November 20, 2006 17:31 Age: 7 yrs

Major News Outlets Feature Witte on Church-State Issues

By: April L. Bogle

John Witte, Jr.

In an Atlanta Journal Constitution op ed published November 26, John Witte, Jr. urges "all religious voices, visions and values must be heard and deliberated in the public square. All peaceable public religious services and activities must be given a chance to come forth and participate."

Witte,  Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, explains how Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation," metaphorically constructed in 1802, began to crumble in the mid 1980s.

Witte is quoted in a November 22 Washington Post-Newsweek op ed by Jon Meacham explaining why President Abraham Lincoln's proclamation that Thanksgiving is a national holiday sanctioned by Almighty God is appropriate because it "falls under what is (infelicitously) known as 'ceremonial deism' -- long-standing, innocuous rituals."

"It is an argument from history. The passage of time will show if this is a step along the way to establishment of religion or if it's a ritual show of public spirit or patriotism," said Witte.


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