The Flynn T. Harrell Collection on the Separation of Church and State Endowment Fund benefits South Carolina Political Collections (SCPC) by supporting the acquisition, processing, and preservation of collections specifically relating to the separation of church and state and more generally, government and religion. Harrell’s papers are being collected by SCPC and document Harrell’s distinguished career and the issue of the separation of church and state.
Flynn Harrell, ’56, served as an executive assistant to Attorney General Travis Medlock, chaired Gov. Dick Riley’s Task Force on Critical Human Needs, and was a member of the State Ethics Commission. He served for twenty-one years as the business/financial officer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and as its president in 1987. He has also served as president of the South Caroliniana Society, on the Board of Visitors of the Wake Forest University Divinity School, and on the advisory council of the Center on Religion in the South at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.
Harrell described his lifelong interest in the separation of church and state for an article of the USC Libraries’ publication Reflections.
“Having grown up as a Baptist, I was exposed to the historic belief of that denomination as to religious liberty and its corollary the separation of church and state. I found the subject fascinating and concluded that separation was in the best interest of both government and religion. . . . I believe many Americans do not understand Thomas Jefferson’s reference to a “wall of separation” between church and state. They have not reflected upon how well our constitutionally-guaranteed religious liberty has served both religion and government. And they have not comprehended the weakness of religion in those nations which do not mandate such separation. This freedom is far more inclusive than where there is an officially-established state church. It did not work in the early days of the colonies, and it would work even less today in our vastly increased pluralistic society.. . .
The culmination of a lifetime of involvement in the cause of religious liberty has resulted in our gift to South Carolina Political Collections in the University Libraries of books, journals, an extensive clipping collection and correspondence of forty-five years.” [Reflections, 2009]
View the Harrell, Flynn T., Collection on the Separation of Church and State from South Carolina Political Collections.