Views concerning the appropriate relationship between church and state are rapidly becoming almost as numerous as America's religious sects. The Constitution's treatment of religious liberty, thought by many to be a matter long settled, has now erupted into a many-sided debate. Not only lawyers, judges and legal commentators are involved; historians and sociologists, theologians and ecclesiastics, political theorists and statesmen also participate in the debate. It is part of a much larger struggle over a redefinition, or for some a reclamation, of the role of religion in American public life. At times this debate focuses on discrete environments, such as public schools and the matter of prayer. At other times it deals with broader questions such as religion's influence on fiscal policy, the morality of nuclear weaponry, or the direction to be taken by our foreign policy in fostering or opposing political movements in third-world nations.
Carl H. Esbeck, Five Views of Church-State Relations in Contemporary American Thought, 1986 BYU L. Rev. 371 (1986)