“Santorum, I don’t doubt his sincerity. But by the same token, I think there is no question that Republicans jumped on that mandate about contraception and accused Obama of a war on religion strictly as a partisan ploy.” – John M. Barry, author and historian
Some things never change. The separation of church and state – it’s an idea that goes back to the founding of the United States. But in this most religious of nations with the most secular of governments – it is still being challenged today.
Where and why did this struggle begin?
With the 2012 campaign coming back to this issue time and time again, acclaimed historian John M. Barry visited the Ellis Henican show to discuss his new book: “Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty”.
“For four hundred years, Americans have wrestled with and fought over two concepts that define the nature of the nation: the proper relation between church and state and between a free individual and the state. These debates began with the extraordinary thought and struggles of Roger Williams, who had an unparalleled understanding of the conflict between a government that justified itself by “reason of state”-i.e. national security-and its perceived “will of God” and the “ancient rights and liberties” of individuals.
“This is a story of power, set against Puritan America and the English Civil War. Williams’s interactions with King James, Francis Bacon, Oliver Cromwell, and his mentor Edward Coke set his course, but his fundamental ideas came to fruition in America, as Williams, though a Puritan, collided with John Winthrop’s vision of his “City upon a Hill.”
“Acclaimed historian John M. Barry explores the development of these fundamental ideas through the story of the man who was the first to link religious freedom to individual liberty, and who created in America the first government and society on earth informed by those beliefs. The story is essential to the continuing debate over how we define the role of religion and political power in modern American life.” – Amazon.com
Category: On the Radio