To : All Subj: Myth 3 MYTH 3: Separation of church and state is not an American principle

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From: Charles Sumner 15 Sep 94 10:57 To : All Subj: Myth 3 MYTH 3: Separation of church and state is not an American principle but is found in Article 53 of the constitution of the Soviet Union. This lie about separation of church and stateis perhaps the most offensive to church-state separationists because it attempts to taint a vital American principle with the brush of "Communism." Even a brief review of the facts proves that this statement is nonsense. The modern Soviet state came into being after the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Soviet constitution was rewritten several times, and more recent versions included American-style guarantees of freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly. (These provisions, of course, were never obeyed by the Soviet government.) Article 124 of the country's 1947 constitution has been translated by some scholars to read, "In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the USSR is separated from the state, and the school from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of anti-religious propaganda is recognized for all citizens." Since Jefferson coined the phrase "wall of separation between church and state" in 1802, a full 145 years before the Soviet provision was written, it is obviously incorrect to suggest that the Soviets pioneered the separation principle. Provided by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, 8120 Fenton Street, Silver Spring MD 20910; 301-589-3707.

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