So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State

7 Nov

So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State

So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State

Language: English

Pages: 544

ISBN: 0151011850

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Today’s dispute over the line between church and state (or the lack thereof) is neither the first nor the fiercest in our history. In a powerful retelling of the birth of the American body politic, religious historian Forrest Church describes our first great culture war—a tumultuous yet nearly forgotten conflict that raged from George Washington’s presidency to James Monroe’s. On one side of the battle, the proponents of order—Federalists, Congregationalists, New Englanders—believed that the only legitimate ruler of men is God. On the other side, the defenders of liberty—republicans, Baptists, Virginians—cheered the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, and believed that only the separation of church and state would preserve man’s freedom. Would we be a nation under God, or with liberty for all?

In this vigorous history, Forrest Church offers a new vision of our earliest presidents’ beliefs, reshaping assumptions about the debates that still reverberate across our land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

East, had few legitimate beefs. Far from being breached by an invasion of philosophes, Deists, and atheists (the specter that Timothy Dwight, Jedidiah Morse, and their fellow agitators prophesied would follow hard on an infidel victory), from the moment Jefferson entered office Christianity was on a roll. Deism in American actually appears to have declined during the early years of Jefferson’s presidency. The market for Deist clubs and papers, sponsored by liberal religious evangelists such as

the nation’s Constitutional Convention they argue that “In the fundamental articles of the government, the Almighty should be acknowledged as the supreme governor of nations and His revealed will taken as a standard of civil and political morals.” Thomas’s followers, raising banners proclaiming “LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE” and “Beware of hypocrisy and priestcraft,” counter that “To acknowledge the Almighty in our fundamental laws would be most unphilosophically ‘mixing the affairs of church and

but he firmly insisted that “The tendency to a usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between [church and state] will be best guarded against by an entire abstinence of the government from interference in any way whatever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order and protecting each sect against trespasses on its legal rights by others.” He then offered Reverend Adams a brief American history lesson. “The prevailing opinion in Europe, England not

lighten your hearts.” Petite, frail, and by all accounts beautiful, the auburn-haired Martha offered her cultivated husband musical accompaniment as well as connubial companionship. Reputed “mild and amiable,” she was admired by one contemporary for her “large expressive eyes of the richest shade of hazel.” “Too wise to wrinkle their foreheads with politics,” Jefferson’s idealized females, among whom Martha occupied his highest pedestal, were beckoned to “soothe and calm the minds of their

lighten your hearts.” Petite, frail, and by all accounts beautiful, the auburn-haired Martha offered her cultivated husband musical accompaniment as well as connubial companionship. Reputed “mild and amiable,” she was admired by one contemporary for her “large expressive eyes of the richest shade of hazel.” “Too wise to wrinkle their foreheads with politics,” Jefferson’s idealized females, among whom Martha occupied his highest pedestal, were beckoned to “soothe and calm the minds of their

Download sample

Download