Separation of Church and State
The Constitution of the United States
· “The Separation of Church and State: Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America’s Founders” compiled by Forrest Church including the writings of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, George Washington and Patrick Henry – available through Amazon (including a Kindle version) and other sources
· “So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State” by Forrest Church –
Compose an eight page, double spaced essay in which you articulate the overarching themes of the founding fathers when it came to the separation of church and state. Your essay might very well address some if not many of the following questions:
What prompted early leaders of the United States to eschew establishing an official religion? What experiences led these leaders to be wary of intermingling state and church affairs? How were some religious groups treated differently than others? Why, for example, did Jefferson, have a need to compose a letter to the “Danbury Baptists?”
In instances when early political leaders did not agree (and they didn’t) on the role of religion in political life, how were those differences resolved (or not)?
Which writings did you, the student, find most compelling? Which theses were most persuasive?
And …. at some level, how did these readings challenge what you thought you knew – or what others think they know – about the stance and positions of these early leaders in our nation?
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