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"This is not... just a little case over bus fares": The Everson Decision: Basis for the Modern Separation of Church and State in the United States / "אין זה דיון קל-ערך בנושא דמי-הנסיעה באוטובוס": פסיקת אוורסון וחשיבותה בהיסטוריה של יחסי הדת והמדינה בארצות-הברית

ארנון גוטפלד and Arnon Gutfeld
Democratic Culture / תרבות דמוקרטית
Vol. 7 (תשס"ג / 2003), pp. 73-103
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24142198
Page Count: 31
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
"This is not... just a little case over bus fares": The Everson Decision: Basis for the Modern Separation of Church and State in the United States / "אין זה דיון קל-ערך בנושא דמי-הנסיעה באוטובוס": פסיקת אוורסון וחשיבותה בהיסטוריה של יחסי הדת והמדינה בארצות-הברית
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Abstract

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." There exists an inherent contradiction in the religious clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Many accept the erroneous assumption that these clauses guarantee the separation of church from state in the American political system. In fact, for well over a century the United States Supreme Court has been searching for principles to minimize the contradictions in the First Amendment, seeking doctrines that would bring about a more harmonious modus vivendi between the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township, 330 U.S. 1 (1947) decision is an important milestone in the continuous search for doctrines to diminish the problems emanating from the impossibility of reconciling between the ideal of complete separation of church from state, and the reality that the state is constantly involved, directly and indirectly, in addressing religious matters. The issue in Everson was a New Jersey law that authorized local school boards to reimburse parents for bus fares their children paid for traveling to all public and not-for-profit schools, including parochial schools. The guidelines that the Supreme Court established in the Everson decision articulated principles intended to direct governmental conduct in Establishment Clause dilemmas. It set the basic interpretation of the Establishment Clause in the highly sensitive and crucial subject of education. Everson provided multiple criteria for government involvement in parochial schools without breaching the ever-important "Wall of Separation" maxim. These criteria evolved into doctrinal theories that resulted in important legal, philosophical, and political debates. Everson had a great influence on decisions concerning much more than religion and public education.

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