Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… -US Constitution, First Amendment
“We establish no religion in the country. We command no worship. We mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and State are and must remain separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief. At the same time that our Constitution prohibits state establishment of religion, it protects the free exercise of all religions. And walking this fine line requires government to be strictly neutral.” – Ronald Reagan
“A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to obtain his ends.” – Henry A Wallace
James K. Polk (1795-1849) 11th U.S. President
[T]hank God, under our constitution there was no connection between Church and State, and that in my action as President of the U.S. I recognized no distinction of creeds in my appointments to office.
( James K. Polk; from Arthur M. Schlesinger, The Age of Jackson , Boston: Little Brown & Company, 1945, p. 355. )
James A. Garfield (1831-1881) 20th U.S. President
The divorce between Church and State ought to be absolute. It ought to be so absolute that no Church property anywhere, in any state or in the nation, should be exempt from equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any church organization, to that extent you impose a tax upon the whole community.
( James A. Garfield; 1874 Congressional Record, Vol. II, (6) p. 5384;
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) 35th U.S. President,
It is my firm belief that there should be separation of church and state in the United States--that is, that both church and state should be free to operate, without interference from each other in their respective areas of jurisdiction. We live in a liberal, democratic society which embraces wide varieties of belief and disbelief. There is no doubt in my mind that the pluralism which has developed under our Constitution, providing as it does a framework within which diverse opinions can exist side by side and by their interaction enrich the whole, is the most ideal system yet devised by man. I cannot conceive of a set of circumstances which would lead me to a different conclusion.
( John F. Kennedy, letter to Glenn L. Archer, February 23, 1959; from Albert Menendez and Edd Doerr, eds., The Great Quotations on Religious Liberty,Long Beach, CA: Centerline Press, 1991, p. 54. )
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) 18th U.S. President
Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the Church and the State forever Separate.
( Ulysses S. Grant, speech before the Army of the Tennessee, Des Moines, Iowa, 1875; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations ,Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983, pp. 287-288. )
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 26th U.S. President
I hold that in this country there must be complete severance of Church and State; that public moneys shall not be used for the purpose of advancing any particular creed; and therefore that the public schools shall be non-sectarian and no public moneys appropriated for sectarian schools.
( Theodore Roosevelt, New York public address, October 12, 1915. )
Millard Fillmore (1809-1865) 13th U.S. President
I am tolerant of all creeds. Yet if any sect suffered itself to be used for political objects I would meet it by political opposition. In my view church and state should be separate, not only in form, but fact. Religion and politics should not be mingled.
( Millard Fillmore, in an address during the 1856 Presidential election; from Albert Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Liberty, Long Beach, CA: Centerline Press, 1991, p. 35. )
Henry Clay (1777-1852) American Statesman
All religions united with government are more or less inimical to liberty. All separated from government, are compatible with liberty.
( Henry Clay, speech in the House of Representatives, March 24, 1818; from Daniel B. Baker, ed.,