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Claremont Discourse: Constitution Day

The First Amendment's Establishment Clause is a limitation on government, not individual motivation.  Accordingly, religion has driven much of American political history.  But there is a caveat: as Tocqueville warned, any alliance between religion and a political party is bound to hurt religion.

Jack Pitney is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College. He has served on the CMC faculty for 34 years. His most recent book is titled: Un-American: The Fake Patriotism of Donald J. Trump.


Barack Obama. (2006, June 28). Speech on Faith and Politics. Call to Renewal's Building a Covenant for a New America, Washington, D.C.

Dalia Fahmy. (2018, July 31). Americans are far more religious than adults in other wealthy nations. FACTANK: News in the Numbers.

Jack Pitney. (2013, August 25). References and Allusions in the "I Have a Dream Speech." Bessette Pitney Text.

Jeffrey M. Jones. (2019, April 18). U.S. Church Membership Down Sharply in Past Two Decades. Gallup News.

Megan Bashman, Myrna Brown, & Cal Thomas. (n.d.). Cal Thomas: No trust in princes (September 3, 2020).

Richard Russell (GA). Congressional Record (1964) p. 13309

Tocqueville, A. de. (2006). Democracy in America (J. P. Mayer, Ed.; G. Lawrence, Trans.). Harper Perennial Modern Classics