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UU topic: Church, state and schooling

Special to The PREVIEW

On Sunday, July 7, the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service topic will be “Church and State:  K-12 Schooling and the Supreme Court Since 1947,” presented by Richard Richardson, professor emeritus of Higher Education at New York University and Arizona State University.

He comments: “On January 1, 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Connecticut Baptist Association, who had written him about a rumor they had heard that Congregationalists were about to be named the national denomination.  In his response, President Jefferson assured the Baptists they had nothing to worry about, since ‘the First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state.’  In 1878, a Supreme Court decision declared Jefferson’s ‘wall of separation’ to be an authoritative interpretation of the First Amendment.”

Professor Richardson points out that, “One reality of the human condition,  however, is that we never give up trying to have our schools and government programs reflect what we believe. Over time, the Supreme Court has been the recipient of numerous opportunities to reconsider the approximate dimensions and the composition of the ‘wall.’ “

Dick Richardson is a member of the Pagosah UU Fellowship and a retired professor of educational leadership and policy studies.  He will trace court decisions since the 1947 McCollum case to encourage discussion about how the “wall” has changed over time.

The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall.  The address is Unit B-15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbriar Drive off of North Pagosa Boulevard by the fire station, then left into the back parking lot and look for the big sign.  All are welcome.

This story was posted on July 3, 2013.