Supreme Court decision
By: Warren Earl Burger
Date: May 4, 1970 Source: Walz v. Tax Commission of City of New York. 397 U.S. 664 (1970). Available online at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=sear... ; website home page: (accessed March 1, 2003).
About the Author: Warren Earl Burger (1907–1995), born in St. Paul, Minnesota, earned a law degree from St. Paul College of Law in 1931. After a brief stint as assistant attorney general, he served as a judge in the United States Court of Appeals from 1956 to 1969. Burger, appointed by President Nixon, served as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1969 until 1986. Though generally conservative, he was noted for supporting civil rights and federal court system administrative reforms.
Tax exemptions for religious properties have been granted since the earliest days in American history. These exemptions were traditionally applied to educational and charitable groups—provided that they were being used exclusively for educational or charitable purposes—and could be found in all town, county, state, and federal tax laws.
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Islam, a Way of Life
By: Philip Khuri Hitti
Source: Hitti, Philip Khuri. Islam, a Way of Life. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1970, 2–4, 8–11, 54, 55.
About the Author: Philip Khuri Hitti (1886–1978) was born in Shimlan, Lebanon. He earned his bachelor's degree from the American University of Beirut in 1908 and his doctorate from Columbia University in 1915. He taught at Columbia from 1915 to 1920, at the American University of Beirut from 1920 to 1926, and at Princeton from 1926 to 1954. He was professor emeritus at Princeton from 1954 to 1978. He authored over a dozen books on Islam and the Arab culture.
In the 1970s, Islam was the religion of only a few million adherents in the United States, even though the world's population of Muslims was approaching almost one billion. The followers of Islam in the United States were mostly composed of Black Muslims, a predominantly African American religious group called the Nation of Islam, and immigrants from east Europe and surrounding areas of the Middle East, including Arabs.
According to a study on Muslims in America by Anayat Durrani, during the early twentieth century several hundred thousand Eastern European Muslims...
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Lemon v. Kurtzman
Supreme Court decision
By: Warren Earl Burger
Date: June 28, 1971
Source: Lemon v. Kurtzman. 403 U.S. 602 (1971). Available online at http://www.findlaw.com/01topics/06constitutional/cases2.html; website home page: http://www.findlaw.com/casecode/supreme.html (accessed February 26, 2003).
About the Author: Warren Earl Burger (1907–1995) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received a law degree from St. Paul College of Law in 1931, and served as assistant attorney general from 1953 to 1956. He was a judge in the United States Court of Appeals from 1956 to 1969. Appointed by President Nixon, Burger served as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1969 to 1986. Although usually conservative, Burger was noted for backing issues on civil rights and administrative reforms of the federal court system.
Historically, there have been many questions and dilemmas raised concerning the separation of church and state. The founders of the United States Constitution wished to make it very clear that there should never be a state-sponsored religion, that is, there should always be a distinct barrier...
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Wisconsin v. Yoder
Supreme Court decision
By: Warren Burger
Date: May 15, 1972
Source: Wisconsin v. Yoder. 406 U.S. 205 (1972). Available online at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=sear... ; website home page: (accessed February 26, 2003).
About the Author: Warren Earl Burger (1907–1995), born in St. Paul, Minnesota, received his law degree in 1931 from St. Paul College of Law. He served from 1953 to 1956 as an assistant attorney general. Burger was then appointed as a judge to the United States Court of Appeals, a position he held from 1956 to 1969. Nominated by President Nixon, he served as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1969 to 1986. Burger was noted for supporting federal court system administrative reforms and civil rights, even though he generally took conservative positions.
The Amish religion traces its roots to Anabaptist Christians, who separated from the Mennonites in Europe in the late seventeenth century. The Anabaptists were members of a religious movement in sixteenth century Europe who believed in the primacy of the Bible, in baptism as an outward sign of the believer's...
(The entire section is 3000 words.)
American Judaism: Adventure in Modernity
By: Jacob Neusner
Source: Neusner, Jacob. American Judaism: Adventure in Modernity. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1972, vii–viii, 1–3, 151–153.
About the Author: Jacob Neusner (1932–) was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He received an A.B. from Harvard in 1953, an M.H.L. from Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1960, and a Ph.D. from Columbia in 1960. He has taught at various universities, including Columbia University, Dartmouth, and Brown. Neusner has also lectured at Yale, Notre Dame, and Oxford, among others. His hundreds of articles and books on Judaism have earned him the reputation of an expert in his field.
By the 1970s, some American Jewish families were entering into their fourth and fifth generations in the United States. These were people who descended from Jews who had immigrated to the United States between the period of 1880 and 1920. The question of the Jewish identity in America was on the minds of many Jewish scholars, rabbis, and laity.
Troublesome questions concerning the future of Judaism were being raised. Was the American Jew of the 1970s "vanishing?" Would many Jews become so assimilated into American culture that...
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Roe v. Wade
Supreme Court decision
By: Harry Andrew Blackmun
Date: January 22, 1973
Source: Roe v. Wade. 410 U.S. 113 (1973). Available online at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=sear... ; website home page: (accessed March 1, 2003).
About the Author: Harry Andrew Blackmun (1908–1999) was born in Nashville, Illinois. He graduated from Harvard in 1929 and received his law degree from that same university. From 1950 to 1959 he served as the general counsel to the Mayo Clinic. Following that position, he was appointed a federal circuit court judge. In 1970, he was installed as a Supreme Court judge, a position he held until 1994. Blackmun was noted as a strong supporter of church-state separation and civil rights.
For a number of personal, social, or medical reasons, a woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy might decide to continue the pregnancy to its completion and possibly put the child up for adoption, or she might believe that an abortion was the right answer for her. If she chose the latter up until the early 1970s, her access to a safe abortion was limited by the laws of the state where she...
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"Boundary of Jewish-Christian Understanding"
By: Dale Stover
Source: Stover, Dale. "Boundary of Jewish-Christian Understanding." Christian Century, June 26, 1974, 668–671. Available online at (accessed February 26, 2003).
About the Author: Dale Stover received his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in 1957. He also earned a Bachelor of Divinity in 1961 and a Master of Sacred Theology in 1964 from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Center, Massachusetts. In 1967, he received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at McGill University in Montreal. He became a professor of religious studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1968.
Anti-Semitism has taken many forms in the past two thousand years: hostility, prejudice, discrimination, and segregation directed at Jews or Judaism. The German Nazis during the World War II era (1939–1945) conducted a systematic policy of genocide toward Jews, resulting in the death of at least six million people.
Anti-Semitism in the United States after the ending of Word War II took both overt and covert forms. Some Jews were denied access to certain jobs and social activities, like clubs, fraternal groups, and other associations. Restrictive real estate covenants...
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"Will the Real Evangelical Please Stand Up?"
By: Lerond Curry
Date: May 26, 1976
Source: Curry, Lerond. "Will the Real Evangelical Please Stand Up?" Christian Century, May 26, 1976, 512–516. Available online at (accessed March 1, 2003).
About the Author: Lerond Curry (1938–) was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky. After receiving his doctorate from Florida State University in 1967, he became a professor of history and religion at Western Kentucky University, a position he held until 1970, at which time he joined Averett College as a professor of religion. Curry is a noted Ecumenical Christian and wrote Protestant-Catholic Relations in America: World War I Through Vatican II (1972).
The term "evangelical," as used in European Christianity, referred to the followers of Protestant Reformer Martin Luther (1483–1546). In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Methodists in England were called Evangelicals. In the United States during the 1930s and 1940s, fundamentalist Christians were also known as Evangelicals. Several evangelists during the 1970s became familiar names to Americans because of their television programs: Billy Graham, Robert Schuller, Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Paul Crouch, Jim Bakker, Tammy...
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Fully Human, Fully Alive
By: John Powell
Source: Powell, John. Fully Human, Fully Alive. Niles, Illinois: Argus Communications, 1976, 169, 170–171, 176–178, 179–180, 181–185.
About the Author: John Joseph Powell (1925–), born in Chicago, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest. He earned degrees in theology, psychology, classics, and English. For many years, he was a professor of theology at Loyola University of Chicago, and throughout his career, he wrote several best-selling books. Among them are Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? (1965), Why Am I Afraid to Love? (1975) and Touched by God: My Pilgrimage of Prayer (1996).
Religious observers have often commented that the latter half of the twentieth century could be characterized as a time when many Americans experienced a great spiritual void. Traditional religious beliefs and practices, a source of comfort to their parents and previous generations, were no longer applicable to the lives of many people.
In these people, there was a deep spiritual hunger, as expressed by searching for meaning in their lives and deeper ways of relating to God. Many people expressed a fundamental unhappiness with their day-to-day...
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By: Andrew M. Greeley
Source: Greeley, Andrew M. The American Catholic: A Social Portrait. New York: Basic Books, 1977, 9–12, 126–127.
About the Author: Andrew Moran Greeley (1928–) was born in Oak Park, Illinois. An ordained Catholic priest and distinguished sociologist, Greeley is also a prolific author, having written more than thirty novels and hundreds of scholarly and popular articles on religion, education, and various issues in sociology. Greeley is a professor of sociology, and has been awarded numerous honors for his writing and research.
Ever since the major immigration cycles of European Catholics to the United States in the early twentieth century, Roman Catholics have faced the major task of adapting to a predominantly Protestant-based culture. As the decades passed, many of these Catholic immigrants gradually became accepted as "good" Americans by Protestants and other non-Catholics, even though they retained their religious allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church. But there were still many misconceptions about who these Catholics were and what they really believed. Andrew Greeley became aware of the need to explain the Catholic experience in America and to reduce the...
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Turning Your Stress Into Strength
By: Robert Harold Schuller
Source: Schuller, Robert Harold. Turning Your Stress Into Strength. Irvine, Calif.: Harvest House, 1978, 9–13, 141–144.
About the Author: Robert Harold Schuller (1926–) was born in Alton, Iowa. He received a bachelor's degree at Hope College in 1947, a bachelor of divinity at Western Theological Seminary in 1950, and a doctor of divinity at Hope College in 1973. He was ordained by the Reformed Church in America in 1950. In 1955 he became the founder and pastor of Garden Grove Community Church in California. He is noted for his television ministry that started in 1970 and for his dozens of religious books.
The time period from the end of World War II (1939–1945) through the decade of the 1970s was one of marked stress for the average American. Instead of enjoying the "peace" that followed the completion of a devastating global war, a new set of stresses began to emerge. The "cold war" between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics involved the possibilities of a nuclear confrontation between the Western democratic countries and the Communist nations. The "hot" Korean War (1950–1953) resulted in the death of many American soldiers. The Cuban...
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"Capital Punishment: The Question of Justification"
By: David A. Hoekema
Date: March 28, 1979
Source: Hoekema, David A. "Capital Punishment: The Question of Justification," Christian Century, March 28, 1979, 338. Available online at (accessed March 1, 2003).
About the Author: David Andrew Hoekema (1950–) was born in Peterson, New Jersey. He earned a bachelor's degree from Calvin College in 1972 and a doctorate from Princeton University in 1981. In addition to teaching philosophy at various colleges Hoekema has written several books on Christianity.
The issue of capital punishment during the 1970s received a great deal of discussion in the religious as well as the legal arenas. On June 29 1972, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment since juries were found to impose it in arbitrary manners. The death penalty was found to be unconstitutional, and all existing death sentences and death penalty laws in all the states were invalidated.
During the 1970s, a rapidly rising rate of violent crime brought calls for the restoration of the death penalty in America, especially as the punishment for certain kinds of murder. Four years after the 1972 ruling, the...
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"Women Clergy: How Their Presence Is Changing the Church"
By: Nancy Hardesty, Beverly Anderson, Suzanne Hiatt, Letty Russell and Barbara Brown Zikmund
Source: Symposium, "Women Clergy: How Their Presence Is Changing the Church." Christian Century, February 7–14, 1979, 122. Available online at (accessed March 1, 2003).
Prior to the 1950s, most church ministries consisted primarily of men. A few denominations allowed women ministers (for example, in 1853 the Congregationalists ordained the first woman to the ministry), but those denominations were more the exception than the rule. Between the early 1950s and the later 1970s, however, five major denominations—Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians—reversed their opposition to the ordination of women and opened the doors for female clergy. This led to a dramatic increase in the enrollment of women in seminary schools—as much as 120 percent in the 1970s alone.
Even though there was a greater percentage of women in the role of church pastors in the 1970s as compared to previous decades, many of these women ministers found themselves, at times, ignored by or isolated from their male colleagues. Breaking the traditional barriers that many churches had against women ministers was...
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Brothers and Sisters to Us
By: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Source: Office for Social Justice, Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, "Catholic Social Teaching: Brothers and Sisters to Us, U.S. Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism, 1979." Available online at (accessed February 26, 2003).
About the Organization: Existing as an official assembly of the hierarchy of clergy, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has several functions; some of them are guiding church activities, administering charitable work, aiding education, and caring for immigrants. Tracing its beginnings to 1917, the organization of bishops has its headquarters in Washington, D.C., with two other offices: the Office of Migration and Refugee Services in Miami and the Office of Film and Broadcasting in New York City.
From the time when America was nothing more than thirteen colonies, justification for the enslavement of African slaves has been bolstered by white religious groups. The Christian churches—predominantly Protestant—during that time period often looked toward the Bible and other religious sources to justify the treatment of the enslaved. Some of these churches preached that not only was the slave an inferior...
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