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U. S. Christian Heritage. Christian Roots of the U.S. U. S. Christian Heritage. Western Worldview Development. Christian Foundation Worldview. Christian Foundation Worldview. Bridging The Gap. Renaissance 14 th Century. Other Spiritual Worldview. Enlightenment

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u s christian heritage

U. S. Christian Heritage

Christian Roots of the U.S.

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U. S. Christian Heritage

Western Worldview Development

Christian Foundation

Worldview

Christian Foundation

Worldview

Bridging

The Gap

Renaissance

14th Century

Other Spiritual Worldview

Enlightenment

17th -18th Century

Secular Worldview

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U. S. Christian Heritage

One God in History – Biblical Timeline

  • One God revealed in Old Testament
    • Creation
    • Adam & Eve
    • Noah
    • Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
    • Moses
    • King David
  • Promise of Savior revealed in New Testament
    • Jesus
    • Apostles
    • Church
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U. S. Christian Heritage

One God in History – Biblical Timeline

  • Church’s first centuries.
    • Apostles and prophets
    • Growth from Jewish roots to primarily Gentile movement
    • Minority group within the Roman Empire
    • Persecuted movement
      • Committed in the face of persecution (letter from Pliny to Trajan)
    • Emulated Jesus
      • Preaching the Kingdom
      • Serving people
      • Continuing under persecution
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom to Great Awakening Timeline

  • Post-Apostolic (100-312)
    • Polycarp – Bishop of Smyrna (155 martyred)
    • Schools and early church missionaries and teachers
      • Alexandria – Egypt
        • Pantaenus of Alexandria (?-194), Clement (150-215), Origen (185-251)
      • Carthage – North Africa
        • Tertullian (165-240), Cyprian (200-258)
      • Antioch – Syria
        • Ignatius of Antioch (50-110) martyred under Trajan, Tatian (110-172), Justin Martyr (103-165)
      • Rome – Italy
        • Papius (70-155), Irenaeus (120-202), Eusibius (266-340)
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom to Great Awakening Timeline

  • Ecclesiatical Period (312-500)
    • Constantinianism – legal establishment of the church by the Emperor Constantine
      • Edict of Milan A.D. 312 - official religion of Rome
      • Church and State interdependent
    • Rise of Monasticism
      • Ulifilas (311-380)
      • St. Ninian (360-432)
      • St. Patrick (389-461)
      • Augustine (354-430)
    • Sack of Rome in 410
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom to Great Awakening Timeline

  • European Period (500-950) Middle Ages (5th to 15th centuries)
    • Development of the Catholic Church
    • Christendom – refers to a political and ecclesiastical arrangement that indicates a relationship between the church and state.
    • Nestorians to China
    • Rise of Islam
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom to Great Awakening Timeline

  • Northern Movement Period (950-1350)
    • Decline of Christianity in North Africa and Middle East
    • Crusades
    • Raymond of Lull
    • Late monastic orders
    • Independent church movements
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom to Great Awakening Timeline

  • Church Corruption & Renewal Period (1350-1500)
    • Renewal movements – Lollards, Hussites
    • Monastic order – Jesuits (1540)
  • Reformation Period (1500-1750)
    • Martin Luther (1517)
    • Church of England separates from Catholic Church (1534)
    • American colonies founded
      • Virginia (1607) to Georgia (1732)
    • Beginning of the Great Awakening (1720-1760)
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom to Great Awakening Timeline

  • Europe to New World
    • Early Reformers in England
      • John Wycliffe (1328-1384)
        • “Morning Star” of the reformation
        • Authority of scripture above church
        • Put scripture into English – after death Wycliffe Bible
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom to Great Awakening Timeline

  • Europe to New World
    • Early Reformers in England
      • William Tyndale of Oxford(1494-1536)
        • “Father of the English Bible”
        • Question beliefs of the Church of England
        • Translated the Bible into English from original Greek & Hebrew, probably protected by Luther
        • Strangled and burnt at the stake
      • King Henry VIII published English “Great Bible in 1539
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom to Great Awakening Timeline

  • William Tyndale (1494-1536)
        • Lollards movement (mumblers?)
        • Emphasized the scripture as final authority
        • Scripture available to all believers
        • Denied church temporal (secular) authority
        • Lay preaching
        • Denied transubstantiation
        • Used the Bible in English (put Vulgate into English)
        • Pacifistic
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom to Great Awakening Timeline

  • William Tyndale (1494-1536)
        • Denied purgatory
        • Denied priestly celibacy
        • Denied hierarchy of the church
        • Condemned pilgrimages, auricular confessions, veneration of images (Mt. 16:19; 18:11)
        • Rejected prayers for the dead
        • Rejected art in church
    • Statute passed in 1401 saying that those who do not recant are to be burned at the stake.
      • Underground movement after 1414 when leader was hanged
    • 1530 merges with Reformation
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Continuing Reformation

  • Reformation and Protestant churches – often State sponsored (Luther 1517, Calvin d. 1564)
    • Magisterial Reformation – continued with interdependence on secular rule
    • Reform in theology and ecclesiology
  • Radical Reformers (1521 – Anabaptists)
    • Radical Reformation – disconnect from state and restore church

Martin Luther

John Calvin

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U. S. Christian Heritage

Continuing Reformation

  • Church of England separated from Catholic (1534)
    • During Reformation
    • No separation of church & State - State religion
  • First Great Awakening - North America had numerous Christian traditions (1720-1760)
    • Revolutionary war – rebel against tyranny
  • Second Great Awakening (1800 - 1870)
    • Revivals and reform movements
    • Restoration movement influenced by this
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Continuing Reformation

  • Europe to New World
    • Reformation Movement (Religion)
      • Luther’s ninety-five Theses Oct. 31, 1517
      • Search for religious freedom with Protestant diversity
  • Queen Mary I (1516-1558) (1553-58)
    • Catholic and persecuted “heretics'”
    • John Rogers first martyr “That which I preached I would seal with my blood” even walked by his family to be killed
    • Killed over 300 “heretics”
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Continuing Reformation

  • Queen Elizabeth (1533-1603) (reigned 1558-1603)
    • Pro-Protestant - persecuted Puritans and Pilgrims
    • Church of England kept a lot of the Catholic liturgy.
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Continuing Reformation

  • King James I (1603-1625)
    • Pro-Protestant - persecution continues of Catholics, Puritans and Pilgrims
    • King James Bible 1611
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Western World Heritage

  • Puritans – developed in 1500s
    • “Sola Scritura” – scripture only
    • Non-conformists
    • Purifying the church of wrong practices
    • Return to the Bible as authority
    • Press for more Christian laws
    • Apply Bible to daily living
      • Thomas Gouge, William Bridge, Thomas Manton, John Flavel, Richard Sibbes, Stephen Charnock, William Bates, John Owen, John Howe, Richard Baxter
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Western World Heritage

  • People searching for religious and political freedom
    • Puritans fled to Holland
    • Very scholarly group with many intellectuals
    • Politically active
  • Puritan (purify church)
    • Main group landed in New England in 1630
    • Did not object to a State church
    • Agreed with Pilgrims that the Anglican church was corrupt
    • Believe they need to stay in order to reform it.
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Pilgrims – Separatists
    • Took Pilgrims name in 1596 indicating on passing through this world
    • Jamestown (1607)
    • Mayflower at Plymouth Rock (1620)
  • Pilgrims were separatists – church of England too corrupt so needed to separate and start own church
  • Pilgrims & Puritans shared many of the reform Protestant beliefs of Calvin (d. 1564) so were primarily Calvinists
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Pilgrims
    • By 1700 the Pilgrims had merged with Puritans
    • Boettner estimates that two-thirds of 3,000,000 colonists were trained in Calvinism.
    • By 1760 Puritans & Anglicans 40%
    • By 1790 about 2.5%
  • Great Awakening (1720-1760)
    • Wesleys
    • George Whitefield
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Great Awakening (1720-1760)
    • George Whitefield
      • Attended Oxford with Wesley brothers
      • Preached to groups of thousands
      • Revivalism and emotion
      • More on morals and experience of Christ than “doctrine”
  • A founders of Methodism with John & Charles Wesley
  • Students at Harvard and Yale were highly involved in this movement but facultywould oppose it
  • Whitefield called for conversion of “negroes”
  • Own university started – Princeton (1741)
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Great Awakening (1730-1760)
    • Many religious groups but with shared view
    • No longer saw the chain of authority as God, rulers or clergy, then people
  • People began to see the chain of authority as God, people, and rulers
  • More emphasis on the priesthood of all believers rather than clergy
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Influence of religious concepts
    • Calvinistic theological perspective
    • Total depravity (TULIP)
      • Humanity fell from an ideal state and a person cannot save himself.
      • A person is not incapable of good but tends towards selfish motives
      • Founders did not envision an utopian view of government
      • Both leaders and the people need controls
      • Calvin founded first Protestant University in Geneva
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • TULIP
    • Total Depravity(also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
    • Unconditional Election
    • Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
    • Irresistible Grace
    • Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Influence of religious concepts
    • Priesthood of all believers
      • Emphasis on people having direct access to God as opposed to intermediaries such as priest
    • Education Emphasis
      • Emphasis on reading and knowing the Bible made education an highly important part of Christian life
      • Colonial America had a high literacy rate compared to other parts of the world.
early universities christianity
Early Universities & Christianity

Harvard (1636)

“For Christ and the Church”

Yale (1701)

“Light and Truth”

Hebrew = Urim & Thummin

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Early Universities & Christianity

Princeton (1741)

“Under God’s Power She Flourishes”

Dartmouth College (1769)

“A voice crying out in the wilderness”

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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • First Protestant Colleges
    • Puritans founded Harvard College in 1636 (six years after arriving in New World);
      • seal Christo et Ecclesiae “for Christ and the Church”
    • Yale founded (1701) by Connecticut Puritans who were afraid Harvard was moving away from Calvinism
    • Princeton (Presbyterians, 1741)
    • Brown (Baptists, 1764)
    • Dartmouth (Congregationalists, 1769)
    • “Virtually with out exception, American colleges begun in the colonial era were created by Protestants with the explicit purpose of training Christian leaders in the church and society” (Ostrander 39, Soul of a Christian University)
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • First Church of England Colleges
    • College of William and Mary (1693)
    • Academy of Philadelphia – Univ. of Pennsylvania (1740)
    • King’s College - Columbia (1754)
  • 15 of the first 16 colleges founded were founded by Christian groups
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Christianity in colonial North America (17th century)
    • New England colonies - Puritan established the congregational Church
    • Southern colonies - Anglican church influence
    • Middle colonies - Reformed from Holland; Lutherans from Germany; Presbyterians from Scotland, Mennonites and Quakers
    • Roman Catholic immigrants
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Christianity in colonial North America (17th century)
    • Gave rise to a church culture of various types
    • Churches were central institutions in American public life
      • Influenced policy, morals, and institutions while building many private institutions
  • Christianity was in the DNA of American culture before the Revolutionary War
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Influence of religious concepts
    • Biblical law
      • Saw in the Bible unchanging principles that are relevant to modern society
    • Covenant Theology
      • Covenant of law and Covenant of grace
      • Concept applied to civil government
      • Rev. Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) – The Law and the Prince
        • Ruler derive their authority from God through the people
      • John Locke based his political theories on Rutherford
        • Protect basic rights – life, liberty and property
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Influence of religious concepts
    • Limited government
      • People give government limited authority
      • It is conditional and the people have the right to terminate the covenant and rebel if necessary
      • In the war of Independence the slogan was: “Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God.”
    • Local church government
      • Presbyterian church government was practiced (not Catholic or Anglican) with local synods
      • Congregational church government was even more decentralized.
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Founding Fathers
    • Knew the diversity of Christianity
    • Diverse in their own thinking
    • Ranged from Deists to very Bible based believers
    • Knew the abuse of a state religion
    • Recognized Christianity as integral to moral instruction
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Founding Fathers influence by the Enlightenment
    • Enlightenment (17th century) and Age of Reason
      • Question traditional Christian beliefs
      • Autonomy of the individual
      • Unaided human reason able to discover, morality, happiness and truth
      • If God, he was not involved in the world
      • Focus on human reason and nature
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Founding Fathers and Religious Roots

  • Deism
    • From the Latin word deus, God
    • 17th and 18th centuries the term was identified with a kind of theism based on reason and natural religion
    • Holds that God created the universe
    • Holds that universe operates by immutable natural laws with little or no divine intervention
    • Continental Deists, Rousseau, Voltaire, Kant
    • U.S. Founding Fathers, Franklin, Paine, Jefferson (Unitarian?)
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Founding Fathers and Religious Roots

  • Deism beliefs with variations:
    • Belief in a supreme being
    • Obligation to worship the supreme being
    • Provides a level of ethical conduct
    • Belief in divine rewards and punishment in this life and after
    • Denied miracles
    • Denied Trinity, incarnation, and atonement
    • Special revelation is downplayed
    • Still common in some Christian circles
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Founding Fathers and Religious Roots

  • Orthodox Christian beliefs:
    • Belief in Trinity, incarnation, and atonement
    • Bible provides special revelation
    • Strong Calvinistic strain
    • Would not deny miraculous
    • Would see God as superintending and intervening in the world.
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Founding Fathers
    • Varied in their beliefs from a more orthodox Christian faith to Deism
    • There is scholarly disagreement over how much religion influenced the founding documents and building of the republican structure
    • It is clear that God was Creator and understood to provide a moral compass whether through nature of scripture or both
    • It is clear that the American culture was founded on Christian principles
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Founding Fathers and Religious Roots

University of Houston Research

34% of all quotes in founding documents were from the Bible

Christian principles were highly influential in developing the U.S. governmental system with its moral teaching regarded as necessary for maintaining our system of governance.

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U. S. Christian Heritage

Founding Documents

Declaration of Independence

The Unanimous Declaration of

the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 1776

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U. S. Christian Heritage

Thomas Jefferson

(One of the least religious)

“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?”

Notes on the State of Virginia, p. 163.

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U. S. Christian Heritage

Founding Documents

Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

George Washington'sFarewell Address, To the People of the United States, September 17, 1796

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U. S. Christian Heritage

Founding Documents

Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?

George Washington'sFarewell Address, To the People of the United States, September 17, 1796

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U. S. Christian Heritage

Founding Fathers and Religious Roots

What did the founding fathers intend by the 1st Amendment?

Did the founding fathers mean that no religious practices could be a part of state or federal sponsored entities?

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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Founding Fathers and 1st Amendment
    • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
      • Establishment clause – cannot establish a state religion
      • Free exercise clause – must allow free exercise of religion
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Founding Fathers and 1st Amendment
    • Does not say separation of church and state
      • The phrase originated in some of Thomas Jefferson’s writings but not in the constitution
    • No state religion was to be organized by the government
    • The government allowed religion in public places
    • People were free to practice religion in public places

Video Clip

Church and Governmenthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlfEdJNn15E

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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Founding Fathers and 1st Amendment
    • Thomas Jefferson, as president, wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut on 1802-JAN-1. It contains the first known reference to the "wall of separation". The essay states in part:
    • "...I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State..."
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Founding Fathers and 1st Amendment
    • Jefferson's “wall of separation,” as a matter of federalism, was explaining that the 1st amendment provided protection for the freedom to practice religion without interference from the government.
    • In response to the Baptists concern – In 1802 Jefferson said that practice of religion is an inalienable rights so the government cannot infringe on that right.
      • Wall of separation between church and state was to keep government from infringing on religious activities.
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U. S. Christian Heritage

Christendom and the U.S.

  • Founding Fathers and 1st Amendment
    • The wall's primary function was to delineate the constitutional jurisdictions of the national and state governments, respectively, on religious concerns, such as setting aside days in the public calendar for prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. Evidence for this jurisdictional or structural understanding of the wall can be found in both the texts and the context of the correspondence between Jefferson and the Danbury Baptist Association.

Daniel L. Dreisbach, D.Phil. (Oxford University) and J.D. (University of Virginia), is a Professor of Justice, Law, and Society at American University in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State (New York University Press, 2002).