Government and the public

This is an attempt to find out how effectively the US constitutional doctrine of keeping the public sphere and state apparatus out of the influence of a particular (often dominant) religion has succeeded. It is argued that the public sphere, state and judiciary in the US have only partially succeeded in keeping dominant religion at an arm’s length. This paper is specifically about the institutional biases that exist in the society in favor of dominant religion even as constitutionally, equality and separation of religion from the state is guaranteed.
The separation of church and state has been a subject of interest for many social observers and authors. Wald and Calhoun-Brown (2014) have given a nearly comprehensive account of this conflict in their book titled, Religion and Politics in the United States. The book in its first chapter itself, has articulated that “religion remains an important political factor in the United States” (Wald and Calhoun-Brown, 2014, p.1). Wald and Calhoun-Brown (2014) further in chapter 4 of their book have given a nuanced account of how tricky the business of dealing with religion can be for state. The different ways of defining the possible conflict areas between church and state, namely, the “”boundary” problem”, “”the wall of separation” between church and state” and “the “free exercise” controversy” (Wald and Calhoun-Brown, 2014) point towards the grey areas that exist. By citing examples and history of the United States of America as coming of age as an organized state, Wald and Calhoun-Brown (2014) in this chapter have revealed how the growing democratic and equality based principles of state molded the secular nature of the same. They (Wald and Calhoun-Brown, 2014) also have demonstrated how state as a political entity needed to distance itself from religion so that a coherent nation could come to being. What Wald and Calhoun-Brown (2014) have concluded in this chapter is that