Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Noah Feldman's "Church-State Solution"

{This piece, by NYU's Noah Feldman, will appear in the NYT Magazine this Sunday.   To read the whole article, click here.]

New York Times
July 3, 2005
 

A Church-State Solution

By NOAH FELDMAN

I. THE EXPERIMENT

For roughly 1,400 years, from the time the Roman Empire became Christian to the American Revolution, the question of church and state in the West always began with a simple assumption: the official religion of the state was the religion of its ruler. Sometimes the king fought the church for control of religious institutions; other times, the church claimed power over the state by asserting religious authority over the sovereign himself. But the central idea, formally enshrined at Westphalia in 1648 by the treaty that ended the wars of religion in Europe, was that each region would have its own religion, namely that of the sovereign. The rulers, meanwhile, manipulated religion to serve their own ends. Writing just before the American Revolution, the British historian Edward Gibbon opined that the people believed, the philosophers doubted and the magistrates exploited. Gibbon's nominal subject was ancient Rome, but his readers understood that he was talking about their world too.

[To read the rest, click here.]
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