"First coined by the 17th century Baptist leader Roger Williams who, in 1636, founded Rhode Island, the phrase "separation of church and state" was used by both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (the father of the Constitution), to describe the meaning of the Constitution's religion clauses. The religion clauses provide for the "free exercise" of religion and prohibit the government from "establishing" religion by favoring one religion over another or favoring religion over non-religion. The U.S. Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter of the Constitution's meaning, first utilized the phrase in the 1878 case of Reynolds v. United States, stating that Jefferson's term 'wall of separation between church and state' "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment.""
"The Court has repeatedly held that "separation of church and state" is the constitutional cornerstone of religious liberty. In the 1947 case of Everson v. Board of Education, Justice Hugo Black, in writing for the majority, stated: "In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state." In defining what is meant by the establishment of religion, Justice Black wrote, "Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.... No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.... The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.""
“It will be the Government’s care to maintain honest co-operation between Church and State; the struggle against materialistic views and for a real national community is just as much in the interest of the German nation as in that of the welfare of our Christian faith. “- Adolf Hitler, speech to the Reichstag 23 March 1933
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