Religious Liberty in America

This course traces the development of religious liberty from the Bible and the Early Church through the Middle Ages and the pluralism of the Reformation, across the Atlantic to the English Colonies, and then on to the Revolutionary War and ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights with their unprecedented guarantee of religious liberty.

Session Titles

1.Introduction: Religion, the State, and the Bible
2.A Pinch of Incense: The Roman Empire and the Early Christians
3.Broken Uniformity: The Middle Ages, Christendom, and the Reformation
4.Early Experiments: Rhode Island, Maryland, and Pennsylvania
5.Religion & the Founders: Understanding Jefferson and Madison through Carroll
6.We the People: Government, Guarantees, and Politics as Usual

From the late eighteenth to the early twenty-first centuries, the way Americans viewed religion changed radically and with it, the application of religious freedom changed radically. Religion, once a source of objective truth about God, life, and the human person, became “mere beliefs and opinions” that may or may not deserve freedom or even respect.

Session Titles

1.Religious Liberty in the Early Republic
2.The “Wall of Separation”: From Metaphor to Monster
3.“Popery” in America
4.Across the Great Divide: Religion and Religious Liberty from 1960-1980
5.Storm Clouds Gathering
6.The Cloudburst and the Future

Taught by:

James Tonkowich

James Tonkowich, D.Min.

Special Advisor to the President for Strategic Initiatives
Cowboy Headshot

Kevin Roberts, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President of the Texas Public Policy Foundation