The First Amendment
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Religious Liberty and the First Amendment

Articles by Bruce T. Murray
The First Amendment defined

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...” — What do these 16 words mean?

Faith and Conscience in America

Charles C. Haynes of the First Amendment Center discusses the meaning and logic of the First Amendment.

Historical Basis for the First Amendment

Philip Goff of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis shows how diversity among Protestant groups in early America led to a much broader conception of religious liberty.

Common Threads of Religious Liberty

Charles C. Haynes of the First Amendment Center traces the origins of the First Amendment.

Religion and public schools

From the Protestant establishment to the clash of secularism: Charles Haynes reviews the history of public education in America

Faith-based initiatives

Following a new course of social service in America: Ram A. Cnaan of the University of Pennsylvania traces faith-based initiatives in America – past and present.

Beyond the ‘Wall of Separation’

Excerpt from Chapter 7 of Religious Liberty in America: The First Amendment in Historical and Contemporary Perspective.

Religion and public life

An archive of content on religion in America and the world. Topics include religion and politics in America, civil religion, the black church, the Hispanic church, world religions, the clash of civilizations, and religion and terrorism.


An archive of newsletters Murray has written about the First Amendment since 2008.

The First Amendment in the news

An annotated news digest covering news events related to religious liberty. Also see news archive from 2008-2012.