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The Separation of Church and State: Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America's Founders


The Separation of Church and State: Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America's Founders Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Now in paperback, a primer of essential writings about one of the cornerstones of our democracy by the original authors of the Constitution, edited by preeminant liberal theologian Forrest Church.

Americans will never stop debating the question of church-state separation, and such debates invariably lead back to the nation’s beginnings and the founders’ intent. The Separation of Church and State presents a basic collection of the founders’ teachings on this topic. This concise primer gets past the rhetoric that surrounds the current debate, placing the founders’ vivid writings on religious liberty in historical perspective. Edited and with running commentary by Forrest Church, this important collection informs anyone curious about the original blueprint for our country and its government.

About the Author

The Separation of Church and State contains essays by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, John Adams, Patrick Henry, George Mason, Samuel Adams, and other original writers of the Constitution. Forrest Church (1948-2009) served almost three decades as senior minister and was Minister of Public Theology of All Souls, a Unitarian Universalist congregation in New York City. He was educated at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Harvard University, where he received his PhD in early church history. He wrote or edited twenty-five books, including Life Lines, Lifecraft, The American Creed, Freedom from Fear, So Help Me God, Love & Death, and The Cathedral of the World.

Table of Contents


1. Patrick Henry: In Defense of Religious Liberty

2. Samuel Adams: The Rights of the Colonists

3. Isaac Backus: Baptist Appeals for Religious Liberty

4. George Mason: Colonial Declarations of Rights: Virginia; John Adams: Colonial Declarations of Rights: Massachusetts

5. Caleb Wallace: Memorial of the Hanover Presbytery

6. Thomas Jefferson: Notes on the State of Virginia

7. James Madison: Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

8. Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

9. Oliver Ellsworth: The Landholder, No. 7

10. John Leland: The Rights of Conscience

11. George Washington: Letters on Religious Laws

12. George Washington: Farewell Address (Selections)

13. The Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11

14. Thomas Jefferson: A Wall of Separation

Epilogue—James Madison: A Detached Memorandum

Appendix—Richard Price: Of Liberty of Conscience and Civil Establishment of Religion



Product Details

Church, Forrest (edt)
Beacon Press (MA)
Church, Forrest
Church & State
Religion Western-Social and Political Issues
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
6.97 x 4.5 x 0.49 in 0.36 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » Constitutional Law
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
Religion » Western Religions » American Religion
Religion » Western Religions » Social and Political Issues

The Separation of Church and State: Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America's Founders New Trade Paper
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Product details 176 pages Beacon Press - English 9780807077474 Reviews:
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