt and criticize rather than to explain their beliefs, while disciples of Bradwardine chose to assert their faith rather than understand it. Leff and Knowles, squarely within the footsteps of Gilson, view Luther and John Calvin as the final beneficiaries of these radical changes in the late Middle Ages."
Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-1564) are to be considered when I try to apply "Reformation" and Counter Reformation to the revolts in the Dutch provinces, of the late 1500's. A good reason to study the history of the Netherlands is because it is a beautiful example of republican government. The Dutch are renowned to be tenacious about their liberty. The geographical location made them a world crossroads
if you will. Mercantilism, or should I say merchantism was a way of life for them from the beginning. Perhaps it has to do with the way the canals run in the Lowlands, or the scarcity of land, their vibrant economy or sheer numbers of intelligent people which led them from the beginning to form a representative government. They have ancient records of their mode of government. Yet as the age of imperialism grew to engulf them, they made alliance or became a province of the superpower at that time of Spain. They were a sister to Spain resulting from the reality of the Holy Roman Empire. Yet the empire had always had a loose grip on northern Europe, during the times that it considerably had a grip. There were roman Catholics or Catholic enclaves scattered throughout the land, whom had originally arrived as conquerors. There is a Machiavellian concept that there are two types of people; those who wish to control and those whom wish not to be controlled. This is at the heart of the strife that makes up religious intoleration, as the conquerors had came and remained under the sign of the cross. The Netherlanders were considered and were in various actuality a northern province of Spain, and they were in economic competition with England, across the channel. To consider Martin Luther, he was a religious leader in Northern Germany (adjacent to Holland) whom originally was a Catholic monk I believe. It was supposedly after a pilgrimage to the Vatican that he was disgusted with the leadership of the church and wrote "99 theses" of condemnation. He
gained a following. John Calvin was the champion of anti Catholic sentiments in Geneva Switzerland (adjacent to France). "The Reformation was in the broadest sense of the word a popular movement, by sixteenth century standards even a democratic revolution… In the first popular tract on the subject, Luther attempted to overturn the confessional as tribunal and the role of the priest as judge. The only requirement for absolution, he maintained, is the sincere desire to receive it and faith in God's promise to forgive those who seek it… So called secret sins-(largely sexual) feelings that tantalize but never become deeds- he set aside as the invention of nosy, avaricious, and tyrannical priests." Between the two of them, and the other growing branches of protest, holy war was breaking out all over.
One book I read which does shed light on the situation as it was happening with the Dutch revolts was William the Silent, about Sir William of Orange. William was a
courtly man of means whose home station was near Brabant, a Flemish province. He had enjoyed the good graces of the Catholicism of Charles V and the protection that the strength of the Holy Roman Empire had fostered for his province. William was a King's man and yet was a man of the people. He was positively stymied by the developments as he was a professed Catholic of Court and yet his people were dying from the scourge, not primarily by the Catholics but by the conflict of religious banners and ideologies among the people. Here is a place to point out that although it can be seen that religion is perhaps the most important underlying cause of the strife, this also encompassed the economic factors.
One does not have to say that the revolts were actually fought over money yet under banners of religion. As the economy was part of the government it was a factor of the church which had been all encompassing. The concept of the "Tenth Penney" will show the breaking point of this consideration. "… motivated by a new grievance: the government's (Alva) attempt to impose illegally a 10-per-cent Value Added Tax on all sales. The 'Tenth Penny' dominated all the rebels' propaganda; it was the rallying cry of the revolt." (Parker) The Flemish economy had long been taxed by Spain; the Flemish leaders assisting. Yet this was a new tax, to be "pushed through at sword point" by the governing Catholic, the Duke of Alva, that the economy could not withstand. It was that
the needs of Spain were having a milking effect upon the province which were starting to hurt the cow. In any case, the Dutch had a conception of equality based on representative government. They enjoyed this before, and were able even more to improve upon it after, their provincial relationship with Spain.
The civil wars in England developed perhaps a century after the revolts of the Netherlands. The Dutch revolts or the actual outbreak of warfare took place in the 1560’s. A consideration of England will further allow me to develop the concepts of the law being grounded in religion or God. "In the 1628 parliament, Sir Edward Coke spoke out against false imprisonment and summed up his argument thus: "I will conclude with the highest authority, that is, 25. Chap. Of the Acts of the Apostles, the last verse, where St. Paul saith, It is against reason to send a man to prison without shewing a cause." The great jurist could stay with the best of the Divines on the authority of the Bible: ‘To
those laws which [the] holy church hath out of scripture, we ought to yield credit; for the common law, upon which all laws are founded.’
Coke and his colleagues were hardly innovators, for repeated use of the bible had been the practice of nearly every medieval commentator on the common law. Fortesque, the famed sage of the law in the fifteenth century, employed fifty-two biblical quotations in his short treatise De Laudibus Legum Angliae. The bible supported, in the mind of the lawyers, the authority of ancient common law rules and parliamentary enactments and thus helped to effect the ultimate authority of fundamental law."
To point to the beginning of dissention, "Appeals to the higher law of reason were made in England before the period of our study. St. German and Hooker serve again as prominent early and late six-teenth-century English examples of this kind of natural law thought. In the period of the civil war, references to reason reappeared… The conception of a higher law found among the divines and the barristers was fundamentally different from that of the natural law thinkers. The Puritans and the lawyers believed in an English civitas governed by God and law; their higher law was an other - worldly, commanding rule. The natural law thinkers, on the other hand, envisioned their higher law as a rational model or a cognizable pattern to which actual existence conformed and on which the good society of the present and the future must be constructed."(Eusden) The Puritans and "lawyers of this period were two different groups but were somewhat congruent in that they each were represented by members of parliament whom were calling for restraint of tyranny and the protection of liberties, versus the kings charges of parliamentary usurpation. This has to do with the religious conflict between the Catholics, as in Charles I, and The protestants as in Oliver Cromwell. One of the "nineteen propositions" sent to the king by parliament in June 1642 was "That the laws in force against Jesuits, priests, and Popish recusants, be strictly put in execution, without any toleration or dispensation to the contrary; and that some more effectual course may be enacted, by authority of parliament, to disable them from making any disturbance in the state, or eluding the law by trusts or otherwise." The next of the nineteen goes a step further to say "That the votes of the Popish lords in the House of Peers may be taken away, so long as they continue papists: and that your Majesty will consent to such a bill
as shall be drawn for the education of the children of Papists by Protestants in the protestant religion." Now this is far reaching legislation, as a mater of national security at that time, to rid the land of what they considered a Catholic menace. It goes to show the degree to which the church had been intertwined with the state, and about the future importance of such consideration.
There is, as there has in modern times been, some question as to whether the original framers of the constitution had actually planned for the effective separation of church and state, so to speak. There is also some controversy or question pertaining to such sentiments during the colonial period and the time up to the turn of the century or 1800. In attempts to offer some portrayal of the framers mindset or intentions and the way that such did manifest in that epoch, I would quote the following from a book by historian Leo Pfeffer entitled Church, State, and Freedom. "Many of the political leaders of the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary period had come under the influence of deism and enlightenment, and not a few were apathetic if not antagonistic to formal religious worship and institutionalized religion. As the Beards put it:
When the crises came, Jefferson, Paine, John Adams, Washington, Franklin, Madison and many lesser lights were to be reckoned among either the Unitarians or the Deists. It was not Cotton Mather's God to whom the authors of The Declaration of Independence appealed; it was to "Nature's God." From whatever source derived, the effect of both Unitarianism and Deism was to hasten the retirement of historic theology from its empire over the intellect of American leaders and to clear the atmosphere for secular interests.
It is significant, indeed, that the first four presidents of the United States were either Deists or Unitarians...
Before the publication of his Age of Reason in 1793, Paine was consistently praised by the Baptists and Presbyterians. In 1776 he wrote, in his Epistle to the Quakers, that "to God, and not to man, are all men accountable on the score of religion." In Common Sense he wrote:
‘As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of the government to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith.’
The evidence we have makes it reasonable to believe that this represented the view of the overwhelming majority of Americans when our republic was founded."
Many persons at the time of the framing of the constitution had been effected by the very rational or humanistic phenomenon or theory of the "social contract". From the same general source as outlined above I offer an excerpt by John Locke, "The idea that religion is outside the jurisdiction of civil government is expressed in his epochal first Letter Concerning Toleration:
Now that the whole jurisdiction of the magistrate reaches only to these civil concernments; and that all civil power, right and dominion, is bounded and confined to the only care of promoting these things; and that it neither can nor ought in any manner to be extended to the salvation of souls, these following considerations seem to me abundantly to demonstrate,
First, Because the care of souls is not committed to the civil magistrate, any more than to other men. It is not committed unto him, I say, by God; because it appears not that God has ever given any such authority to one man over another, as to compel any one to his religion…
In the second place, The care of souls cannot belong to the civil magistrate because his power consists only in outward force, but true and saving religion consists in the inward persuasion of the mind…"

As I continue in quotation, "The influence of Locke and the social contract theory on the development of religious freedom and separation in America can be clearly seen from the memorial presented by the Baptists to the Continental Congress in 1774:
Men unite in society, according to the great Mr. Locke, with an intention in every one the better to preserve himself, his liberty and property. The power of
the society, or Legislature constituted by them, can never be supposed to extend any further than the common good, but is obliged to secure every one's property. To give laws, to receive obedience, to compel with the sword, belong to none but the civil magistrate; and on this ground we affirm that the magistrate's power extends not to the establishing any articles of faith or forms of worship, by force
of laws; for laws are of no force without penalties. The care of souls cannot belong to the civil magistrate, because his power consists only in outward force; but pure and saving religion consists in the inward persuasion of the mind, without which nothing can be acceptable to God."
Still quoting, "Locke himself did not pursue his ideas to their logical conclusion. His view of toleration did not find room for Catholics and atheists; and implicit in his thinking is the contradiction that though no church should be established, yet the establishment of protestant Christianity was quite proper. The logical extension of his ideas was, however, effected by Jefferson, Madison, and the others responsible for the American experiment."(Pfeffer) In a letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison dated July 31, 1788 "I sincerely rejoice at the acceptance of our new constitution by nine states. It is a good canvas, on which some strokes only want retouching…I conceive there may be difficulty in finding general modifications of these suited to the habits of all the states. But if such can not be found then it is better to establish trials by Jury, the right of Habeas corpus, freedom of the press & freedom of religion in all cases…"(Rakove)
"The concept that religion was outside the jurisdiction of civil government was acceptable to and accepted by both the religionists and the rationalists. To the religionist, God or Christ did not desire the magistrate to have such jurisdiction ("render unto Caeser that which is Caeser's"; "my kingdom is not of this world,"etc.); to the rationalist, the power to act in religion was not one of the powers conferred on government as part of the social contract. It is irrelevant that the social contract is today generally considered to be a historical fiction. What is important is that it was generally accepted as historical truth when American democracy was launched, and that it exercised a vital influence on the evolution of the American experiment in church-state relations."(Pfeffer) I imagine
Pfeffer a nationalist. His book is a great source yet he gives too much credit to the Americans and not enough to the Europeans for the contrivance of some legal separation of religion and government. It is obvious to me, even though my opinion may be challenged, that from the time of the Declaration of Independence there has been no predominance of state or government sponsored church in English speaking North America, and that the concept of having a government without the direct influence of religion was not exclusively unique to the U.S.
In the beginning religion and government were one and the same. The Roman Empire did spread their religion to conquered land, yet the Bible was a bit further traveled than the Roman soldiers. Division in "the church" sprouted a Reformation due to issues of control and money. The historical Dutch Republic is a prime example of representative government. Historical England is a bit different from the Dutch and the American system. They have parliament which differs from the U.S. in that they have a House of Lords where seats were hereditary. They differ from the Dutch in that at one time the rulers would accept no toleration of any practice of Catholicism, whereas a large proportion of the Dutch population was and is Catholic. The framers of our constitution intended for government to operate independently of a proscribed religious aspect, and they provided for the public toleration of various religions.

Bibliography: Chandler
Cochrane, Eric, Gray, Charles M., & Kishlansky, Mark A. Early Modern Europe: Crises Of Authority 1987 The University of Chicago Press p.308
Encyclopedia Britannica (Livy), 1973 The University of Chicago p.157-160
Eusden, John D. Puritans, Lawyers, and Politics in Early Seventeenth-Century
England 1958 Yale University Press p. 2,124-133
Heichelheim, Fritz M. and Yeo, Cedric A. A History of The Roman People 1962 Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. p.27-30
Machiavelli, Niccolo' Discourses on Livy, Translated by Mansfield and Tarcov,
1996 by The University of Chicago Press.
Mayer, J.P. Alexis de Toqueville: Democracy in America 1969 Doubleday &
Company, Inc. p.505
Nugent, Walter T.K. The Tolerant Populists 1963 University of Chicago Press ch.1
Ozment, Steven E. The Reformation in the Cities 1975 New Haven and London:
Yale University Press p.47-50
Parker, Geoffrey The Dutch Revolt 1977 Cornell University Press
Pfeffer, Leo Church, State, and Freedom, 1953 Beacon Press, Boston.
Rakove, Jack N. Declaring Rights 1998 Bedford Books 157

Van Loon, Hendrik Tolerance 1927 Horace Liveright p.18
Wood, Thompson, and Miller Church and State in Scripture, History and
Constitutional Law, Baylor University Press, Waco, Tx. P.57-8

Mr William "Tharon" Chandler

No comments:

Post a Comment