The Lustre of Our Country: The American Experience of Religious Freedom

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University of California Press, 1998 - Political Science - 436 pages
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A New York Times Notable Book
This remarkable work offers a fresh approach to a freedom that is often taken for granted in the United States, yet is one of the strongest and proudest elements of American culture: religious freedom. In this compellingly written, distinctively personal book, Judge John T. Noonan asserts that freedom of religion, as James Madison conceived it, is an American invention previously unknown to any nation on earth. The Lustre of Our Country demonstrates how the idea of religious liberty is central to the American experience and to American influence around the world.
Noonan's original book is a history of the idea of religious liberty and its relationship with the law. He begins with an intellectual autobiography, describing his own religious and legal training. After setting the stage with autobiography, Noonan turns to history, with each chapter written in a new voice. One chapter takes the form of a catechism (questions and answers), presenting the history of the idea of religious freedom in Christianity and the American colonies. Another chapter on James Madison argues that Madison's support of religious freedom was not purely secular but rather the outcome of his own religious beliefs. A fictional sister of Alexis de Toqueville writes, contrary to her brother's work, that the U.S. government is very closely tied to religion. Other chapters offer straightforward considerations of constitutional law.
Throughout the book, Noonan shows how the free exercise of religion led to profound changes in American law--he discusses abolition, temperance, and civil rights--and how the legal notion of religious liberty influenced revolutionary France, Japan, and Russia, as well as the Catholic Church during Vatican II. The Lustre of Our Country is a celebration of religious freedom--a personal and profound statement on what the author considers America's greatest moral contribution to the world. A New York Times Notable Book
This remarkable work offers a fresh approach to a freedom that is often taken for granted in the United States, yet is one of the strongest and proudest elements of American culture: religious freedom. In this compellingly written, distinctively personal book, Judge John T. Noonan asserts that freedom of religion, as James Madison conceived it, is an American invention previously unknown to any nation on earth. The Lustre of Our Country demonstrates how the idea of religious liberty is central to the American experience and to American influence around the world.
Noonan's original book is a history of the idea of religious liberty and its relationship with the law. He begins with an intellectual autobiography, describing his own religious and legal training. After setting the stage with autobiography, Noonan turns to history, with each chapter written in a new voice. One chapter takes the form of a catechism (questions and answers), presenting the history of the idea of religious freedom in Christianity and the American colonies. Another chapter on James Madison argues that Madison's support of religious freedom was not purely secular but rather the outcome of his own religious beliefs. A fictional sister of Alexis de Toqueville writes, contrary to her brother's work, that the U.S. government is very closely tied to religion. Other chapters offer straightforward considerations of constitutional law.
Throughout the book, Noonan shows how the free exercise of religion led to profound changes in American law--he discusses abolition, temperance, and civil rights--and how the legal notion of religious liberty influenced revolutionary France, Japan, and Russia, as well as the Catholic Church during Vatican II. The Lustre of Our Country is a celebration of religious freedom--a personal and profound statement on what the author considers America's greatest moral contribution to the world.
 

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THE LUSTRE OF OUR COUNTRY: The American Experience of Religious Freedom

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A thoughtful examination of American religious freedom from a US circuit court judge and retired law professor (Univ. of Calif., Berkeley). Much has been written about America's unique guarantee of ... Read full review

The lustre of our country: the American experience of religious freedom

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The United States stands out among nations in its experience of religious freedom--a freedom, argues Noonan, that is unique among nations, though other countries like Japan and France have learned ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction I
2
PROLOGUE
3
William Cardinal OConnell archbishop of Boston 1936
13
Boston 192619 5 6
19
PART ONE HISTORY
39
To Kill a Quaker to Beat a Baptist Religious Liberty before the Revolution
41
JMs Original Insight
59
The Foremost of Our Political Institutions
93
The Pilgrims Process
179
Frontispiece to Thomas Hobbes Leviathan 1641
211
Durkheims Dilemma
214
Martyrs and Crusaders
239
The Flicker from the Forest
263
In Behalf of the Supreme Commander
285
American Advisers American Missionaries
305
The Light of Revelation and the Lustre of America
329

God Is Marching On
117
The Sorceress and the Source
139
PART TWO PROBLEMS
177
Ten Commandments
357
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

John T. Noonan Jr. has served as Judge on the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit since 1986. He is Robbins Professor Emeritus at Boalt School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of prize-winning work in history, philosophy, and theology. His books include Bribes (California, 1988) and The Antelope: The Ordeal of the Recaptured Africans in the Administrations of James Monroe and John Quincy Adams (California, 1977).

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