Round Table: The Christmas Wars--Religion in the American Public Square

Source Organization: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

12/12/2006 - Every year as the holiday season gets underway, debates break out across the country over the appropriateness of religious displays in public spaces, such as crèches and menorahs placed in town halls. But the so-called "Christmas Wars" are only a small part of a much larger debate concerning the proper place of religion in public life, a debate that began at the nation's founding. How did America's founders view religion and its role in our country's development? And how does the debate over church and state continue to inform politics today?

The Pew Forum invited Jon Meacham, managing editor of Newsweek and author of American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation, and Michael Novak, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Washington's God: Religion, Liberty and the Father of Our Country, to shed light on these questions.

Moderator: Luis Lugo, Director, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Read the full transcript at

For more information about the Christmas wars, see the Pew Forum's recently published legal backgrounder on public displays of religion.

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