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

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Harcourt, 2007 - History - 530 pages
8 Reviews
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.

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

User Review  - Chris - Goodreads

Effectively illustrates how the church vs. state arguments are decidedly not a recent features of American politics. Read full review

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

User Review  - Jim Hansen - Goodreads

Wonderful way to introduce us to our founding concepts and a great way to engage in discussions with people who have very different views about the values behind our founding Read full review

About the author (2007)

FORREST CHURCH is currently serving histhirtieth year as minister of All Souls Church in Manhattan. He earned his doctorate in church history at Harvard and has written or edited twenty-two books, including The Separation of Church and State. He lives in New York.

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