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
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.