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Religion

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    The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America - Frank Lambert
    Call Number: BR516 .L29 2003
    ISBN: 9780691088297
    Publication Date: 2003-01-29
    How did the United States, founded as colonies with explicitly religious aspirations, come to be the first modern state whose commitment to the separation of church and state was reflected in its constitution? Frank Lambert explains why this happened, offering in the process a synthesis of American history from the first British arrivals through Thomas Jefferson's controversial presidency.

    Lambert recognizes that two sets of spiritual fathers defined the place of religion in early America: what Lambert calls the Planting Fathers, who brought Old World ideas and dreams of building a "City upon a Hill," and the Founding Fathers, who determined the constitutional arrangement of religion in the new republic. While the former proselytized the "one true faith," the latter emphasized religious freedom over religious purity.

    Lambert locates this shift in the mid-eighteenth century. In the wake of evangelical revival, immigration by new dissenters, and population expansion, there emerged a marketplace of religion characterized by sectarian competition, pluralism, and widened choice. During the American Revolution, dissenters found sympathetic lawmakers who favored separating church and state, and the free marketplace of religion gained legal status as the Founders began the daunting task of uniting thirteen disparate colonies. To avoid discord in an increasingly pluralistic and contentious society, the Founders left the religious arena free of government intervention save for the guarantee of free exercise for all. Religious people and groups were also free to seek political influence, ensuring that religion's place in America would always be a contested one, but never a state-regulated one.

    An engaging and highly readable account of early American history, this book shows how religious freedom came to be recognized not merely as toleration of dissent but as a natural right to be enjoyed by all Americans.

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    On Two Wings: humble faith and common sense at the American founding - Michael Novak
    Call Number: BL2525 .N68 2002
    ISBN: 9781893554689
    Publication Date: 2003-08-01
    The leaders of the American Revolution, unlike the leaders of the French revolution, did not set out to erase religion. Indeed, the very first act of the Continental Congress was to pray to Divine Providence in the face of the British bombardment of Boston. In establishing a new model of self-government, the Founders believed that they were not only acting according to reason and common sense, but also obeying a religious duty. Benjamin Franklin proposed as their motto: "Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God."

    In telling the story of the forgotten--if not deliberately ignored--role of faith in America's beginnings, Michael Novak probes the innermost religious conviction of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and other of our Founders. He shows that while the American eagle could not have taken flight without the empirical turn of mind embodied in John Locke's teaching on the ends of government and the consent of the governed, the men who made America also believed that liberty depends as much on faith as on reason.

    Michael Novak has written several prize-winning books on theology and philosophy. In On Two Wings he has created a profound mediation on American history, and on human nature and destiny as well.

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