Publication Date


Document Type



Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


Published in The Western Australian Jurist 2:1 2001, 61-92.


As the state extends its operations into all areas of social life, it breaches the protective 'wall of separation' that has traditionally kept the church free from overt regulation by the civil authorities. This is manifested in several ways: first, a statutory extension of state police powers through social legislation; second, a restriction or pre-emption of certain activities that were once held to be outside the purview of the state; third, a vitiation of the principle of religious non-interference through judicial interpretations of the First Amendment; and fourth, an adversary posture toward churches taken by many agencies of the state while pursuing their regulatory objectives. As a consequence, churches are facing novel restraints on their ecclesiastical or corporate rights, immunities, and privileges. Originally written in 1984, this piece is updated by a brief review of subsequent developments that addressed many of these concerns.