Thursday, July 07, 2005

Historical Separation of Church and State

I rarely look to Andrew Jackson for a model of how a president should act. However, one case stands out. In 1832, a vicious cholera epidemic shook the western world. Many Americans claimed that the epidemic was worse in France than England because France was an atheist country while the British government had announced a day of prayer and fasting so God would end the epidemic. When cholera reached the US later that year, many citizens urged Andrew Jackson to follow in Britain's example and have a national day of prayer. Jackson refused on constitutional grounds.

From Yi-Fu Tuan, Landscapes of Fear, p.94.