Professor Weighs In On Separation Of Church And State

Dr. Bobby Johnson is a professor at Letourneau University teaching political science and American history. He says the idea of 'separating church and state' began after the Revolutionary war.

"When they begin to write a new constitution to form the more perfect union then those who are strong advocates of individual liberties insist upon the amendments that have become known as the Bill Of Rights. The first of which says that congress may not establish a church or religion," says Dr. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson says the founding fathers left much unsaid in that first amendment. In fact, the term 'separation of church and state' was only mentioned in writings by Thomas Jefferson. But he says it never caused many problems until the 1960's.

"In the rights revolutions of the sixties then you begin to see others say but we're more than that as well some of us are Buddhist and some of us are Hindu and some of us have no religious beliefs at all."

So 'separation of church and state' began to be debated in court rooms. The question was, did the founding fathers intend only to prevent government from endorsing one particular religion or instead to remove faith from government altogether? Court judgements over the last forty years have failed to make it clear.

Amy Tatum, reporting.