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Philosophical Foundations Of The Religious Axis: Religion, Politics, And American Political Architecture
 3030339734,  9783030339739,  9783030339746

Table of contents :
Acknowledgements......Page 7
Praise for Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis......Page 8
Prologue......Page 10
History and Ideas......Page 11
Reason in History......Page 12
History and Liberty......Page 14
Religion and Politics......Page 15
Notes......Page 16
Contents......Page 18
1 Introduction......Page 21
Christian America......Page 22
Green Sustainability......Page 24
Into the Wilderness......Page 26
Culture Wars......Page 28
Religious Motivation......Page 31
Political Theology......Page 33
American Political Architecture......Page 37
Religious Axis......Page 38
Philosophical Foundations......Page 39
Paradoxes......Page 41
2 American Political Architecture: Establishmentarianism, Toleration, Containment......Page 47
Establishmentarianism......Page 48
In the Beginning......Page 51
Intolerance vs. Toleration......Page 53
Classical Political Architecture Under Stress......Page 56
Dissenters’ Dissidence......Page 58
Toward Disestablishment......Page 63
Containing the Fires of Faith......Page 68
Religious Question......Page 77
Incompatible Presuppositions......Page 81
Karl Jaspers’s Axial Age......Page 84
Second Axial Age?......Page 87
Any Axial Age?......Page 91
Axiality and Breakthroughs......Page 93
Religious Axis......Page 95
4 Epistemic Foundation: Epistemologies and Worldviews, the Bible and Public Schools......Page 101
Renaissance......Page 102
Greco-Islamic Tradition......Page 104
Demonstrative Inferences......Page 106
Inductive Turn......Page 107
Incorporating the Turn......Page 109
Biblical Worldview......Page 112
Demonstrative Redux......Page 114
Back to the Bible......Page 119
US Supreme Court......Page 122
Back to the Classroom......Page 125
5 Axiological Foundation: Emancipation of Values, National Prayers, and Same-Sex Marriage......Page 133
American Philosophical Method......Page 134
Disentangling Religious Values......Page 135
New Science......Page 139
New Political Science......Page 144
Diversification and Agitation......Page 147
Competition and Prayers......Page 150
Morality, Politics, and Same-Sex Marriage......Page 152
Political Religion......Page 155
6 Political Foundation: Religious Proclamations, Free Exercise Expansion, Establishmentarianism......Page 160
Religious Proclamations......Page 162
Containment Structure......Page 166
Fires of Faith......Page 171
De Facto Establishment......Page 173
Religious Conflict......Page 175
Christian Amendment......Page 178
Expanding Religious Liberty......Page 180
Evangelizing Political Leaders......Page 182
7 Paradoxes......Page 189
Structural Paradox......Page 190
Democracy’s Antidemocracy......Page 192
Disestablishment, Reestablishment......Page 193
Bibliography......Page 197
Index......Page 213

Citation preview

PALGRAVE STUDIES IN RELIGION, POLITICS, AND POLICY

Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis Religion, Politics, and American Political Architecture

John R. Pottenger

Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy

Series Editor Mark J. Rozell Schar School of Policy and Government George Mason University Arlington, VA, USA

This series originated under the co-editorship of the late Ted Jelen and Mark J. Rozell. A generation ago, many social scientists regarded religion as an anachronism, whose social, economic, and political importance would inevitably wane and disappear in the face of the inexorable forces of modernity. Of course, nothing of the sort has occurred; indeed, the public role of religion is resurgent in US domestic politics, in other nations, and in the international arena. Today, religion is widely acknowledged to be a key variable in candidate nominations, platforms, and elections; it is recognized as a major influence on domestic and foreign policies. National religious movements as diverse as the Christian Right in the United States and the Taliban in Afghanistan are important factors in the internal politics of particular nations. Moreover, such transnational religious actors as Al-Qaida, Falun Gong, and the Vatican have had important effects on the politics and policies of nations around the world. Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy serves a growing niche in the discipline of political science. This subfield has proliferated rapidly during the past two decades, and has generated an enormous amount of scholarly studies and journalistic coverage. Five years ago, the journal Politics and Religion was created; in addition, works relating to religion and politics have been the subject of many articles in more general academic journals. The number of books and monographs on religion and politics has increased tremendously. In the past, many social scientists dismissed religion as a key variable in politics and government. This series casts a broad net over the subfield, providing opportunities for scholars at all levels to publish their works with Palgrave. The series publishes monographs in all subfields of political science, including American Politics, Public Policy, Public Law, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. The principal focus of the series is the public role of religion. “Religion” is construed broadly to include public opinion, religious institutions, and the legal frameworks under which religious politics are practiced. The “dependent variable” in which we are interested is politics, defined broadly to include analyses of the public sources and consequences of religious belief and behavior. These would include matters of public policy, as well as variations in the practice of political life. We welcome a diverse range of methodological perspectives, provided that the approaches taken are intellectually rigorous. The series does not deal with works of theology, in that arguments about the validity or utility of religious beliefs are not a part of the series focus. Similarly, the authors of works about the private or personal consequences of religious belief and behavior, such as personal happiness, mental health, or family dysfunction, should seek other outlets for their writings. Although historical perspectives can often illuminate our understanding of modern political phenomena, our focus in the Religion, Politics, and Policy series is on the relationship between the sacred and the political in contemporary societies.

More information about this series at http://www.palgrave.com/gp/series/14594

John R. Pottenger

Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis Religion, Politics, and American Political Architecture

John R. Pottenger Department of Political Science The University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, AL, USA

Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy ISBN 978-3-030-33973-9 ISBN 978-3-030-33974-6 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33974-6 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover image: © Bruce Rolff/Alamy Stock Photo This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

To Dottie Margaret Childers Scott Sensitive Mother, Strong Woman

Acknowledgements

This treatise is the culmination of a research project wherein I discerned, explored, and analyzed a distinct evolutionary development in the origins and goal of religion in American political society. I am deeply gratified that the publishing board at Palgrave Macmillan approved this project. Moreover, I am honored by the confidence placed in me by Mark J. Rozell and the late Ted Jelen, editors of the Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy. Ted believed in the promise of my project and strongly encouraged me to pursue it. I trust that—had Ted been able to critically scrutinize the results of my endeavor—he would have found them acceptable and worthy of the treatise’s inclusion in the Palgrave Studies. To this end, I sincerely appreciate the peer reviewer and external clearance reader whose own examinations corroborate the project’s scholarly worthiness. Furthermore, Michelle Chen, editor, Rebecca Roberts, assistant editor, and Shukkanthy Siva, ASE, employed considerable experience, talents, and constructive advice to assure the effective preparation of the final manuscript and clarity of the treatise’s arguments. I thank them for their impeccable professionalism. And on a personal note, I wish to express profound gratitude to Kawthar Slaïtane, my loving and patient wife, whose linguistic insights and cultural perspective sharpened my analyses as I brought this project to fruition. Finally, owing to the foregoing acknowledgements, if errors of fact or analysis still remain in this treatise, they are mine—and mine alone.

vii

Praise for Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis

“John Pottenger provides an incisive exegesis of how the philosophical foundations of the American political republic created a dynamic containment structure for both democratic politics and political religious pluralism. In particular, he accents how fragile this structure is as it is besieged today by evangelical advocates who seek to propagate a Christian commonwealth contrary to the Founder’s vision of a polity open to both religious and secular perspectives. Pottenger’s resuscitation of the philosophical foundations of US religious pluralism and civil discourse is essential reading for anyone concerned with the growing secular-religious divide that threatens the nation’s democratic future.” —John Francis Burke, Visiting Professor of Political Science, Trinity University, USA “John Pottenger’s book explores the nexus of religion and politics throughout American history—from the evolution of what he calls the ‘colonial collusion between Church and State,’ to the current benign relationship between these two institutions. His critically important question in this volume is if this new dynamic is sustainable. He deftly analyzes how philosophy and political thinking justified the development of the Constitution, its resulting dynamic inter-play to both protect and limit religious liberty in the public square, and the arguments that challenge its boundaries. Readers will have much to consider in this volume!” —Jo Renee Formicola, Professor, Political Science and Public Affairs, Seton Hall University, USA ix

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PRAISE FOR PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE RELIGIOUS AXIS

“John Pottenger focuses upon what he characterizes as the ‘containment structure’ historically moderating the tension between religion and politics in the U.S. Evangelicals have increasingly melded their conservative political ideology with political theology. Pottenger deftly addresses the challenge of welcoming a vibrant religious marketplace while also muting the ‘fires of faith’ so that the containment structure is not itself consumed.” —Emily R. Gill, Caterpillar Professor of Political Science Emerita, Bradley University, USA

Prologue

In 1817, during the tumult of the Second Great Awakening, out of exasperation with the increasingly bitter disputes among religious factions raging throughout American society, an alarmed John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson: “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!”1 In fact, this was not the first time that Adams had deplored the explosive mixture of religion and politics. Earlier, he complained to Jefferson: “In what sense and to what extent the Bible is law, may give rise to as many doubts and quarrels as any of our civil, political, military, or maritime laws, and will intermix with them all to irritate factions of every sort.”2 Even so, while condemning the raucous and threatening presence of religion in politics, he hastened to add his endorsement of the importance of religious faith in personal moral development. In his reply to Adams’s wish for a polity devoid of religious discord, Jefferson concurred with Adams’s assessment, but reminded him of the Constitution’s wall of separation between church and state. Given the prohibition of religious tests for public service in Article VI and the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment, Jefferson proclaimed: “A Protestant popedom is no longer to disgrace the American history and character.”3 Nevertheless, Adams’s unrelenting suspicion persisted: “Oh! Lord! Do you think that a Protestant popedom is annihilated in America? Do you recollect, or have you ever attended to the ecclesiastical strifes in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and every part

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of New England? What a mercy it is that these people cannot whip and crop, and pillory and roast, as yet in the U.S.! If they could they would.”4 Adams’s passionate reservations contained little hyperbole, at least in terms of the relatively recent past. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, whipping, cropping, pillorying, and roasting—among several other forms of corporal punishment—for violations of state-sanctioned legal restrictions on religious beliefs and practices were common in many of the British colonies of New England and the South.5 Jefferson’s calm and confident response relied on his conviction that the newly established constitutional structure, which had been designed to contain the disorderly and self-interested dynamics of religious pluralism, would protect the young American republic from returning to colonial experiences of collusion between church and state. Indeed, contemporary American politics evinces no formal statesanctioned remnants of oppressive or violent treatment of religious dissenters. Why and how did the church-state collusions of the past eventually evolve and transform themselves into the rather benign relationships that exist today, and, furthermore, are they sustainable? What were the theological frameworks and political arguments of the colonial and early republic eras that inspired and justified the construction of political institutions to promulgate obedience to and enforcement of laws that prohibited various forms of religious dissent and liberty? For what purpose did those prohibitions serve? How did proponents of the prohibitions comprehend the concept of religious liberty? For whom was it intended, and to what end? Are the earlier concepts of religious liberty different from or a threat to contemporary notions of religious liberty? And, do the answers to these questions really matter? If so, why? The fundamental questions that are the focus of this research ask: Given observational data of and the rationale for contemporary political dynamics of religion in the public square, is the contemporary theoretical structure of church-state relations of American political architecture existentially threatened by these dynamics? And, if so, from where and how are the threats emanating, and where is the structure actually being threatened? Were Adams’s suspicions well-founded and Jefferson’s confidence and conviction misplaced?

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History and Ideas To craft reasonable responses to these questions, the analytical investigation undertaken by this research project required an appreciation of certain minute and as well as grand historical intersections of theology, philosophy, religion, and politics. These intersections are recognizable at key junctures throughout the theoretical and practical evolution of late medieval through early modern Western history. Research focused on vital historical events and the writings of contemporaneous observers who had chronicled those events. Critical analyses of relevant documents and events have revealed arguments whose insights highlight the interconnectivity between events and observations as well as the logical development of the arguments over time. The analyses also revealed rationales of how select societies have been organized and to what end, as they addressed the theoretical building blocks necessary to construct and maintain particular social and political edifices, including those that structure the interplay of religion and politics. Moreover, inasmuch as the history of ideas invariably elicits speculation on the idea of history itself, the research project required a theoretical paradigm to identify intersections of relevant historical markers. The markers were comprised of pertinent philosophical and theological speculation as well as religious and political events. Collectively, they revealed a diverse array of rationales that contributed to the emergence of unique concepts and claims whose effects have influenced the course of history. Moreover, the eminent rationales also suggested the presence of an underlying set of universal reasons or philosophical foundations that have determined—and continue to determine—the direction of social and political developments. And then, the question arose: Does the imminence of their eminence necessarily indicate an immanence? And, if so, does reason have anything to do with it? To determine the most appropriate theoretical paradigm with which to guide the search for answers to these questions and thus provide the framework necessary for research, G. W. F. Hegel and Karl Jaspers both offered potentially useful approaches to construct the paradigm.

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Reason in History G. W. F. Hegel, one of the more preeminent philosophers of history, answered both questions of immanence and reason in the affirmative. Hegel asserted that “Reason rules the world, which means that it has ruled history as well…. Moreover, this Reason is immanent in historical existence, and fulfills itself in and through it.”6 To illustrate his assertion, Hegel described the rational process in the construction of a house as an analogy. The construction of a house embodies a contradictory process between opposing intentionalities and their syntheses that are necessary for the residential structure to meet the “inner goal and purpose” of its owner.7 To achieve the intended purpose—or final cause—the homeowner selects inert natural material, such as iron and wood, from which to form the building blocks of the structure. To refine the material in order to form suitable building blocks, the homeowner must first efficiently subject them to the dynamic effects of other natural but active elements, including air, fire, and water. Hegel depicted this nature-on-nature process as culminating in a final synthesis of building blocks that are now suitable to complete the structure of the house. The completed structure’s final cause is to assist the homeowner in resisting the harmful effects of those very same active elements of nature. As goes the dialectically rational construction of an edifice for human occupation, so goes the construction of an edifice for society’s collective accommodation. Hegel argued that “the elements [individuals in society] are used according to their nature, and yet they cooperate toward a product by which they themselves are being limited… and they bring forth the edifice of human society.”8 That is, society applies its material elements—individuals—to effect the benefits of society’s legal restrictions, which are themselves premised on the self-interested nature of those same individuals whose inclinations tend toward socially destructive behavior. As laws, the enforcement of these restrictions against the will of each individual thereby restrains the individual’s passions whose otherwise unbridled forces would destroy the possibility of attaining society’s objective or final cause: a peaceful state of free individuals. Thus, the application of this force-on-force process strengthens society’s members in resisting the harmful if rationally induced effects of those very same members individually while using the collective rationality of society in a constructive manner. In this way, each individual may arrive at the final cause of security with personal freedom intact, if limited. Even so, Hegel argued that

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the inexorable rationale of history’s evolution toward freedom will have been necessarily long and unpleasant but ultimately successful. Hegel referred to history’s rational evolution thus far as “this slaughterbench, upon which the happiness of nations, the wisdom of states, and the virtues of individuals were sacrificed.”9 During this process, the evolutionary trajectory of history has appeared as a sine curve whose slope ascends and descends through the construction-destruction dialectic of social edifices due to individual self-interested behavior toward history’s culmination in individual liberty. At the eschaton of this long and desperate trail of a cosmic yet immanent spiritual awakening, Hegel concluded, history’s evolutionary construction of a just society will ultimately result in “something which is inwardly involved in what [individuals] do but which was not in their consciousness or part of their intention.” And yet, it appears that Hegel’s force-on-force series of syntheses of building blocks as both determinants and markers of historical time also insinuate the necessity of constructing a social edifice whose architecture ultimately will have concluded time itself—and thus closed the future of enduring individual liberty. Hegel’s political-theological explication of the intent of history with its erasure of time has encountered challenges from those with alternative explications of the origins and inclinations of history.

History and Liberty A century after Hegel’s projection of history’s movement through and then concluding time, another philosopher of history forecast a more sublime and sober but perhaps convincing depiction of the goal of history. In his mid-twentieth-century observations of the state of the world, Karl Jaspers sensed a deep foreboding of humankind’s future, given the rapid increase in technological advances of modern warfare. Nations were developing powerful means with which to direct their ire toward adversaries whose ideologies challenged the survival of their own social constructions of justice and freedom. Indeed, Jaspers noted, “Whereas Hegel still tranquilly saw world history as the history of the consciousness and reality of liberty, more deeply shaken spirits were invaded by dread of the possibility that the liberty of all men might be lost.”10 He forewarned that individual liberty would likely be lost due to global cataclysmic struggles over the meaning of liberty itself.

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Jaspers detected the obstacle that precluded Hegel from accurately grasping the meaning, dynamic, and end of world history. Hegel had acceded to the reductionist temptation of relying on the “spiritual world as its point of departure … to apprehend history in toto.”11 Jaspers dissented: “[T]he world of history as a whole, however, is incalculable; in detail it is full of connexions of causality, motive, situation and meaning that are susceptible of investigation…. Only by holding open possibilities do we preserve the meaning of action in the particular.”12 The preservation of the meaning of action in the particular, he argued, provides a remedy to Hegel’s closing of history with the ultimate “edifice of society,” which Hegel had tendentiously claimed was able to provide “as much liberty as possible.”13 Jaspers further professed that history would be better interpreted were it understood “from the margins … the process of penetrating into the concretely historical.”14 “Rather,” he submitted, “can we only live from the decision to work for freedom, and make this decision itself a factor, but in the humility of not knowing the final outcome…. For this reason, openness to the future is a precondition of liberty.”15 Jaspers’s alternative paradigm of the evolution and progression of history highlights key epochs wherein fundamental changes in regional societies’ perceptions of truth, comprehension of natural forces, and the necessity of uniform social identities had instigated new directions in the purpose and evolution of civilizations. In his path-breaking investigation of world history, Jaspers claimed to have identified the existence of a historical axis at 500 BCE with the period of approximately 300 years on each side of the axis as an Axial Period or Age.16 He argued that during this Axial Age, universal breakthroughs or axial moments occurred that fundamentally altered the direction and development of human history but with no preordained goal or final cause. In addition to this initial Axial Age, Jaspers also suggested—albeit briefly—the probable existence of another historical axis that likely occurred toward the end of the medieval era. Moreover, if real, this historical axis itself suggests the possibility that a second Axial Period may have been initiated: “Is a second Axial Period to be discerned in these later centuries?”17 In fact, upon closer examination, an axis can be discerned— a religious axis—during the late medieval into the early modern eras. The philosophical foundations of this religious axis have shaped the dynamics of religion and politics and the relationship between church and state contained within American political architecture.

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Religion and Politics To determine if Adams’s suspicions were—and continue to be—wellfounded and Jefferson’s confidence and conviction were—and continue to be—misplaced, it is necessary to explicate the origins and evolving rationale and logic of the theoretical structure of church-state relations of contemporary American political institutions. This research project focused on the liminal period of transition from the late medieval era to the early modern era, to which Karl Jaspers had alluded regarding the late medieval era. To provide direction in its research, the project designed and implemented a conceptual framework based on that of Jaspers. In particular, it utilized his concepts of “axiality” and “axial moments.” The framework guided the research in its efforts to identify relevant and determinative analytical developments at intersections of historic events, theological speculation, philosophical rationalism, and political philosophy. The results of this research project reveal philosophical foundations that influenced the intellectual content and direction of political thinking in the constitutional founding of the American republic. In particular, it analyzes the philosophical justification for the republic’s political architecture, especially its containment structure that restrains as well as protects religious liberty in civil society and the public square. The results also discuss alternative arguments that predated and challenged— and continue to challenge—the structure’s boundaries. Illustrations of historic and contemporary events and vignettes portray the dynamic interplay among church, state, civil society, religion, and politics that support, challenge, or even threaten the integrity of American political architecture.

Notes 1. John Adams, “Letter to Thomas Jefferson: April 19, 1817,” The AdamsJefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, ed. Lester J. Cappon (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971), 509 (modern capitalization applied). 2. Idem, “Letter to Thomas Jefferson: March 3, 1814,” Adams-Jefferson Letters, 427 (modern spelling and punctuation applied). 3. Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to John Adams, May 5, 1817,” The AdamsJefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, ed. Lester J. Cappon (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971), 512 (modern capitalization applied).

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4. John Adams, “Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 18 May 1817,” AdamsJefferson Letters, 515 (modern spelling applied, emphasis original). 5. Edgar J. McManus, Law and Liberty in Early New England: Criminal Justice and Due Process, 1620–1692 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2009), 182–85. 6. G. W. F. Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of History, trans. Leo Rauch (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988), 28. 7. Ibid., 30. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid., 24. 10. Karl Jaspers, The Origin and Goal of History, trans. Michael Bullock (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953), 153. 11. Ibid., 186 (emphasis original). 12. Ibid., 186–87. 13. Ibid., 187. 14. Ibid., 232. 15. Ibid., 188. 16. Ibid., 1–6. 17. Ibid., 25, 75–76.

Contents

1

Introduction Christian America Green Sustainability Into the Wilderness Culture Wars Religious Motivation Political Theology American Political Architecture Religious Axis Philosophical Foundations Paradoxes

1 2 5 6 8 11 13 17 19 19 21

2

American Political Architecture: Establishmentarianism, Toleration, Containment Establishmentarianism In the Beginning Intolerance vs. Toleration Classical Political Architecture Under Stress Dissenters’ Dissidence Toward Disestablishment Containing the Fires of Faith

27 28 31 33 36 38 43 48

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4

5

6

CONTENTS

Discerning the Religious Axis: The Religious Question and Axiality Religious Question Incompatible Presuppositions Karl Jaspers’s Axial Age Second Axial Age? Any Axial Age? Axiality and Breakthroughs Religious Axis

57 58 62 64 67 72 73 75

Epistemic Foundation: Epistemologies and Worldviews, the Bible and Public Schools Renaissance Greco-Islamic Tradition Demonstrative Inferences Inductive Turn Incorporating the Turn Biblical Worldview Demonstrative Redux Back to the Bible US Supreme Court Back to the Classroom

81 82 85 86 87 89 92 94 99 102 105

Axiological Foundation: Emancipation of Values, National Prayers, and Same-Sex Marriage American Philosophical Method Disentangling Religious Values New Science New Political Science Diversification and Agitation Competition and Prayers Morality, Politics, and Same-Sex Marriage Political Religion

113 114 116 119 124 127 130 132 135

Political Foundation: Religious Proclamations, Free Exercise Expansion, Establishmentarianism Religious Proclamations Containment Structure

141 143 147

CONTENTS

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Fires of Faith De Facto Establishment Religious Conflict Christian Amendment Expanding Religious Liberty Evangelizing Political Leaders

152 154 156 159 161 163

Paradoxes Structural Paradox Democracy’s Antidemocracy Madisonian Paradox(es) Disestablishment, Reestablishment

171 172 174 175 176

Bibliography

179

Index

195

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

In 2013, Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and son of billionaire philanthropist David Green, developed a four-year curriculum on the Bible, which he sought to place as a pilot program in the Mustang Public School District of Oklahoma City. He had hoped that—with school board approval and successful implementation—the curriculum’s adoption would be replicated in other public school districts throughout the United States by 2017.1 Green had publicly declared that his Bible curriculum “should be mandated” in all public high schools so that they will “be able to teach and educate students” about the Bible.2 Initial discussions with school board members looked promising for trial runs of the curriculum, but only as a voluntary course for their high school students. In the meantime, external reviews of the proposed Bible curriculum were also received by the board members for their consideration. Upon closer examination of Green’s curriculum by external evaluators, questions arose regarding the historical accuracy of the curriculum’s content as well as its constitutional viability in public schools. Mark A. Chancey, professor of Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University, found that the curriculum “typically replicated [Green’s personal] theological emphases.”3 In particular, it presented “the Bible as an infallibly accurate historical source” whose ancient manuscripts have shown little change overtime. Given Green’s inaccuracies in his history of the Bible, Chancey inferred that the presentation was only intended to disseminate Green’s “conservative Protestant beliefs in biblical inerrancy.” © The Author(s) 2020 J. R. Pottenger, Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis, Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33974-6_1

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J. R. POTTENGER

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also reviewed the content of Green’s curriculum in light of US Supreme Court decisions regarding potential violations of the First Amendment’s establishment clause if curricula are used to teach the Bible from a religious or sectarian point of view. The ACLU found that the curriculum’s content contained statements of religious advocacy that are “far from being nonsectarian,” including its “regular appeal to theological language and ideas, its promotion of the notion that God’s promises have been fulfilled in our day, [and] its use, without comment, of the Protestant canon.”4 Although they had initially expressed interest in placing Green’s Bible curriculum in a public school district located in the hometown of the Hobby Lobby headquarters, the Mustang school board members reevaluated their level of interest when they considered the external reviews. With Chancey’s unfavorable scholarly evaluation as well as the likelihood of a lawsuit from the ACLU that would challenge the constitutionality of the faith-based content of the curriculum, board members elected to forego adoption of Green’s curriculum.5 Green then postponed indefinitely any efforts to seek approval to implement his curriculum by other public school districts. But Green was not the only one interested in returning the Bible and evangelical Protestantism to the public schools.

Christian America Since the 1990s, similar efforts have been underway by religious organizations and publishers who have designed, promoted, and frequently been successful in placing their biblical literacy curricula in various public schools across the United States. The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools—one of the more active faith-based organizations that have developed and promoted biblical literacy curricula to re-Christianize the public schools—claims success in its ability to place its curricula in public schools: “To date, our Bible curriculum has been voted into 3,274 high schools in 41 states. Over 650,000 students have already taken this course nationwide, on the high school campus, during school hours, for credit.”6 Emblematic of faith-based curricula on the Bible designed for public schools, the biblical literacy curricula of Green and the National Council contain a historical narrative of British America as having been settled

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INTRODUCTION

3

by pious Christian colonists who sought to establish a Christian commonwealth in the New World. Furthermore, the narrative depicts the founders of the American republic as imbued with the same religious values and expectations of the earlier settlers in their attempt to unite the former colonies as sovereign states under a divinely inspired constitutional framework. In his public speeches and writings, Green also employs the Christian America narrative by focusing on the writings of Christians in general and the presence of the Bible in particular.7 Green’s narrative begins with a spiritualized history of the Bible’s ancient compilation of sacred books and subsequent translations before it finally appears in the New World in the fifteenth century. He notes that later in the seventeenth century, the King James Version (KJV) arrived with John Winthrop and the Puritans who landed in New England. Following close behind them, the Pilgrims arrived with their Geneva Bibles. Overtime, as they joined efforts to construct a Christian commonwealth in America, the popularity of the Geneva Bible gave way to that of the KJV. Green then emphasizes the centrality of the spiritual impact of KJV biblical teachings in shaping the early political culture of American society: “The history of the Bible in America is a strong indicator of what our forefathers believed about it.”8 In fact, he says, “For the past 400 years, the American educational system has become instrumental in defining who we are. It is central to our society.”9 During the first three decades of the new nation’s history, Green explains, the narrative of a Christian America had prevailed throughout society. Nevertheless, early in the nineteenth century, efforts to sustain public acceptance of this narrative began to weaken, which increased the possibility of American society’s moral foundation eroding and potentially culminating in an irreversible state of decline. He notes that in 1827 a crucial event occurred that set the nation on a path toward secular public education. The state legislature of Massachusetts had passed a law prohibiting the use of books that promoted a particular religious denomination or sect in the state’s public schools. Green asserts that “the idea was to create a religious ‘neutral zone,’ where no particular religion would be promoted.”10 But acrimonious and inconclusive debates arose throughout Massachusetts, as well as in other states, that increasingly questioned the likelihood of any public school’s ability to incorporate the Bible in a religiously neutral way, while simultaneously presenting it as a source of spiritual edification for the state’s youth.

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Green states that the debates appeared to have been finally resolved nearly two decades later in the federal case of Vidal v. Girard’s Executor (1844). In its decision, the US Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of a religiously neutral use of the Bible in public schools but only for moral instructional purposes.11 Nonetheless, while the decision affirmed a role for the Bible, Green argues that social and political “momentum was [still] on the side of the secularists.”12 Indeed, over 100 hundred years later, he laments, Supreme Court decisions in the early 1960s “effectively removed prayer and religious devotion from the classroom, beginning a new era of secular education in America.”13 The historical convergence of the Bible and its teachings with the emergence of the American republic, Green believes, ought to be central to any properly designed, biblical literacy program for educational purposes in the public schools. Such programs should teach the Bible as an important historical document in the founding and development of America, as well as a moral guide for a religious people, both of which are necessary for the survival of America as a righteous nation. This approach, he says, must reinforce the essential theme of a providential and sacred history of Christian settlers and, later, founders of the American republic who had envisioned and intended for the United States to become and remain a Christian nation: “America’s Founding Fathers not only believed that the Bible was foundational to American society, but they also believed that society should be built upon it for generations to come.”14 Moreover, as with the evangelistic intent of Green’s proposed Bible curriculum, the National Council’s curriculum also intends to serve as “a way of advancing a larger agenda of increasing the role of certain forms of conservative Protestantism in public and governmental life.”15 In this way, the adoption of its curriculum by public school districts has returned the Bible to the classroom as a means to embed a particular Christian presence within public education. The Christian America narrative in the National Council’s curriculum provides a historical review that selectively and narrowly highlights the role of Christianity in the founding of the United States, while downplaying and often neglecting altogether the contributions of Enlightenment principles, civic republicanism, and other influential religious or philosophical traditions.

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Green Sustainability Steve Green’s unsuccessful attempt to insert his Bible curriculum with a Christian America narrative in the nation’s public schools was only one of his efforts to reverse the morally deleterious effects of secularism in American society. In fact, he had publicly linked the development of his curriculum with the thematic presentation of the content of another one of his religious outreach projects—the Museum of the Bible—which opened in 2017 in Washington, DC16 Intended to showcase the Bible and its influence on the founding of the American republic, Green’s museum also includes a warning in its educational efforts to “reintroduce this book to this nation; this nation is in danger because of its ignorance of what God has taught…. [A]nd if we don’t know it, our future is going to be very scary.”17 To reinforce further the political-theological convergence of the Christian Bible and the US Constitution, Green asserts that “[t]he idea that all men are created equal, as an example, has two biblical concepts right there; the idea that we are created is a biblical concept, the idea that we are created equal, our founders got that from the Bible.” In fact, he proclaims, “Our nation is built on a worldview…. Our founders built that on concepts they found in the Bible.” But the museum’s prominence in the nation’s capital also had a “political ambition.”18 According to Green and the museum’s advisory board, populated primarily with conservative evangelical Christians, “We think Congress ought to know the foundation of the nation that they are running today…. [and that] the principles our nation was built on came from the Bible.”19 The Green family’s long-standing focus on the convergence of religion and politics prompts their financial support of evangelistic efforts to disseminate the Christian faith in all aspects of public life. The family’s support of biblical literacy programs as well as legal defense and political expansion of religious liberty finds expression in patriarch David Green’s spiritual aspiration: “For me, I want to know that I have affected people for eternity.”20 The family’s religious convictions justify and motivate their commitment to a moral and Christian society. Moreover, says son Steve Green, “religion and politics have always been interwoven in the American heritage.”21 Ironically, the Green family’s acknowledgment of a religiously infused American heritage excludes the religious thought of their Puritan forebear, Roger Williams, a Puritan minister in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

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In his ongoing antinomian theological dispute with John Cotton, another prominent minister, Williams argued for religious toleration and separation of church and state. In a letter he wrote in response to a critical missive he had received earlier from Cotton, Williams relied on Old Testament and New Testament accounts of Jews and Christians, respectively, to support his argument that “both [religious peoples were] separate from the world; and that when they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of Separation between the Garden of the Church and the Wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the Candlestick, &c. and made his Garden a Wilderness, as at this day.”22 Initially, it appears that the Green family’s interest in religion and politics does evince a desire to reinforce Williams’s “wall of separation” between church and state in order to defend and protect the “garden” of the Christian gospel and its believers from encroachment by the “wilderness” of political secularism.23 However, the intent of the family’s religious political activism suggests that the objective is not only to “open a gap” in the wall—which, according to Williams, God forbade—but to breach the wall so that it may carry forth the evangelical movement’s “candlestick” with its light of shared gospel attitudes into the darkness of the wilderness.

Into the Wilderness In the 1970s, at the philosophical intersection of ideological conservatism and evangelical political theology, a political coalition emerged in the United States of ideologically and religiously conservative individuals and organizations to influence the political outcome of numerous culture wars underway. The affinity between religious and ideological conservatives afforded the coalition a largely untapped reservoir of sympathetic and highly motivated voters who could provide a numerical advantage for the triumph of conservative candidates at the polls. Popularly labeled the New Right, the political coalition achieved considerable success in tilting national politics in a rightward turn during the latter part of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.24 Moreover, out of the New Right emerged an amorphous religious movement of conservative fundamentalists, born-again Christians, and charismatics, as well as evangelicals from mainline Protestant, Reformed Calvinist, Pentecostal, and other denominations, sects, and Christian organizations who were dedicated to addressing the implications of

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morally challenging policy issues of an increasingly secular society. The new Christian right movement had expressed alarm at the growth of the secular state’s regulations in economic and political life as well as the apparent dissemination of ruinous, liberal social programs in civil society and, in particular, the teaching of moral relativism in the public schools. Among other forms of political activism in the public square, evangelicals actively designed, developed, and promoted the benefits of religious homeschooling based on a particular biblical worldview as an alternative to public education. An early pioneer in the Christian day school or homeschooling movement, Rousas John Rushdoony—Calvinist theologian, former pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the progenitor of Christian Reconstructionism, which emerged from the Reformed theology tradition—declared: “The major and minor foundations [of American culture] have been extensively captured by the forces of humanism and statism, and a new age of terror is developing all around us. Scholarship, arts, and literature are being subsidized to serve the purposes of humanism and statism, and our schools and colleges have been largely captured by these forces.”25 Rushdoony believed that the state of moral decline in American culture had resulted from public school curricula that erred when it emphasized student autonomy in the development of critical thinking skills. Individual autonomy without any commonly shared grounding, Rushdoony asserted, leads to a morality-free anarchy of critical thinking. Instead, Rushdoony advised, “[c]ritical thought can better flourish within the context of biblical Christianity than autonomous humanism.”26 To this end, he advocated incorporation of the “Bible and biblical law” in the curricula of all content subject areas to avoid “educational anarchy.”27 “[T]he purpose of Christian education is not academic,” Rushdoony proclaimed, “it is religious and practical. Man’s purpose is to build the Kingdom of God.”28 He maintained that morally legitimate, critical thinking can only proceed with pre-theoretical religious assumptions or presuppositions. According to Rushdoony’s biblical worldview, building the Kingdom of God requires that education laws be amended to permit the option of religious homeschooling in lieu of the secular state forcing all children to attend “government schools.” During the 1980s in state and federal education cases, Rushdoony testified as an expert witness, successfully contributing to adoption of a broader legal definition of religious liberty under the US Constitution.29

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As a result of numerous court decisions as well as the influence of conservative Christian voters with state legislatures, religious homeschooling has become ubiquitous across the United States. As religious scholar Julie J. Ingersoll recently noted, “Rushdoony and Christian Reconstruction have had more influence on the Christian school movement than on any other aspect of society.”30

Culture Wars By 1980, the Christian right movement’s declaration of “holy war” against secular humanism had given voice to those whose anger had been simmering in resentment of objectionable political decisions and restrictive policies of federal agencies and courts, including removal of prayer and Bible reading from the public schools.31 Perceiving these decisions and policies as increasingly straying from the bedrock of “family values” of American society, conservative Christian activists galvanized politically around moral issues not only associated with religious homeschooling, but also abortion, gay rights, and feminism.32 During the next three decades, evangelicals gave increasing attention to Christian Reconstructionist themes, especially during election years. In succeeding elections, including at the national level, the cultural wars have intensified and then subsided only later to return again. The strength of the Christian right movement diminished in the mid-1980s and then rebounded in the early 1990s.33 Once again attracting “pro-family” voters, the movement’s conservative evangelical Protestants renewed their political collaboration with other allies to form electoral alliances, including an increasing number of conservative Catholics and Mormons who shared common moral concerns of select public policy issues.34 Later in the early 2000s, the Christian right movement, again, resurged and engaged in litigation over numerous federal policies during the presidency of Barack Obama. As political commentator Michelle Goldberg observed, “Reconstructionist thinkers started migrating toward the political mainstream—or, rather, the mainstream started migrating toward them. Especially after the 2004 elections, it grew ever harder to discern where the fringe ended and the new right-wing establishment began.”35 The passage of Proposition 8 in California in 2008 is illustrative of the success, if temporary, of the conservative establishment’s efforts in amending a state’s constitution to restrict legally valid marriages to those between one man and one woman.36 After a series of state and federal

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court cases with contrary opinions over the next seven years, ultimately, the US Supreme Court upheld the legal validity of same-sex marriage nationwide.37 Christian Reconstructionism has continued to exercise influence in later presidential campaigns, including policy directions of presidential administrations. In 2017, shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump, the US Senate consented to President Trump’s nomination and appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of the US Department of Education. The DeVos family had long been affiliated with Reformed theology and Christian Reconstructionist education efforts in the state of Michigan as well as nationally. Prior to her executive position with the Trump administration, Betsy DeVos had been an education activist promoting school choice for parents and state funding of private religious schools.38 During her activist years, when asked if relying on philanthropic donations to Christian schools is preferable to receiving state vouchers funded by taxpayers, DeVos stated, “There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education…. Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom.”39 Those who agree with DeVos’s embrace of the biblical worldview argue that they “reject the social forces of secularism, which too often shape our culture’s conception of a good society. The Christian’s political standards and agenda [must not be set by those] who wish to quarantine religious values…. from the decision-making process of public policy.”40 Christian right organizations have appealed to religious voters who have become increasingly distressed over the secularization of society, particularly in its public schools. In their estimation, “The U.S. public school can no longer be counted on to be a subcultural ally, upholding all of their religious beliefs.”41 In February 2017, shortly after her appointment as Education Secretary, DeVos received a letter from the conservative evangelical Council for National Policy. The Council offered Secretary DeVos “assistance with the restoration of education in America, in accordance with historic Judeo-Christian principles which formed the basis of instruction in America’s schools for its first 300 hundred years.”42 In addition, the letter contained the Council’s latest Education Reform Report, which stated four assumptions upon which educational priorities ought to be based, including the following two: “1. All knowledge and facts have a source,

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a Creator; they are not self-existent. 2. Religious neutrality is a myth perpetrated by secularists who destroy their own claim the moment they attempt to enforce it.” Furthermore, the Council’s Report presented a list of requests to President Trump and Secretary DeVos. In addition to asking that the Department of Education be replaced with an advisory council to the president, the list included requests for restoration of public displays of the Ten Commandments in all public schools, mandatory implementation of Bible classes, encouragement of United States and World history instruction from the Judeo-Christian perspective, and in-service training for teachers on the Judeo-Christian philosophy of education. On June 9, 2017, during a speech before the evangelical Faith and Values Coalition, President Trump echoed the Council’s call for a return of religion to the schools. He proclaimed: “In America, we don’t worship government. We worship God.”43 Inasmuch as his electoral base supports the “return” of religion and the Bible to the public schools, Trump’s proclamation in support of religion in public schools and worship of God was not politically in vain. The ideological intersection of conservative evangelicals and ideological conservatives has been politically reciprocated regarding the importance of the Bible and religion in American life. Among American adults, 70% of conservatives believe that religion is important in one’s life, while only 36% of liberals agree.44 In addition, 45% of conservatives believe that biblical scriptures should be taken literally, while only 19% of liberals agree. These findings reveal that beliefs about the Bible and religion are deeply rooted in conservative thinking, and moreover that America’s vitality depends on a distinct relationship with God. This inevitable and desirable relationship, then, must politically transcend any wall or other artificial attempts to separate religion from politics, and church from state. In addition, religious values are often perceived by Americans as a crucially important source of social stability and cultural cohesion. During the opening decades of the twenty-first century, evangelical Protestants, the largest Christian tradition, comprised 25% of the American population, followed by Catholics at 21% and mainline Protestants at 15%.45 Furthermore, the ideological preferences among adherents of these traditions have primarily reflected attraction to political conservatism, which comprises the largest ideological cohort of each tradition: evangelical Protestants at 55%, and Catholics and mainline Protestants each at 37%. These findings track closely with the political-ideological

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preferences among the general population of American adults, with conservatism at 36%, moderates at 33%, and liberals at 24%.46 By the 2016 presidential election, the Christian right movement had become more secular in its discourse and thus more influential in its policy successes.47 Its ability to mobilize millions of religious conservatives—particularly evangelical Protestants, who continue to form the preponderance of the Christian right movement—solidified the movement’s place as a key constituency of the Republican Party.48

Religious Motivation The primary stimulus that motivates conservative evangelical Protestants and other religious conservatives to involve themselves in politics originates with the interrelationship of temporal fear and divine directives. Temporal fear stems from evangelical anxieties over and dread of the devastating impact on society of rapidly changing mores and practices and the national and state laws, policies, and legal decisions that permit if not encourage both. Conventionally, in the public square, conservative evangelicals have actively proselytized or demanded legal recognition and protection of their religious sensibilities. They have ceaselessly expressed ethical objections to public policies and court rulings that permit or encourage such morally challenging practices as elective abortion, mandatory coverage of contraceptives in employee healthcare plans, and legalization of same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, their anxieties have grown in recent years as they realize that attempts to present religious arguments alone to defend their vision of the good society have not been sufficiently capable of curbing threats to and countering attacks on not only historically acceptable moral standards of society but also religious liberty itself. Religious activists and leaders who wish to resist the secular threat of the wilderness have increasingly attacked its political roots rather than simply preaching in the public square to reinforce Williams’s wall of separation. The allure of political power holds greater promise. The increased presence of religious conservatives and their participation in campaigns for elective office appears likely to yield far greater policy rewards for their moral objectives and thus have a greater impact on returning morality to society. To this end, their exploitation of fear of moral, religious, and social disintegration has successfully mobilized anxiety-ridden religious conservative voters to show up at the polls.

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As the presidential election of 2016 approached, the enormity of this fear came to the fore, notes evangelical historian John Fea: “The traditional institutions [that evangelicals] deemed essential to a healthy society…. [were] crumbling around them, and they were terrified.”49 The overlap between religion and ideology of shared attitudes and values of matters both spiritual and temporal contributed to the outcome of the presidential election. Bringing success to Donald Trump’s campaign, their preferred candidate had “frequently positioned himself as a protector of an interpretation of the first amendment that allowed religious groups greater freedom to call on the power of the state.”50 On election day, Protestants comprised approximately 50% of the electorate, of whom 56% voted for Trump; moreover, 77% of white evangelical Protestants also voted for Trump.51 In reciprocation, the Trump administration has supported efforts to renegotiate or redirect the political, regulatory, and legal limits and boundaries of social causes that are of concern to conservative evangelicals as well as extend the reach of the preeminence of anxieties over loss of religious liberty in policymaking.52 As Fea notes, “Fear is the political language conservative evangelicals know best.”53 In addition to fear of the consequences of society’s moral decline, religious motivation finds its spiritual rationale not only in the Bible but increasingly in postmillennial biblical theology. In early evangelical revivals, spiritual emphases had been placed on reviving the spiritual commitment of individual Christians for the salvation of their souls. However, revivalists from Billy Graham to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson had increasingly sensed that the moral depravity and decline of American culture undermined their efforts to bring lost souls to Christ. Since the 1980s, reflecting postmillennialist influence, revivalists have discernibly shifted their emphases from personal salvation to political commitment toward the nation’s reclamation of its Christian origins and the reconstruction of its culture and society. The new revivalists maintain that a powerful, spiritual-political commitment will contribute exponentially to the saving of souls.54 By reinvigorating and strengthening political efforts to renew the Judeo-Christian principles upon which they perceive that the nation had been founded, revivalists declare that the entire society will be blessed by God. They have encouraged Christians to focus on the principle truths contained in the Bible as presuppositional to personal morality and political ethics. In this way, biblical teachings must and can be applied in every aspect of life, including legislative enactments and governmental

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public policies. Attuned to this shift in revivalism, the presidential elections of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump reacted accordingly. Conservative evangelicals strongly supported both presidential candidates as the contenders elevated political principles and demoted spiritual salvation in their promulgation of a new “revivalist nationalism.”55 Biblical themes of revivalist nationalism complemented the objectives of conservative Christians who were already spiritually motivated by the divine directive of the Great Commission. Acting on the Commission’s charge to evangelize throughout the world by preaching the gospel message of salvation to all peoples and nations, they also acted in tandem with efforts to effect righteous changes in polity and culture. While fulfilling the Commission’s mandate, they often engaged in political activism and court litigation when they believed that their religious liberty was being curtailed in such a way that it negatively impacted their evangelizing efforts. Today, conservative evangelical Protestants and their religious political allies have increasingly expanded their religious reach, including into the judicial arena: “Evangelicalism has come a long way in the last twenty years, moving beyond the single-issue, instrumentalist view of political involvement that was prevalent a few years ago.”56 With their attention increasingly focused on God’s displeasure with the moral decline of American culture and the threat it poses to the nation’s survivability, evangelicals turned their attention to Christian theology’s political dimension for religious guidance and justification on how to respond. In doing so, they have adhered to theologian Charles Davis’s maxim that a political theology must be concerned not only with “the mediation of the transcendent through the political, but with the preservation of the political as an intrinsically human value.”57 The political character of the fusion of the transcendent and the individual has provided a powerful portal through which evangelicals have become seriously motivated to critique, redesign, and restructure not only American culture but American political institutions.

Political Theology Evangelical political theology emerged at the intersection of spiritual concerns of religion and moral-cultural issues and practices of politics. The murky intersection raised descriptive questions of how political society and culture function; religious normative questions of which goals are appropriate to pursue, achieve, or maximize; and prescriptive questions of

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political activism on how best to achieve political-theological objectives. To answer these questions, evangelicals have incorporated conservative political ideology into their political theology. This blend of political conservatism and evangelical Christianity guides them in identifying the more beneficial causes that will aid them in their efforts to halt America’s moral decline and return the nation to its Christian origins. Indeed, the idea of a Christian America was deeply rooted in the colonial Puritans’ belief that divine guidance led them to North America to establish a Christian commonwealth. Evangelical political theology has constructed a biblical worldview that includes the Puritans’ divine inspiration with which to inculcate Christian believers, assist in the development of religious ethics of political leaders, and influence the content, formation, and implementation of public policies. The evangelical American Culture and Faith Institute defines a worldview as “the mental framework that helps people to make sense of their world. It serves as a filter to help us understand and respond to reality. Because a worldview determines what is considered to be good or bad, valuable or worthless, righteous or evil, right or wrong, and so forth.”58 Christian frames of reference based on highly structured arguments of shared religious values and claims have often been presented as biblical worldviews in their attempts to relate their religious commitments to the rest of the natural, social, and moral world. Indeed, “[t]he values within this evangelical moral worldview were secured by the assurance that these perspectives were eternal and sacrosanct, above culture and given by God through the Bible.”59 The a priori biblical presuppositions of biblical worldviews challenge accepted assumptions of contemporary philosophical paradigms. The political-theological worldviews of conservative evangelicals and other religious right movements perceive American society as out of harmony with the original Puritan settlers’ intent of a society and its politics premised on Christian values and expectations. Many assert that the constitutional framework of American liberal democracy has been fundamentally flawed from the beginning: “America made a mistake in the year 1787” when it officially “broke with Christianity.”60 This official break left the United States morally rudderless, they argue, because it refused to acknowledge “the law of God and the gospel of Christ” that served the country so well before the American Revolution.

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In their interpretive history of the United States—from the late nineteenth century into the 1960s—conservative evangelicals have lamented the public policies and court decisions that have diminished the place and role of religion in public education: Consequently, “the Protestant outlook has been expelled from public schools.”61 Furthermore, this break with Christianity and its effect on public education has penetrated other policy venues of society with the federal government’s expanded stance of religious neutrality, which today “has gradually turned into a mild to severe antagonism toward religion.”62 The secular government’s laws and legal decisions, they argue, have nearly eradicated “Christianity from public life,” creating “widespread rootlessness and disorientation.” This perceived state of ruinous secularization has inspired a resistance movement of evangelical Protestants, fundamentalists, and other Christian conservatives who “seek to bring the laws of their society into harmony with God’s laws.”63 As a corollary to the moral imperative of the Great Commission, conservative evangelicals also tend to actively embrace a religious obligation to transform the moral tenor of societies beyond the restoration of previous moral standards. They also include a directive to comprehensively reconstruct society in an effort to achieve both personal and social righteousness as they await Christ’s return. To this end, postmillennial political theology provides both spiritual motivation and scriptural justification to transform political society. Popular in the nineteenth century, postmillennialism gradually viewed the American nation as a means to bring about a millennium of Christian civilization.64 However, due to NorthSouth splits within denominations over abolition of slavery with the social and economic devastation of the American Civil War that followed, premillennialism became predominant among Christians in the latter decades of the nineteenth century and during most of the twentieth century. But, in the late twentieth century, conservative evangelicals began to revisit the postmillennialism that had dominated American evangelicalism of the nineteenth century. To revitalize the centrality of nineteenth-century postmillennialism in faith and society, in the 1970s and 1980s a coterie of Christian Reconstructionist theologians and publishers of the neo-Calvinist Reformed tradition challenged the cultural norms of American society, including those of mainline Christian denominations. They widely disseminated elaborate exegeses of Old and New Testament scriptures with intellectually compelling arguments that the Kingdom of God is already present as a work

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in progress.65 Their exegeses of the morally and legally binding, holy covenants and divinely inspired laws in the Bible reveal that the key concept of the millennium can only be properly understood when interpreted as a metaphor. The “millennium” refers to an undefined amount of time that will be necessary to reconstruct contemporary, mainline Christian theology as well as secular civil society. According to Reconstructionism, the scriptures teach that both reconstructions must and will precede Christ’s Second Advent, regardless of the length of time that is needed for reconstruction.66 Thus, their postmillennialism—as the motivating essence of their political theology—directs Christians to engage politically in building the Kingdom of God not only in the United States but throughout the world. As many observers have noted, this well-developed, postmillennial theology emanating from Reformed Christianity, which “maintains that there are close ties between intellectual history and the spiritual struggle” of Christians in the modern world, has been particularly attractive to religious conservatives who have engaged in American politics.67 Political scientist Clyde Wilcox notes that, by the 1990s, the Reconstructionists’ “arguments [were] increasingly incorporated into mainstream writing…. [and] serious discussions [were] taking place among some Christian Right activists of how to go about restructuring society to conform with biblical law.”68 The influence of Christian Reconstructionism has now filtered through conservative and mainline Protestant denominations. Currently, 31% of Protestant pastors “identify their church as ‘Calvinist or Reformed.’”69 Their theological embrace of the Reformed tradition includes emphases on individual conversion or personal regeneration due to Christ’s sacrifice, the ultimate authority in all of life of the teachings of the Bible, and God’s command to regulate the morals of society.70 As Reformed theological proponents disseminated their ideas to a national Christian audience and generated popular appeal among evangelicals and others, many of the political-theological arguments of Christian Reconstructionism found their way into mainline Protestant denominational teachings. Conservative evangelicals seeking common ground with other religious conservatives have gravitated toward the postmillennial theological tradition when addressing the intersection of religion and politics, and church and state. Their arguments are frequently invoked as Christians attempt to persuade school boards, state legislators, and court judges to relax if not rescind restrictions on religious expression in the

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public square. Moreover, believing that the founders of the American republic failed to follow the path of those who a century earlier had sought to build a Christian commonwealth, many have expanded their political critiques to challenge the political architecture of the US Constitution itself.

American Political Architecture The foundation of the political architecture of the American republic rests on a set of epistemological approaches, political theoretical arguments, and select postulates of natural and moral philosophy, the essences of which have evolved, developed, and solidified over the past six centuries. (Chapter 2) The complex and interwoven processes of the architectural design of politics reveal a symbiotic if fluid mosaic of self-interest and individual rights, religious liberty and biblical worldviews, political and religious liberalism, interest groups and the factional imperative, and dynamics of political economy and democratic processes. Within this political architecture, political challenges arise when mixing the ethos of any particular religious orientation with the dynamics of interest-group politics. The architecture attempts to identify the optimal intersection that maximizes the range of religious liberties with minimal limits on those liberties to assure political stability. Thus is born the religious question as succinctly inferred by legal historian Mark DeWolfe Howe: “[T]he question of what restrictions law and policy may properly impose upon the [religious] ministry’s participation in public affairs.”71 For the political architects of the American republic, the religious question focuses on the extent to which the active presence of religion in the public square may be enriching of or deleterious to the common good. What are the tolerable limits of religious pluralism in civil society and politics? When is it legitimate for religion to influence public policymaking? Does the success of religious political activism have a positive or negative impact on the development and maintenance of civil society? What kind of political structure provides the solution to the religious question whereby it contains the fires of faith with the optimal relationship between church and state necessary for a peaceful and stable civil society? More simply, what kind of structure simultaneously restrains yet encourages religious freedom broadly construed? Furthermore, to build this containment structure, of what does the necessary philosophical groundwork

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consist such that the logic of the structure may maintain a democratically acceptable tension between restraint and freedom? And what conclusions may be inferred regarding potential or present religious threats to the containment structure in its efforts to maintain a relatively open civil society under democratic governance? To protect its core political values, American political architecture has built a containment structure to restrain the internal forces and stresses of interest-group demands on political institutions and public agencies as well as their impact on civil society. The structure’s integrity requires a solid groundwork and a sturdy framework to maintain acceptable political stress levels for the structure’s long-term durability. Its strength may then safeguard the design and expectations of American political architecture with its liberal-democratic institutions and the rights and liberties of individuals who inhabit its confines. That is, according to the political architects, individuals and associative organizations must be secure in their political and civil rights for maximization of their freedoms, as well as encouraged to participate in democratic politics and public policymaking by accepting and operating within the bounds of the American republic’s containment structure. The containment structure of American political architecture protects diverse biblical worldviews that embody the shared religious attitudes, motives, and objectives of its proponents and their followers. Nevertheless, the evolution toward religious pluralism has increasingly raised serious political and legal questions regarding the interface between church and state, religion and politics—primarily the problem of protecting the church from the state and the state from the church. But within the confines of the structure, a seething quagmire of competitive and contrary interests, compromises and negotiations, authoritarian and democratic impulses, and wins and losses, adds pressure that increasingly tries the tinsel strength of the structure’s boundaries to the point of breaking. The overwhelming pressure stems from particular biblical worldviews that propagate demands for expansion of religious liberty in order to challenge the integrity of the containment structure itself.

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Religious Axis Appreciation of the powerful epistemic, axiological, and political properties of the religious dynamics in motion that challenge the containment structure and its boundaries warrants a comparative appreciation of corresponding properties of American political architecture, which includes the design of the structure (Chapter 3). To comprehend the properties as three philosophical foundations of the political architecture, Karl Jaspers’s philosophy of history furnishes a particularly appropriate analytical framework with which to discern identifiable intellectual breakthroughs or “axial moments” that serve as an “axial age or period,” whose unique combination influences the political structure of society far beyond the period itself. Through investigation of select historical and political events and philosophical content of contemporaneous writings from the late medieval era into the early modern era, as suggested by Jaspers, the results of philosophical, theological, and political analyses corroborate the origins of a historic period or axis—styled here “the religious axis.” It reveals the political and theoretical relevance of five axial moments that punctuated the equilibrium of prevailing political or religious paradigms—an inductive turn in logic, separation of theological speculation on final causes from natural philosophy, religious pluralism and the separation of church and state, ontology of religious liberty, and a factional imperative—during the axis’s 600-year liminal period of Western intellectual history. During this liminal transitory period, presuppositional breakdowns and intellectual breakthroughs formed new symbiotic relationships. Within the philosophical foundations of the religious axis, American political architecture identified and appropriated the necessary components for construction of its containment structure to provide the solution to the religious question of church-state relations. The foundations’ interactive methodologies provided the justification for the place of religion in society and the public square.

Philosophical Foundations During the liminal period, the axial moments interjected fresh notions and perspectives that challenged underlying conventional justifications of prevailing church-state relations. The epistemic foundation forged an alternative path of development when an “inductive turn” emerged during the

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twelfth-century Renaissance (Chapter 4). Recognition of the turn in logic slowly gained support as philosophers and theologians began reevaluating validity in the structure of logical arguments, especially as they reconsidered the epistemological limits of demonstrative reasoning and inference to the best explanation. This turn stimulated a gradual move away from Aristotelian demonstrative (deductive) logic as well as undermined Aristotelian final causes of the dominant political-theological traditions. Loosely—but precariously—intertwined with the epistemic foundation, the axiological foundation developed primarily out of a crisis of political theology as intellectual challenges had begun to undermine the theological basis of church-state regimes of the late medieval era (Chapter 5). Application of the inductive turn advanced acceptance of the hypotheticaldeductive model of investigations in natural philosophy in its progressive development culminating in the new natural philosophy or science and modern political science. Furthermore, the foundation’s alternative hermeneutics and political theologies increasingly justified unfettered freedom of conscience, religious liberty, and competition among diverse and contrary religious expressions and practices. Intertwined—but insecurely—with the epistemic and axiological foundations, the political foundation merged with philosophical rationalism and the elevation of individual perceptions of the good to resist the continuation of political-theological frameworks based on Aristotelian “final causes” of the medieval era (Chapter 6). Through challenges to establishments of religion, the foundation postulated abstract theories of individual rights and democratic principles from the ontological status of religious liberty and the presence of a factional imperative in society, both of which laid the political groundwork for preserving while limiting the reach of religious liberty. Radically challenging insights and revolutionary possibilities emanated from the analytical evolution of these evolving and intertwining philosophical foundations in the twelfth century that congealed and later solidified in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Many of the insights and possibilities were embraced by early American political architects who sought to construct a new political edifice to replace that of their medieval predecessors regarding church-state relations. As the architects designed their revolutionary edifice, they shaped the essence, integrity, and character of the architecture of the American republic, especially in its design and construction of a structure to contain chaotic fires of faith.

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To analyze the logic, intent, and insights of the philosophical foundations, each chapter begins with a historical account that serves as an entry point from which to appreciate the philosophical development of that particular foundation. As it traces the foundation’s intellectual path, the chapter also presents a political-theological alternative approach or worldview that challenges the foundation’s veracity and sustainability.

Paradoxes American political architecture’s logic of the containment structure has presented several paradoxes: Madisonian paradox on factions, religious paradox on the origins of separation of church and state, paradox of pluralism and democracy, and paradox of rational self-interest and collective irrationality, among others (Chapter 7). Most if not all of these may be subsumed within the paradox of diverse and competing religious interests and political theologies that challenge the philosophical foundations of the religious axis. Whether by intent or accident, successful challenges weaken the boundaries and ultimately undermine the logic of the containment structure’s preservation of the American constitutional republic’s church-state relationship. Evangelical critics of American secular society fault school board members, political leaders and government officials, and Supreme Court justices and judges who have long relied on the containment structure’s normative boundaries to enact legislation; design, form, and implement public policies; or issue judicial court decisions that reinforce the decadent effects of secularism over the moral benefits of Christianity. To reverse society’s moral decline, they have developed and disseminated their political-theological biblical worldviews among other conservative Christians predisposed to their religious biases in their social and political criticisms. In challenging the boundaries of the containment structure, discontented evangelicals have also increasingly endorsed a political strategy of evangelization as well as structural changes through myriad religious institutions of civil society. Attempts at structural change have been varied, including Christian homeschooling, political participation in the public square, and litigation over religious liberty threats and protections in the courts. In addition, their growing forays into electoral politics have swelled the ranks of disaffected Christians at the polls, which has augmented their efforts to dismantle the containment structure from within.

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The presuppositions of conservative, evangelical political theology pose a unique but ambiguous challenge to the integrity of American political architecture and the sustainability of its containment structure.

Notes 1. Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden, Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017), 99–105. 2. Steve Green, “Accepts the 2013 Templeton Award,” April 22, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awrALVLc2zo/ (accessed July 2, 2018). 3. Mark A. Chancey, Reading, Writing & Religion II: Texas Public School Bible Courses in 2011–12 (Longview, TX: Texas Freedom Network, 2013), 16. 4. Moss and Baden, Bible Nation, 104. 5. Ibid., 105. 6. National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, http://www. bibleinschools.net/index.php/ (accessed July 1, 2018). 7. Steve Green and Todd Hillard, The Bible in America: What We Believe About the Most Important Book in Our History (Oklahoma City: Dust Jacket Press, 2013). 8. Ibid., 44. 9. Ibid., 75. 10. Ibid., 87. 11. Vidal v. Girard’s Executor, 43 U.S. 126 (1844). 12. Green and Hillard, Bible in America, 88–89. 13. Ibid., 89. 14. Ibid., 111–12. 15. Mark A. Chancey, “‘Complete Victory Is Our Objective’: The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools,” Religion & Education 35, no. 1 (Winter 2008): 1. 16. Moss and Baden, Bible Nation, 106, 111–14, 117–19. 17. Green, “Accepts the 2013 Templeton Award.” 18. Elizabeth Dias, “The Family Behind a $500 Million Bible Museum Hopes to Change Washington,” Time, November 17, 2017, http://time.com/ 5029473/bible-museum-steve-green-hobby-lobby/ (accessed August 8, 2018). 19. Ibid. 20. Brian Solomon, “Meet David Green: Hobby Lobby’s Biblical Billionaire,” Forbes, September 18, 2012, https://www.forbes.com/sites/ briansolomon/2012/09/18/david-green-the-biblical-billionaire-backingthe-evangelical-movement/#10b8257c5807/ (accessed August 19, 2018).

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21. Green and Hillard, Bible in America, 105 (emphasis original). 22. Roger Williams, “Mr. Cottons Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered,” in The Complete Writings of Roger Williams, vol. 1 (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2007), 392 (modern grammar and spelling applied, capitalization original). 23. Ibid. 24. Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018), 302, 319–20. 25. Rousas John Rushdoony, “Chalcedon Report No. 1, October 1, 1965,” in The Roots of Reconstruction, ed. Rushdoony (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 545. 26. Rousas John Rushdoony, The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum, 3rd ed. (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2016), 14. 27. Ibid., 7. 28. Ibid., 9, 15. 29. Julie J. Ingersoll, Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstruction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 80–81. 30. Ibid., 97. 31. Fitzgerald, Evangelicals, 1, 17. 32. Seth Dowland, Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 2–12. 33. Fitzgerald, Evangelicals, 9. 34. Deal W. Hudson, Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States (New York: Threshold Editions, 2008), 20, 146–47; Jennifer S. Butler, Born Again: The Christian Right Globalized (Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2006), 13. 35. Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006), 164–65. 36. Frederick Mark Gedicks, “Truth and Consequences: Mitt Romney, Proposition 8, and Public Reason,” Alabama Law Review 61, no. 2 (2010): 364–68. 37. Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. ___ (2015), 3. 38. Zack Stanton, “How Betsy DeVos Used God and Amway to Take over Michigan Politics,” Politico Magazine, January 15, 2017, http://www. politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/betsy-dick-devos-family-amwaymichigan-politics-religion-214631/ (accessed May 29, 2017). 39. Kristina Rizga, “Betsy DeVos Wants to Use America’s Schools to Build “God’s Kingdom,” Mother Jones, March–April, 2017, http:// www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/01/betsy-devos-christian-schoolsvouchers-charter-education-secretary/ (accessed May 29, 2017). 40. Greg L. Bahnsen, “The Theonomic Position,” in God and Politics: Four Views on the Reformation of Civil Government, ed. Gary Scott Smith (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1989), 21–22 (emphasis original).

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41. Catherine A. Lugg, “The Christian Right: A Cultivated Collection of Interest Groups,” Educational Policy 15, no. 1 (January 2001): 52. 42. Council for National Policy, Education Reform Report, February 2017, https://chrisstroop.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/err-cnp-site. pdf/ (accessed May 29, 2017). 43. Donald J. Trump, “Remarks by President Trump at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference,” The White House, June 8, 2017, p. 7, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/ 08/remarks-president-trump-faith-and-freedom-coalitions-road-majority/ (accessed June 9, 2017). 44. Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life, “Religious Landscape Study, 2014: Political Ideology,” http://www.pewforum.org/religiouslandscape-study/political-ideology/ (accessed July 24, 2018). 45. Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life, “Religious Landscape Study, 2014: Religions,” http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscapestudy/ (accessed July 24, 2018). 46. Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life, “Religious Landscape Study, 2014: Political Ideology,” http://www.pewforum.org/religiouslandscape-study/political-ideology/ (accessed July 24, 2018). 47. Fitzgerald, Evangelicals, 11. 48. Clyde Wilcox, Matthew DeBell, and Lee Sigelman, “The Second Coining of the New Christian Right: Patterns of Popular Support in 1984 and 1996,” Social Science Quarterly 80, no. 1 (March 1999): 184–85. 49. John Fea, Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2018), 29. 50. Melani McAlister, The Kingdom of God Has No Borders: A Global History of American Evangelicals (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 288. 51. Pew Research Center: U.S. Politics & Policy, “An Examination of the 2016 Electorate, Based on Validated Voters,” August 9, 2018, http://www.people-press.org/2018/08/09/an-examination-ofthe-2016-electorate-based-on-validated-voters/ (accessed October 12, 2018). 52. See, for example, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “Implementation of Memorandum on Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty,” Memorandum for All Component Heads and United States Attorneys, Department of Justice (Washington, DC, October 6, 2017). 53. Fea, Believe Me, 15. 54. Daniel Hummel, “Revivalist Nationalism Since World War II: From ‘Wake Up, America!’ to ‘Make America Great Again’,” in Christian Nationalism in the United States, ed. Mark T. Edwards (Basel, Switzerland: MDPI, 2017), 124–29. 55. Jerry Falwell, quoted in Daniel Hummel, “Revivalist Nationalism,” 125.

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56. Tracy Kuperus, “An Eclectic Inheritance: Kuyper’s Politics Today,” Comment Magazine, October 25, 2013, https://www.cardus.ca/comment/ article/an-eclectic-inheritance-kuypers-politics-today/ (accessed July 16, 2018). 57. Charles Davis, Theology and Political Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 22. 58. American Culture & Faith Institute, “Groundbreaking ACFI Survey Reveals How Many Adults Have a Biblical Worldview,” https:// www.culturefaith.com/groundbreaking-survey-by-acfi-reveals-how-manyamerican-adults-have-a-biblical-worldview/ (accessed September 17, 2018). 59. James K. Wellman, Jr., and Matthew Keyes, “Portable Politics and Durable Religion: The Moral Worldviews of American Evangelical Missionaries,” Sociology of Religion 68, no. 4 (2007): 392. 60. David McAllister, The National Reform Movement: Its History and Principles: A Manual of Christian Civil Government (Philadelphia: Aldine Press, 1890), 23–24. 61. Harold O. J. Brown, “The Christian America Position,” in God and Politics: Four Views on the Reformation of Civil Government, ed. Gary Scott Smith (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1989), 148. 62. Ibid., 134. 63. Ibid., 135–39. 64. John R. Pottenger, “Millennial Groups and American Pluralism,” in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S., ed. Barbara A. McGraw (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), 113–15. 65. Gary DeMar, “Questions Frequently Asked About Christian Reconstruction,” in Christian Reconstruction: What It Is, What It Isn’t, ed. Gary North and DeMar (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), 88, 129. 66. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., “Postmillennialism,” in Three Views of Millennialism and Beyond, ed. Darrell L. Bock (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999), 25–28. 67. Albert M. Wolters, “On the Idea of Worldview and Its Relation to Philosophy,” in Stained Glass: Worldviews and Social Science, ed. Paul A. Marshall, Sander Griffioen, and Richard J. Mouw (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1989), 14. 68. Clyde Wilcox and Karen Larson, Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics, 3rd ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2006), 156. 69. Barna Group, “Is There a ‘Reformed’ Movement in American Churches?” Research Releases in Faith & Christianity, November 15, 2010, https://www.barna.com/research/is-there-a-reformed-movementin-american-churches/ (accessed July 29, 2018).

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70. Dowland, Family Values, 16. 71. Mark DeWolfe Howe, The Garden and the Wilderness: Religion and Government in American Constitutional History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), 61.

CHAPTER 2

American Political Architecture: Establishmentarianism, Toleration, Containment

In 1772, twenty-six-year-old Jeremiah Moore, a lay reader in the Church of England in the British colony of Virginia, converted to the Baptist faith. While Moore’s conversion was not unusual, it occurred during a lull in conversions between the Great Awakenings of the mid-eighteenth century (1730s–1750s) and late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries (1790s– 1830s). Conversion rates spiked during both awakenings, but during the lull in between conversions and church adherence declined at an alarming rate. The decline was due in part to the formal establishments of religion—principally Anglican or Congregationalist—in several colonies of British America.1 Furthermore, the exploratory methods, ideals, and principles of the Enlightenment had become ensconced in virtually all aspects of societies in North America, including religious confessions and associations. Under its pervasive and increasingly withering critiques of traditional state and society, Enlightenment rationalism challenged Puritan as well as other religious doctrines regarding church-state governance, as religious establishments attempted to inaugurate the ideal Christian commonwealth.2 The appeal of reason over faith significantly eroded the appeal of mainline Christianity. Individuals increasingly questioned their own religious identities, which in turn gradually undermined the earlier covenants that had bound them to society’s moral and religious objectives.3 Indeed, by the mid-1770s the rate of adherents to religious denominations across the colonies comprised only 17% of the entire population.4 © The Author(s) 2020 J. R. Pottenger, Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis, Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33974-6_2

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Contemplating a vocation as a Baptist minister preaching redemption and salvation, Moore optimistically perceived the sparse adherence to religious denominations during the lull as a missionary field plentiful with backsliders and unconverted souls ripe for the harvest. He soon embarked on a calling as an itinerant preacher and traveled throughout Virginia as well as other colonies to address congregations on the need of eternal salvation.5 In his travels and open-air meetings, Moore preached novel interpretations of elements of the Christian tradition, which were often at odds with established creeds. While his preaching challenged the spiritually errant ways of his audiences, it also stimulated listeners to question the veracity of formally approved teachings of the colonies’ favored denominations. It also eventually called into question the legitimacy of specific religious establishments. As they successfully reaped lost souls, Moore and many other preachers of the less-favored religious denominations and sects disseminated unconventional Christian beliefs and practices that ultimately played a crucial and transformative role in the emergence of a new American political architecture of law, politics, and society of the modern era. During the following three centuries, the impact of their efforts resulted in the dramatic reconfiguration of the traditional relationship between church and state. A particularly decisive argument in that reconfiguration ultimately challenged the rationale that had long defended the establishmentarian perspective. Ironically, the argument for formal separation of church and state itself would also employ a religious or metaphysical justification.

Establishmentarianism On the eve of the First Great Awakening—four decades prior to Moore’s own conversion and his spiritual commitment to preaching passionate but heretical beliefs—the clergy of the established religions in New England and elsewhere reiterated the importance of the basic teachings and beliefs of their preferred political theologies. As though anticipating the imminent emergence of a new generation of spiritually weak believers who may one day encounter an evangelical itinerant preacher like Moore, they sought to strengthen the legitimacy of their privileged positions as allies of the state and its civil authorities. They reminded the faithful that during the previous century, conventional political theologies had defended established churches and praised their contributions in the construction

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of politically stable and morally just societies.6 However restrictive and onerous the burdens of religious establishment may be, they insisted, the obligatory piety and devotion required of all citizens would pale in comparison with the certainty of social dislocations and political upheavals that would surely result if basic and divinely moral teachings were forsaken.7 The public preaching of Rev. Benjamin Colman epitomized the establishmentarianism of Christian polities. In 1730, Benjamin Colman, a Calvinist and Reformed preacher in Boston, enthusiastically supported the new colonial governor appointed by the British crown, Congregationalist Jonathan Belcher. In Belcher’s honor, Colman delivered a public lecture on the importance of maintaining and supporting the institutions of prevailing church-state relations. His lecture, which was later printed and widely disseminated in the colonies of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, focused on the orthodox Christian doctrine of the proper relationship between church and state: “Civil government is of divine institution, and God commissions and entrusts with the administration whom he pleases…. He puts the scepter into the hand, and the spirit of government into the heart.”8 Colman’s lecture presented a defense of the legitimacy of religious establishment and a divinely ordained political architecture of the role of civil government and its relationship to religion. It also further envisioned a society of morally decent and spiritually oriented citizens as a necessary condition to vouchsafe social and political stability. And, he asserted, the only proper source of morality is religion itself: “As government is the pillar of the earth, so religion is the pillar of government. … if religion rule in the hearts and lives of rulers, GOD will have glory, and the people be made happy.”9 Furthermore, Colman’s establishmentarianism presumed that the moral and religious teachings of the established Christian faith must be binding on all citizens and other inhabitants of society, regardless of their own religious confessions. Consequently, it was incumbent upon political authorities to assure that public law reflected orthodox Christian beliefs. The civil authorities would then enforce the law in order to promote virtuous behavior while prohibiting immoral and vicious behavior. To this end, he argued, magistrates were to apply their “superior wisdom and knowledge, skill and prudence, discretion and judgment” to the civil order.10 As if subconsciously aware of the religious and political revolutionary fervor about to be unleashed in America toward the end of the lull between the two Great Awakenings, he reminded his listeners, “Government is not a creature of man’s lust and will, but of divine constitution.”11

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Colman’s argument presupposed the following axiom: The political state has a necessary and thus legitimate interest in the public promotion of moral values and good social practices by which members of society must abide as necessary to serve the public interest. In its rationale for religious establishment to achieve this end, the state deems as necessary the promulgation and inculcation of orthodox teachings and beliefs throughout the commonwealth in order to cultivate “civil society as the good society.”12 To achieve the good society, the state has a divinely necessary and thus legitimate interest in subordinating a church whose preferred religious teachings and guiding standards of acceptable practice may serve as the engine for its public policy objectives. Reliance on a religious engine would not only increase greater social civility as well as provide legitimacy for the state’s objectives but in the process would reduce the burden on limited state resources necessary for law enforcement and incarceration. From this state-centric approach, then, the colonies’ successful cultivation of the good society required an identified favorable church whose religious teachings would be privileged by the state. Thus, a favored religion was a necessary condition for the political establishment to maintain the homogeneity of individual morals and social expectations necessary to promote and develop public virtue.13 Nevertheless, before and during the lull between the Great Awakenings, the economy of the religious marketplace in the American colonies continued to expand. The arrival of primarily European immigrants brought novel and increasingly diverse interpretations of Christian traditions as well as new religious movements to the attention of religious consumers. The growing presence of competing interpretations, traditions, and movements increasingly challenged the orthodox teachings and beliefs of established religions, the prescribed character of the establishments’ ideals of the good society, and often political stability itself. To restrain the emerging threat of the marketplace’s appeal with its active trade in religious identities, the defenders of the established religions were forced to adjust the rationales for their monopolies on privileged positions and collusion with colonial governments. Ancillary to establishmentarianism’s justification of the political status of the privileged church vis-à-vis any other churches, denominations, or sects, two necessary but contrary enforcement options invariably presented themselves: political intolerance or legal toleration.14 Church-state establishments typically employed either one or the other of these two options in their attempts to shape the societal and political ethos of the

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colonies. Nevertheless, with either option, colonial political authorities would continue to promote and defend the privileged church’s moral teachings and expectations of acceptable social and religious practices and commitments throughout the colonies. Indeed, Colman’s lecture hearkened back to the previous century’s experiments with the former option of political intolerance.

In the Beginning In 1630, Puritan colonists who arrived in North America attempted to establish a Christian commonwealth in the Massachusetts Bay area. Guided by John Calvin’s Reformed theology, the Puritan leader John Winthrop declared that the commonwealth would be a “city upon a hill” to serve as a beacon of righteousness before the rest of the world in order that the colonists would be kept in God’s favor.15 Moreover, Winthrop had earlier announced his intention that the commonwealth “will be a service of great consequence to the church of God to carry the Gospel of Christ to those parts of the world, and to raise a bulwark against the kingdoms of Anti-Christ; which the Jesuits labor to rear up in all places of the world.”16 In fact, Winthrop’s Massachusetts Bay Colony was one of five Puritan colonies in New England, all of which were committed “to complete the Reformation” that had begun in Europe.17 Even so, disagreements over theological orthodoxy among Puritan congregations, which were individually governed, ensued and remained unsettled for nearly two decades.18 In 1648, representatives of the congregations met in the first session of the Puritans’ ecclesiastical court or synod in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The purpose of the synod’s session was to produce a document—Cambridge Platform of Church Discipline—to settle the question of the intent and proper structure of governance of the Congregational churches. The Platform stated, “A Congregational church is by the institution of Christ a part of the militant visible church, consisting of a company of saints by calling, united into one body by a holy covenant, for the public worship of God, and the mutual edification one of another, in the fellowship of the Lord Jesus.”19 As if in preparation for religious warfare with Catholic kingdoms of the Anti-Christ, the Platform’s use of the phrase “the militant visible church” referred to “the number of them who are conflicting with their enemies upon earth.” The tone of the Cambridge Platform

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thus presaged an animus toward the autonomy of the state whose ethos would carry forward through the next three-and-a-half centuries. The Cambridge Platform also included the prescribed stance of the church government’s relationship with civil government: “Church government stands in no opposition to civil government of commonwealths, nor any way intrenches upon the authority of civil magistrates in their jurisdiction; nor any whit weakens their hands in governing, but rather strengthened them.”20 However, this nod to separation of church and state applied only to the issue of noninterference between the formal bureaucratic structures of each entity: “As it is unlawful for church officers to meddle with the sword of the magistrate, so it is unlawful for the magistrate to meddle with the work proper to church officers.”21 And yet, the sword of the civil magistrate was expected to enforce the prescribed moral code of all members of Puritan society. According to the moral obligations of Congregational Reformed theology: “It is the duty of the magistrate to take care of matters of religion, and to improve his civil authority for the observing of the duties commanded in the first [table of the Ten Commandments], as well as for observing of the duties commanded in the second table…. In these he of right ought to put forth his authority.”22 The Platform’s stated moral obligations to be enforced included prohibitions of “[i]dolatry, blasphemy, heresy, venting corrupt and pernicious opinions that destroy the foundation, open contempt of the word preached, profanation of the Lord’s day, disturbing the peaceable administration and exercise of the worship and holy things of God, and the like.”23 The Cambridge Platform had in effect reaffirmed the legitimacy of the Body of Liberties, the legal code adopted earlier by the legislative General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1641.24 The General Court had codified Old Testament disciplinary sanctions for those who transgressed the Puritans’ moral code. In addition to idolatry, blasphemy, and heresy, the Body of Liberties included capital punishment for witchcraft as well as stealing, manslaughter, murder, rebellion, and a variety of sexual acts—all of which were accompanied with specific citations of scriptural justification from four of the five books of the Pentateuch.25 Finally, in 1680, a second session of the synod was held in Boston, Massachusetts, which produced the Confession of Faith. The Confession affirmed the application of Congregational canon law and civil law to all citizens, regardless of their adherence to Puritanism or another faith tradition: “Infidelity, or difference in religion, does not make void the magistrate’s

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just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to him.”26 The Puritans had comprehensively embedded the organizational relations, theological doctrines, scriptural citations, and moral expectations of the Cambridge Platform, Body of Liberties, and Confession of the Faith in the political and legal structure of their political experiments with the establishment of Christian commonwealths. After completing plenary codification of religious and political conventions and protocols of the synods, they were reasonably successful in their transplantation to New England of the symbiotic ecclesiastical and political relationship between church and state of European medieval political theology. The religious teachings to live a godly life according to the Puritans’ moral instructions that had also been codified in the law and enforced by civil magistrates were generally accepted by the residents of Massachusetts.27 Consequently, the Congregational churches held sway over religion and politics during the latter half of the seventeenth century and into the early nineteenth century. However, the composition of religious adherents of the other British colonies was not as theologically or morally homogenous. The lack of moral consensus would prove destabilizing for American civil society, especially concerning the legally established and enforced reach of a particular Christian denomination.

Intolerance vs. Toleration Those political regimes of religious establishment that opted for political intolerance continued to prevent or eradicate the presence of unorthodox teachings and practices. Tolerance of any unorthodoxy in their midst, they believed, would contaminate the purity of their religiously virtuous societies, undermine the legitimacy of governmental laws and regulations, and increase social and political instability, which would cause God “to withdraw his present help from us.”28 To retain and defend the religious foundation and divine promise of their good societies, the church-state regimes propagated socially divisive critiques of those who held unorthodox religious beliefs and enforced prohibitions of their teachings in society, including in Colman’s own colony. The Massachusetts Bay Colony had long sought to dissuade peacefully the active presence of religious dissenters who challenged the established Puritan faith. However, with little success, it opted for political intolerance in its struggle to maintain religious uniformity. The trials and convictions

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by the colony’s General Court for sedition and heresy of two notable dissenters—Roger Williams in 1635 and Anne Hutchinson in 1637—exemplify the effects of the colony’s political intolerance. Both Williams and Hutchinson had been charged with and convicted of propagating antinomian interpretations of scripture or teachings of alternative church-state relations at variance with the established political-theological orthodoxy of the colony.29 Their proselytizing efforts, as well as those of others who had engaged in similar heretical and thus illegal activities, were proscribed on pain of imprisonment or banishment from the colony. Nevertheless, in the years that followed, the influx of immigrants increased the presence of diverse non-Puritan religious adherents who espoused unapproved doctrines and practices that threatened the character of civil society. In particular, the “Quaker crisis” of the 1650s greatly exacerbated the unsettling presence of nonconformist religious beliefs and practices as well as disruptive social behavior by religious dissenters who challenged both Puritan orthodoxy and political restrictions.30 In the face of this crisis, the colonial government levied fines against, imprisoned, or expelled dissenters, as well as meted out various forms of corporal punishment, including whippings, mutilations, and hangings to compel Quaker conformity with civil society’s religious and legal expectations.31 Yet, the establishment’s political intolerance failed to quell the spread of Quaker unorthodoxy, all of which ultimately contributed to the colony’s loss of political home rule. In 1691, the unsustainability of the politically intolerant Puritan colony resulted in the British crown’s revocation of the Massachusetts Bay charter.32 The crown declared that the territory of the colony and that of other contiguous Puritan colonies would henceforth become the unified Province of Massachusetts Bay and thus would be placed directly under British royal rule. Ironically, the year before the revocation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s charter, the English Parliament had passed the Toleration Act of 1689. The Toleration Act provided a modicum of freedom of religious expression for dissenters from or nonconformists to the established Church of England. While dissenters and nonconformists were not exempt from the “paying of tithes or other parochial duties, or any other duties to the church or minister,” public assembly and religious worship were permitted.33 Even so, worship services were strictly regulated as to place and only tolerated as to religious content as long as worshipers affirmed the Thirty-nine Articles, the standard definition of Christian doctrine of the Church of England.

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Despite the tepid approach to religious toleration, the relatively free expression permitted by provisions of the Toleration Act had initiated a gradual shift away from political intolerance to legal toleration in New England and other colonies further south. As an alternative to political intolerance, regimes of religious establishment opted for varying degrees of legal toleration of diverse but politically unfavorable religions that competed for adherents. With this option, the colonies could simultaneously protect the political status of the privileged church by legally permitting while limiting the influential reach of unorthodox religious teachings, beliefs, and assemblies in civil society. Nevertheless, regimes with legal toleration also reached limits of sustainability, similar in effect to that of the Puritans’ failed attempt to maintain the religious and moral purity of their Christian commonwealth through political intolerance of the presence of heresies and infidels. The colony of Virginia, for one, legally tolerated dissenters from the established Church of England, including Presbyterians, Quakers, and Baptists. They were permitted to hold their views as long as they paid their taxes to meet the general assessments passed by the colony’s General Assembly, which supported the Anglican clergy and maintained its properties. However, notwithstanding the Toleration Act of 1689, Virginia’s legal limits were not as broadly enacted as those intended by the English Parliament. In fact, antedating the English Toleration Act itself, in 1643 the Virginia General Assembly had already passed an act whose legal provisions for religious toleration were stricter than those of the Toleration Act of 1689. However, rather than revise their public laws in conformity with the relative leniency of the Toleration Act, colonial civil authorities continued enforcing the earlier and more stringent act of the General Assembly.34 The Virginia act stated, “For the preservation of the purity of doctrine and unity of the church, it is enacted that all ministers whatsoever which shall reside in the colony are to be conformable to the orders and constitutions of the Church of England, and the laws therein established, and not otherwise to be admitted to teach or preach publicly or privately, and that the Governor and Counsel do take care that [the] nonconformists upon notice of them shall be compelled to depart the colony with all convenience.”35 Non-establishment approved religious expressions, then, continued to be in violation of colonial law, if not English law, and, consequently, the character of Virginia’s religious establishment resembled more that of

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political intolerance than legal toleration. Confusion abounded throughout Virginia and other colonies as the intensity of legal and political conflict varied with local challenges to religious interpretation and law enforcement. Indeed, Virginia’s classical political architecture with its legal structure of toleration began to weaken under the stresses and strains of rapidly developing political and religious pluralism in the colony’s public square.

Classical Political Architecture Under Stress The religious tumult and disarray of the Protestant Reformation during the sixteenth century and well into the seventeenth century had paradoxically inspired the growth of Christian notions of liberty of conscience and religious pluralism as well as the classical architecture of church-state establishments that embraced either political intolerance or legal toleration.36 But on the heels of the Reformation and on into the eighteenth century preceding the American Revolution, the growing popularity of Newtonian natural philosophy and Enlightenment rationalism alongside civic republicanism had penetrated the British colonies—including Massachusetts and Virginia—and thus laid the groundwork for revolutionary changes in the architecture of future church-state relations.37 The gathering storm was driven by the powerful ethos of radical individualism, which defended the diversity of spiritual confessions and competing political and religious associations. In Anglican Virginia, Baptist preacher Jeremiah Moore was not always welcomed by colonial adherents of the Church of England. Angry mobs frequently descended upon his open-air proselytizing to halt the dissemination of ideas at variance with Anglican orthodoxy, which, they believed, would subvert the spiritual legitimacy of ecclesiastical authorities and undermine social cohesion.38 In 1773, three years before the General Assembly of Virginia—and the Continental Congress—declared its independence from Great Britain, Moore was arrested by civil authorities and jailed for his illegal preaching. He was charged with refusing to recite and publically endorse the traditional Christian creeds while instead voicing his own unorthodox interpretations of Christian doctrine. Notwithstanding his confinement, Moore “preached through the barred windows, and is said to have attracted crowds.”39 He was initially sentenced “to lie in jail during life” for having “preached a different doctrine” from that approved by the Anglican Church.

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Moore’s incarceration for lack of permission to preach openly his doctrinal interpretations was not unique; dozens of Baptist as well as Methodist and other dissenting preachers had also been jailed in Virginia for preaching unauthorized doctrines during the decade preceding the Revolution. Nevertheless, the colonial authorities’ efforts to hinder the preaching of dissenters and thus stymie the growth of adherents to unorthodox doctrines that challenged the legitimacy of the religious and political status quo appeared to have had the opposite effect: “In their efforts to win converts the jailed Baptists were highly successful. Their preaching had additional results, both direct and indirect, which affected a wider audience than those who listened at the prison windows…. A revitalized religion was finding a ready audience, and the added drama of imprisonment gave it further impetus.”40 Patrick Henry, a lawyer and future revolutionary, successfully defended Moore in court. The judge referred to the more tolerant provisions of the 1643 act of the General Assembly and released the Baptist preacher after proclaiming him free from future legal charges.41 After his acquittal, Moore continued preaching and later served with colonial troops in Virginia’s revolutionary fight to free itself from the sovereignty of the British crown. But, his commitment to and participation in the revolution were not driven solely by colonial patriotism. It included devotion to his religious faith and the desire to proclaim it openly without fear of political repression. On the eve of the American Revolution, the principle of an inherent right to religious liberty in the marketplace of religion was surging in popularity, while public support of the legitimacy of establishments of privileged religions had begun to wane. Perceiving an affinity between religious liberty and political liberty, Moore and many other Baptists, Presbyterians, and Anglican dissenters sought to extend the Revolution’s objective beyond that of simply securing political independence from British rule.42 They declared that a successful revolution for independence was a necessary precondition in any successful effort to contest the establishment of religion in the colonies and later states. The dissenters understood their struggle for independence to be one of moving beyond governmental restraints of religious toleration toward public recognition and protection of religious liberty. Indeed, they proclaimed as axiomatic that policies of religious toleration were fundamentally incompatible with those of religious liberty. In order to succeed in dismantling religious establishments, the distinction between political dissidents and religious dissenters became

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increasingly blurred as both dissidents and dissenters shared political and religious values and allied with each other for mutual benefit. But for many political officeholders—both in Great Britain and in the American colonies—the blurred distinction was cause for alarm, especially as it increasingly challenged the practice of establishmentarianism.

Dissenters’ Dissidence In 1775, as a member of the British Parliament, Edmund Burke opposed the growing independence movement of the American colonies, fearful that the virtues sustained by religious institutions that underpinned civil society as the good society—historically and theologically—would be undermined by the movement’s revolutionary ethos. Burke expressed alarm at the symbiotic relationship between political dissidence and religious dissent that had recently emerged in the colonies. His distrust focused not only on the potent religious fervor of the relationship but also on its having been harnessed by radical advocates of independence: “Religion, always a principle of energy, in this new [American] people is no way worn out or impaired; and their mode of professing it is also one main cause of this free spirit.”43 The Protestant basis of the preponderance of religious confessions in America, Burke explained, is “not only favorable to liberty, but built upon it.” Burke reminded Parliament that in the history of Great Britain the ecclesiastical structure of Catholicism and the contemporaneous political institutions of civil government had been coevally established and intertwined, and later a similar situation effectively obtained between the Church of England and the British government. Both establishments, he believed, had served Christianity and the British people well. But the “dissenting [religious] interests” that had arisen in America in opposition to religious establishments justified their opposition by their “strong claim to natural liberty.”44 Since Protestantism is itself “a sort of dissent,” Burke pointed out, “the religion most prevalent in our Northern Colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance; it is the dissidence of dissent.” Burke warned his colleagues that an attempt by the royal government to preserve by force the dependent status of the American colonies in the face of political resistance driven by highly motivated, religious enthusiasm would very likely fail. Instead, he pleaded with Parliament to consider peaceful reconciliation with America. His plea, however, went unheeded. A year after Burke’s admonishment, another British citizen and

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scholar provided an alternative critique of the intersection of church, state, and religious dissent that encouraged the American revolutionaries. In 1776, Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations in which he observed that “during the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries,” establishments of religion had dramatically diminished the benefits of religion and the welfare of civil society.45 Smith denounced church-state collusions wherein the established church used civil authority to further its religious hegemony or the state used ecclesiastical authority to further its political objectives, as “against the liberty, reason, and happiness of mankind.” Furthermore, he asserted that the three predicates— liberty, reason, and happiness—were interdependent for the survival of each. First, with regard to collusion against the liberty of mankind, Smith observed that religious establishments permit the privileged church’s “powerful motive of self-interest” in the face of dissenting religious sects to “call upon the civil magistrate to persecute, destroy, or drive out their adversaries, as disturbers of the peace.”46 Next, with the religious liberty of dissenters strictly curtailed, he noted that collusion against the reason of mankind ensues as a result of the governmental sinecures allotted to members of the clergy.47 The economic security of their members creates an indolent and lethargic clergy, inasmuch as—without effective competition from dissenting sects—there exists little need to pursue scholarly religious studies to meet the spiritual and practical needs of the church’s adherents. And with minimal religious liberty and lack of incentives to disseminate essential values for a good civil society, Smith concluded, the happiness of mankind will be extinguished due to passionate self-interest and political turmoil. Specifically, political factions vying for control of the state will collude with religious interests to gain advantage over their rivals. The victorious faction then finds itself beholden to its religious collaborators, whose position is “powerful enough to over-awe the chiefs and leaders of their own party, and to oblige the civil magistrate to respect their [religious] opinions and inclinations.”48 Given the religious establishment’s inherent threat to the liberty, reason, and happiness of mankind, Smith maintained that a twofold advantage would accrue if religious establishments were dismantled and religious liberty and pluralism were encouraged. With a multiplicity of religious sects competing for adherents, a single sect would have insufficient advantage in civil society to influence public policies to its own benefit. In fact, he noted, all sects would more likely have considerable incentive to develop “candor and moderation” in their dealings with each other.49 To

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reduce further the likelihood of sectarian social upheaval, Smith proposed that the state initiate educational programs for the public that would be taught by instructors well-learned in science and philosophy: “Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.”50 Educated in the proper use of reason and science, citizens would be less likely to accept uncritically erroneous scriptural interpretations or misguided religious beliefs propagated by sects in the marketplace of religious ideas. An educated citizenry that can distinguish between irrational superstitions and reasonable beliefs, Smith believed, will likely reduce the number of competing sects as well as the theological distance between those still functioning. American religious dissenters also received revolutionary encouragement, not only from political dissidents but from spiritual leaders as well. Of significant note—nearly a half-century after Rev. Benjamin Colman exhorted his congregation to trust in the crown-sponsored establishment of church and state—another Presbyterian minister as well as president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton), John Witherspoon, preached a sermon in 1776 that encouraged his parishioners to support the Revolution. Less optimistic than Burke regarding the efficacy of continuing British rule over the colonies, Witherspoon declared: “[S]uch is their distance from us, that a wise and prudent administration of our affairs is as impossible as the claim of authority is unjust.”51 His succinct blend of empirical claim and value judgment left him with the conclusion that “[t]his is the true and proper hinge of the controversy between Great Britain and America.” While Witherspoon acknowledged Burke’s observation that religious dissention had melded with political dissidence, he also observed that “[t]here is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire.”52 And thus, Witherspoon proclaimed, “the cause in which America is now in arms, is the cause of justice, of liberty.” Also in 1776, political dissidents in Virginia’s General Assembly challenged the authority of the British crown when it approved the work of a committee charged with writing a formal declaration of rights as well as a new constitution for Virginia. On June 12, the Assembly adopted the committee’s proposed Declaration of Rights, which had been written primarily by George Mason with emendations from James Madison, a former student of Witherspoon, who shared the same views of church-state relations of Adam Smith.53 The committee reviewed and stylistically revised Article XVI of Mason’s Declaration regarding religious toleration to read:

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“all men should enjoy the fullest toleration in the exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience, unpunished and unrestrained by the magistrate, unless, under color of religion, any man disturb the peace, the happiness, or safety of society.”54 But in an attempt to effect a transition to religious disestablishmentarianism, Madison proposed that this sentence be reworded: “all men are equally entitled to the full and free exercise of it according to the dictates of Conscience; and therefore, that no man or class of men ought, on account of religion to be invested with peculiar emoluments or privileges; nor subjected to any penalties or disabilities.”55 The Assembly, however, rejected Madison’s insinuation of legal toleration of religion as repressive as well as his attack on establishmentarianism. But it did incorporate his phrase of “free exercise.” On June 29, the Assembly adopted the committee’s proposal for a new constitution that included Mason’s modified Declaration of Rights, which was comprised of a preamble and sixteen articles. The normative content of the Declaration’s preamble proclaimed that each individual has inviolable rights that are “the basis and foundation of [a just] government.”56 Following the preamble, Article I stated, “all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, … namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”57 After commencing the Declaration with normative content in the preamble and Article I, Mason focused the preponderance of the Declaration’s articles on practical governmental concerns. In Articles II–XIV, Mason demanded the building of a new political structure with limits on governmental reach, whose content he deemed necessary for the protection of the aforementioned—but as yet not completely defined—“certain inherent rights.” Following Article XIV, Mason concluded his Declaration with two different but related additional articles. Article XV provided a brief moral admonition on the necessity of good government, while Article XVI contained his elaboration on one of a potentially vast number of rights to which he had only alluded in Article I. Article XVI focused on an inherent right of religious liberty, with Mason asserting a crucial theological axiom to justify this right: “[R]eligion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience.”58

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Religious dissenters in Virginia were encouraged by the Assembly’s adoption of the Declaration’s affirmation of a theological axiom that justified their demand for disestablishment of religion and supersession of religious toleration. Given the axiom, those who have argued for collusion between church and state, such as Benjamin Colman—who had declared that “God commissions and entrusts with [governmental] administration whom he pleases” to enforce the individual’s duty to God59 —were perceived as having a disastrous path in their embrace of government as the enforcer of religious beliefs and morals. Moreover, Mason’s affirmation of an inherent right of religious liberty over religious toleration encouraged the religious dissenters as political dissidents to support and participate in the revolutionary cause of American political independence from Great Britain.60 Revolutionary dissidence had indeed been premised on a “strong claim to natural liberty,” as Burke had observed. As revolutionary fervor grew, Colman’s political architecture was on the verge of collapse, unable to sustain the architecture’s rationale for governments and rulers as the pillars of the earth resting on their own pillars of a privileged religion. Paradoxically, the rationale for religious establishments of the past had created the very conditions that now required their own supersession: the theological axiom of an individual’s duty to God. Religious dissenters accepted the axiom’s postulate of a duty to God, but also demanded that determination of the content of this duty be left to the individual and not to the state’s privileged religion, as had been propounded by defenders of classical political architecture. Thus, as Burke feared, the Protestant-inspired “dissidence of dissent” that had been resisting the colonial religious establishments fueled the engine of the Revolution, which ultimately succeeded in politically liberating the American colonies from British sovereignty. The religious dissenters held firmly to their claim that natural liberty, and in particular religious liberty, could only be achieved with the formal disestablishment of religion through a successful political revolution. Religious fervor amplified its presence across the colonies as religious dissenters appropriated the political dissidents’ revolutionary enthusiasm at the core of the independence movement. The preponderance of religious dissenters did in fact participate in the Revolution after having received acknowledgments from colonial leaders that—if the cause were successful—religious liberty would be their reward. Nevertheless, in the wake of the Revolution’s success, much of classical political architecture’s pillars of

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government—themselves predicated on pillars of religion—were still left standing if barely in the preponderance of the newly independent states.

Toward Disestablishment As late colonial and early republic America was compelled to revisit church-state relations, pioneers of a new American political architecture appeared. The architectural challenge before them was to design from an alternative analytical and philosophical perspective a new structure to replace the church-state edifices that had dominated the political landscape during the previous two centuries. While demanding disestablishment of any favored religion, they also recognized as essential that the new structure preserve the presence of diverse religions in civil society and the public square. Furthermore, rather than proposing a purely secular argument to justify both objectives, they recognized that a more powerful and popularly acceptable approach to undermine the theological basis of remaining establishments would be to utilize a religious claim that would be capable of challenging the legitimacy of establishmentarianism, itself based on a religious claim. In those states that endeavored to preserve the religious establishments of the colonial era—including in Virginia—intense political conflicts were again driven by religious fervor. Conflicts ensued as state legislators attempted to assuage the concerns of religious dissenters by searching for a common ground between religious toleration and religious liberty. Committed to a broader application of religious toleration in the 1770s prior to the Revolution, Patrick Henry had actively defended Jeremiah Moore and other Baptist preachers who had been jailed for unauthorized preaching. Yet after the Revolution, Henry continued to support Virginia’s religious establishment in its efforts to maintain civil society as the good society. In particular, he argued that it was in the public interest of Virginia to receive the socially beneficial contributions that the established church had been providing, especially with regard to the moral education of the new state’s citizens. The search proved vexing, as the legislators in the Virginia General Assembly considered and debated numerous proposals, including one submitted by Henry himself. In 1784, a year after the successful conclusion of the Revolution, Henry submitted a proposal—A Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion—to the General Assembly. He argued that the bill provided a solution to the seemingly intractable problem of how

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to maintain simultaneously both religious toleration and religious liberty. He premised the solution on the same establishmentarian presupposition adopted by John Winthrop, Benjamin Colman, and a plethora of other religious leaders since the transplantation of European Christianity in America: “[T]he general diffusion of Christian knowledge hath a natural tendency to correct the morals of men, restrain their vices, and preserve the peace of society.”61 But, in an effort to engender greater religious toleration, Henry also supported “the liberal principle heretofore adopted and intended to be preserved by abolishing all distinctions of preeminence amongst the different societies or communities of Christians.” In his effort to reconcile differences between those who supported and those who rejected a privileged church with its ancillary support for religious toleration, Henry offered an accommodation in his bill: Public taxation would continue to support not only the ecclesiastical authorities and maintenance of the glebes of the Church of England—now incorporated and renamed the Protestant Episcopal Church—but also to provide the same benefits for non-Episcopalian Christian denominations.62 He proposed that current public assessments for support of religious establishment be expanded beyond that of the Episcopal Church to include other Christian denominations and sects. This was of considerable practical importance, he asserted, due to the need for additional teachers throughout the state to provide moral instruction in order to improve Virginian society.63 Nevertheless, as Burke had also forewarned, the stridently political dissidence of the religious dissenters had not abated after the Revolution. Despite Henry’s secular-driven accommodationist argument in favor of improved moral education, his proposal encountered staunch opposition. Religious dissenters who had fought in the revolutionary cause to ensure the triumph of a politically independent America that would then lead to the elimination of religious establishments demanded that the promise be fulfilled. Baptists, Presbyterians, and other religious dissenters submitted numerous petitions to the Virginia General Assembly in opposition to Henry’s proposal. They argued that he had merely expanded the set of privileged churches from only one denomination to several denominations, which would require civil authorities to certify applicants as sufficiently Christian in their religious beliefs and moral teachings to receive financial support. Declaring it unlikely that all denominations and sects would be deemed as satisfactory, dissenters continued to demand religious

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disestablishment with a path forward beyond religious toleration to religious liberty.64 Prominent political architects who advocated disestablishment of religion came to the assistance of dissenters who opposed Henry’s proposal. A particularly popular and influential argument employed by the architects presented two interrelated approaches—practical incompatibility and logical contradiction—to argue that an establishment of religion in any form with the simultaneous recognition of religious liberty would be impossible to accomplish. In 1785, in response to those in the General Assembly who supported Henry’s bill, James Madison weighed in with a petition of his own, Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments. The practical incompatibility approach of Madison’s argument rested on observations of past experiences wherein political institutions had relied on the limited competence of government magistrates.65 He called attention to the fact that a general assessment or tax for the provision of religious upkeep, services, and moral instruction that would be disseminated among churches deemed to be sufficiently Christian, such as that proposed by Henry, implied that magistrates were sufficiently competent to “judge of religious truth.” Madison disagreed, inasmuch as judges lacked the competence required to distinguish among the diverse and competing interpretations of Christian dogma and religious teachings, particularly as to which ones were sufficiently Christian and which were not. Furthermore, Madison argued that the lack of adequate training of magistrates to discern the educational value—if not the legitimate Christian perspectives that would inform moral instruction—would indirectly if unintentionally result in “an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.”66 Given the present state of religious pluralism in Virginia with its diversity of nebulous interpretations of “Christian knowledge,” upon which Henry wished to rely, Madison asserted that such an implication of competence by civil authorities would constitute an “arrogant perversion falsified by contradictory opinions.”67 He concluded that an attempt to “employ religion as an engine of civil policy” in order to advance educational policies that reflected both religious toleration and religious liberty would be unsustainable. Thus, policymakers would be ill-advised to incorporate religious arguments or beliefs to achieve public policy objectives. The logical contradiction approach of Madison’s argument echoed Mason’s theological axiom in the Virginia Declaration of Rights: The “fundamental and undeniable truth, ‘that religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only

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by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.’”68 Madison asserted that it logically follows from this axiom that any decision on how to carry out one’s duty can only be a matter of individual conscience of which personal liberty is necessarily a part. Specifically, religious liberty is “in its nature an unalienable right” of the individual to determine the content of and how to comply with one’s duty to God. Consequently, no collective right of the state to determine and enforce the individual’s duty to God can be logically derived from the axiom. In this political-theological breakthrough or axial moment, Madison had discovered that religious liberty cannot simultaneously—and thus logically—be both an individual and a collective right that may then be satisfactorily incorporated into law by the Assembly: “[T]he opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds, cannot follow the dictates of other men.”69 Madison had inferred from his argument that there is no logical justification for a legislative body to establish a privileged position for any church nor to mandate religious conformity in civil society: “We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of civil society, and that religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance.”70 Therefore, he concluded, churches, denominations, and other religious sects cannot “be subject to [the authority] of the legislative body.”71 When faced with this reasoned conclusion, members of the General Assembly were unable to agree on a rational compromise, given the logical impossibility of maintaining both religious toleration and religious liberty simultaneously. If the Assembly were to approve Henry’s bill, the state’s claim to a right to establish a state-sponsored religion or a group of approved religions and to privilege one church or a set of approved churches over others would be in logical contradiction with the theological axiom posited in Article XVI of Mason’s Declaration of Rights. The Assembly then tabled Henry’s bill, which was later defeated. In addition, Thomas Jefferson further contributed to the logical defense of the new structure. In 1786, a year after Madison submitted his Memorial and Remonstrance, the Virginia General Assembly approved Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom. Although written in 1777 and originally submitted to the Assembly in 1779, the bill languished until Madison lightly edited Jefferson’s more abrasive criticisms

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of civil authorities. Signed into law, Jefferson’s new Act for Establishing Religious Freedom reflected the logical reasoning found in Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance. Jefferson, too, had deduced from the theological axiom first presented by Mason and later explicated by Madison that “Almighty God hath created the mind free.”72 Thus, given the “impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men,” their lack of powers of discernment regarding religious differences leaves them with no legitimate claim of “dominion over the faith of others, [by] setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others.” In addition, as with Madison’s argument of practical incompatibility, Jefferson also maintained that this presumptive claim by civil and ecclesiastical officials to authoritative and thus privileged knowledge “is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty.”73 He too found that “our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” In fact, Jefferson declared, “proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right.” Later Jefferson warned, “The clergy, by getting themselves established by law, and engrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man.”74 Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom was approved by the Virginia General Assembly due to the successful if protracted revolutionary struggle to dismantle religious establishments, eliminate political intolerance, and replace religious toleration with religious liberty. Still, another crisis had been brewing in civil society and the public square: Potential political threats had begun to emanate from the unfettered political economy of the religious market spreading across the states. The political architects of the new American republic perceived that the winning appeal of disestablishmentarianism indeed portended the potential for other means of establishmentarianism’s return. The religious marketplace had stimulated not only a dramatic growth in differentiated spiritual interests and competition for religious adherents but also a drive to attain political influence to protect and expand their religious objectives.75

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Given the discriminatory character of religious toleration of classical political architecture, then, a revolutionary political architecture was necessary to protect yet restrain religious liberty. Disestablishmentarianism’s embrace of universal liberty of conscience driven by a rapidly emerging democratic ethos appeared to have a dramatic impact on the growth of religious capital and associations whose organizational energy had been pent-up until released by the Revolution. Furthermore, unless contained, momentous growth of religious capital throughout civil society could easily be converted into political capital, which in turn would be in a position to restore a religious establishment— either de jure or de facto—that would threaten religious liberty as well as stability of the newly independent American republic. An appropriate church-state regime across the newly independent states, they argued, was needed to provide a containment structure to rein in destructive fires of faith while also defending religious engagement in the public square.

Containing the Fires of Faith In 1783, the Treaty of Paris concluded hostilities between the British government and its American colonies, which resulted in political independence of the latter. Four years later, delegates from twelve of the thirteen newly independent states convened a convention in Philadelphia to identify ways to strengthen the Articles of Confederation. The Articles had been in place since 1777 as a set of governing protocols that established formal inter-colonial relations and coordinated mutual assistance during the Revolution and thereafter as the nation’s first constitution. But instead of strengthening provisions of the Articles, the delegates ultimately replaced them with a new constitution. In doing so, they had been sensitive to the objectives of the independence movement with its promise to disestablish religion if the Revolution succeeded. During their deliberations at the Federal Convention, the delegates considered various proposals for a new constitution, at least one of which contained a provision to prohibit any religious test—a keystone of establishmentarianism—to ascertain whether a candidate or applicant for service in the national government is religiously and thus morally worthy to serve. To this end, Charles Pinckney, a delegate from South Carolina, submitted a proposal for a constitution containing a provision to prohibit religious tests for service in the national government. This provision, Pinckney argued, was necessary “in the establishment of a system founded

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on republican principles, and in an age so liberal and enlightened as the present.”76 Some delegates voiced concerns comparable to those expressed during the previous century by John Winthrop and Benjamin Colman as well as Patrick Henry more currently regarding the necessary and valuable role of a privileged religion in state and society.77 In light of American civil society’s expanding religious marketplace with its peculiar and incongruous religious opinions as well as society’s need for effective public policymaking under the proposed national government, the delegates thought it reasonable to require a religious test to assure that only virtuous individuals would be permitted to serve in government. Luther Martin, a delegate and the attorney general of Maryland, observed that these delegates were arguing for inclusion of a religious test that “would be some security for the good conduct of our rulers, and that, in a Christian country, it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism.”78 Other delegates viewed as unnecessary any provision at all that prohibited a religious test. Roger Sherman, for one, a delegate from Connecticut, considered such a ban on religious tests to be superfluous given the nature of the religious marketplace.79 He argued that the very religious diversity that worried these delegates who preferred a religious test in fact would itself serve as a social barrier to the ability of any particular denomination to gain control of government. Nevertheless, the delegates who were either in favor of the inclusion of a religious test or opposed to a prohibition of a test failed to dissuade the Federal Convention from including the prohibition. Indeed, the majority of the delegates had focused on the need to preclude long-standing and repressive legal practices of religious toleration to defend religious liberty. To this end, the delegates adopted Pinckney’s proposed provision in Article VI—the only direct reference to religion to be found in the US Constitution of 1787—which stated, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” As the Federal Convention appeared to near completion of its task, uncertain citizens voiced their support for the delegates’ efforts, including Rev. Nicholas Collin, pastor of the Gloria Dei Church in Philadelphia. Collin urged the delegates to stay the course in their revolutionary efforts to construct a “republican edifice”: “Ye political architects! Exert all your skill; poise your centers of gravity; calculate the weights and

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bearings; Consult the plans of Montesquieu, Harrington, Stuart, Hume, Smith, and others…. Then shall your masterly hands rear a grand temple of federal liberty.”80 By September 17, the Convention delegates had completed their deliberations and finished writing their proposed constitution, which they ordered to be submitted to state conventions for their consideration and anticipated ratification. During the ratification process by delegates to the state conventions in 1787 and 1788, the Article VI prohibition of a religious test for office again encountered establishmentarian resistance along with counter-arguments in support of the prohibition. In his state’s ratification debates, Oliver Ellsworth, a judge on the Connecticut Supreme Court and one of the delegates to the Federal Convention, argued that the prohibition of religious tests was necessary for the protection of religious liberty. By definition, Ellsworth asserted, were a test to be employed, it would necessarily discriminate against some religions in favor of others: “A test in favor of any one denomination of Christians would be to the last degree absurd in the United States. If it were in favor of either Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists, or Quakers, it would incapacitate more than three fourths of the American citizens for any public office and thus degrade them from the rank of freemen.”81 To avoid this denigration of liberty of conscience, he proclaimed, “civil government has no business to meddle with the private opinions of the people.”82 Such meddling would be “the parent of hypocrisy and the offspring of error and the spirit of persecution…. [T]herefore, the Convention have done wisely in excluding this engine of persecution, and providing that no religious test ever be required.” The US Constitution’s ratification by the requisite number of states occurred in 1788, which then initiated a process for the formal installation in 1789 of the new national government in a federal relationship with the state governments. The constitutional prohibition of religious tests precluded favoritism of a particular religion as a prerequisite for public service in the national government. Citizens generally perceived the prohibition as a positive step toward de jure religious disestablishment. And yet, the Constitution’s answer to the religious question afforded only a partial solution, inasmuch as the prohibition applied only to public service in the national government. The issue of establishment of a privileged religion had yet to be resolved in republican governments of the states, which had become increasingly embroiled in the democratic maelstrom of religion and politics throughout American civil society.

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The increasingly volatile dynamics emanating from the interplay among diverse political and religious associations in civil society held the potential and likely probability of democratic legislation and public policies that would gradually reintroduce into law repressive practices of religious toleration and potentially political intolerance. The new Constitution contained no expressed prohibition on congressional legislation to restrict religious activities or permit persecutory discrimination of any or even all religions in civil society. Furthermore, although the Constitution premised the nation’s governing structure on a federalism of coexistence if not coequality between the national or federal government and the state governments, the federal government was not formally prohibited from mandating religious disestablishment in the states nor was it required to do so. In fact, despite the revolutionary fervor of religious dissenters who were motivated a decade earlier by disestablishmentarianism and the disestablishment arguments of political architects who had contributed a decade later to the formation of the American republic with their defense of religious liberty at the national level, many states still continued to maintain religious establishments decades beyond the ratification of the US Constitution. To protect yet limit religious liberty and to encourage yet restrain religious engagement in the public square, the political architects soon perceived the necessity of a “renovation project” to contain and yet protect the inexorable fires of faith. This time, the architects would enhance the Constitution’s political foundation to design and add an “annex” to strengthen its containment structure. The structure would formally recognize individual political and religious liberty and rights, including the right to speak freely and proselytize openly, the right of associating and worshiping openly with others, and the right to participate in the public square and challenge governing authorities. The containment structure, then, would serve to limit the federal government’s potentially illiberal reach—and with time that of the state governments—to assure the safe but constrained development of political and religious pluralism throughout American civil society and reinforce the de jure disestablishment of religion. Still, this renovation by emendation has continued to encounter considerable establishmentarian resistance.

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Notes 1. Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, The Churching of America, 1776–1990: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992), 43–46. 2. Glenn A. Moots, Politics Reformed: The Anglo-American Legacy of Covenant Theology (Colombia: University of Missouri Press, 2010), 100– 16. 3. Frederick V. Mills, Sr., “The Protestant Episcopal Churches in the United States 1783–1789: Suspended Animation or Remarkable Recovery?” Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church 46, no. 2 (June 1977): 151. 4. Finke and Stark, Churching of America, 16. Finke and Stark state that they use the term “adherence rate” rather than “church membership rate” to standardize their comparative analysis, inasmuch as some denominations include children on their membership rolls while others do not; see p. 289. 5. William Cabell Moore, “Jeremiah Moore, 1746–1815,” William and Mary Quarterly 13, no. 1 (January 1933): 20. 6. Michael W. McConnell, “Establishment and Disestablishment at the Founding, Part I: Establishment of Religion,” William & Mary Law Review 44 (2003): 2200–2. 7. Theodore Hornberger, “Benjamin Colman and the Enlightenment,” The New England Quarterly 12, no. 2 (June 1939): 227, 229. 8. Benjamin Colman, “Government: The Pillar of the Earth,” in Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730–1805, 2nd ed., vol. 1, ed. Ellis Sandoz (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 1998), 18. 9. Ibid., 22. 10. Ibid., 15. 11. Ibid., 19. 12. Michael Edwards, Civil Society, 3rd ed. (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2014), 44–46. 13. Robert G. Natelson, “The Original Meaning of the Establishment Clause,” William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 14, no. 1 (2005): 116. 14. Historical as well as contemporary interpretations vary on the range of both intolerance and toleration and their points of intersection; cf. Andrew R. Murphy, “Tolerance, Toleration, and the Liberal Tradition,” Polity 29, no. 4 (Summer 1997): 593–623, for an alternative discussion of “tolerance” and “toleration” that carefully and insightfully deconstructs the varied uses of these terms, as well as provides Murphy’s own quadripartite categorization of the intersectionality of the spectra of religious tolerance and religious toleration. 15. John Winthrop, “Christian Charity: A Model Hereof,” in Puritan Political Ideas: 1558–1794, ed. Edmund S. Morgan (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1965), 92–93 (modern spelling applied).

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16. Idem, “Considerations for the Plantation of New England” (London, UK, 1622) http://www.tpsnva.org/tcm/3656_Colonial3.pdf/ (accessed July 24, 2018). 17. Mark A. Noll, The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2002), 30. 18. John M. Murrin, “Religion and Politics in America from the First Settlements to the Civil War,” Religion and American Politics: From the Colonial Period to the 1980s, ed. Mark A. Noll (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 20. 19. The Cambridge Platform of Church Discipline: Gathered Out of the Word of God, and Agreed Upon by the Elders and Messengers of the Churches Assembled in Synod, 1648 (Boston: Perkins & Whipple, 1850), ch. 2, para. 6, p. 51. 20. Ibid., ch. 17, para. 2, p. 83 (modern spelling applied). 21. Ibid., ch. 17, para. 5, p. 84. 22. Ibid., ch. 17, para. 6, p. 84. 23. Ibid., ch. 17, para. 8, p. 85. 24. Murrin, “Religion and Politics in America,” 20. 25. General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Body of Liberties, in The Colonial Laws of Massachusetts: Reprinted from the Edition of 1660, comp. City Council of Boston (Boston: Rockwell & Churchill, 1889), 55. 26. A Confession of Faith, Owned and Consented unto by the Elders and Messengers of the Churches Assembled at Boston in New England, Being the Second Session of That Synod, May 12, 1680 (Boston: Perkins & Whipple, 1850), ch. 24, para. 4, p. 120 (modern spelling applied). 27. John M. Barry, Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty (New York: Viking, 2012), 261. 28. Winthrop, “Christian Charity,” 93. 29. Frank Lambert, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 80, 87–89, 96. 30. Carla Gardina Pestana, “The City upon a Hill Under Siege: The Puritan Perception of the Quaker Threat to Massachusetts Bay, 1656–1661,” New England Quarterly 56, no. 3 (September 1983), 330–37. 31. Ibid., 325. 32. McConnell, “Establishment and Disestablishment,” 2123–35. 33. English Parliament, Toleration Act of 1689, sections V and VI. http:// www.jacobite.ca/documents/1689toleration.htm/ (accessed November 17, 2018); G. Hugh Wamble, “Virginia Baptists and Religious Liberty, 1765 to 1802,” Journal of Baptist Studies 1 (2007): 38. 34. Wamble, “Virginia Baptists and Religious Liberty,” 43. 35. Grand Assembly of Virginia, Acts of Assembly of March 1642–43, in Hening’s Statutes at Large: Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia from

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36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43.

44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

52. 53.

54.

55. 56.

57. 58.

the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619, ed. William Waller Hening (Richmond: George Cochran, 1823), vol. 1 (1619–1660), act 64, 277, http://vagenweb.org/hening/vol01-11.htm/ (accessed November 17, 2018). Brad S. Gregory, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2012), 143–45. Lambert, Founding Fathers, 219–35. Moore, “Jeremiah Moore,” 21. Ibid. Jerry L. Tarver, “Baptist Preaching from Virginia Jails, 1768–1778,” Southern Speech Journal 30, no. 2 (1964): 144. Moore, “Jeremiah Moore,” 22. Ibid., 23. Edmund Burke, Speech of Edmund Burke, Esq.: On Moving His Resolutions for Conciliation with the Colonies, March 22, 1775, 3rd ed. (London: J. Dodsley, 1784), 27. Ibid., 28. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (New York: Bantam Books, 2003), 1013. Ibid., 996. Ibid., 995. Ibid., 1000. Ibid., 1001. Ibid., 1005. John Witherspoon, “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men,” in Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730–1805, 2nd ed., vol. 1, ed. Ellis Sandoz (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998), 550. Ibid., 549. Samuel Fleischacker, “Adam Smith’s Reception Among the American Founders, 1776–1790,” William and Mary Quarterly 59, no. 4 (October 2002): 905, 907. Carl H. Esbeck, “Protestant Dissent and the Virginia Disestablishment, 1776–1786,” Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy 7, no. 51 (2009): 66. Ibid., 68. Virginia Constitutional Convention, Declaration of Rights (June 12, 1776), preamble and sect. 1, https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/ virginia-declaration-of-rights/ (accessed December 1, 2018). On June 29, the Virginia Constitution was adopted, with the incorporation of the Declaration of Rights as a Bill of Rights. Virginia Constitutional Convention, Declaration of Rights, sect. 16. The Constitution of Virginia was adopted on June 29, 1776, and the Declaration of Rights was incorporated into the Constitution in 1830.

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59. Colman, “Government: The Pillar of the Earth,” 18. 60. John A. Ragosta, “Fighting for Freedom: Virginia Dissenters’ Struggle for Religious Liberty During the American Revolution,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 116, no. 3 (2008): 232–33, 237. 61. Patrick Henry, “A Bill Establishing A Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” January 1, 1784, https://www.colorado.edu/herbst/ sites/default/files/attached-files/nov_16_-_religion.pdf/ (accessed January 26, 2019). 62. Wamble, “Virginia Baptists and Religious Liberty,” 46. 63. Richard R. Beeman, “The Democratic Faith of Patrick Henry,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 95, no. 3 (July 1987): 306–7. 64. Esbeck, “Protestant Dissent,” 69–75 (modern spelling applied). 65. James Madison, “Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments,” Art. 5, https://www.law.gmu.edu/assets/files/academics/ founders/Madison’sMemorial.pdf/ (accessed December 1, 2018; capitalization modernized). 66. Ibid. 67. Ibid. 68. Ibid., Art. 1 (capitalization modernized). 69. Ibid. 70. Ibid. 71. Ibid., Art. 2 (capitalization modernized). 72. Thomas Jefferson, “An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom,” General Assembly of Virginia, Laws of Virginia, October 1785, in Hening’s Statutes at Large: Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619, ed. William Waller Hening (Richmond: George Cochran, 1823), vol. 12 (1785–1788), ch. 24, art. 1, 85. http://vagenweb.org/hening/vol12-04.htm/ (accessed January 26, 2019). 73. Ibid. 74. Idem, “Correspondence with Jeremiah Moore, August 14, 1800,” The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes, Federal ed., ed. Paul Leicester Ford, http://www.loc.gov/resource/mtj1.022_ 0370_0371/ and https://cdn.loc.gov/service/mss/mtj//mtj1/022/ 022_0370_0371.pdf/ (accessed October 10, 2018). 75. Edwards, Civil Society, 6–7. 76. Charles Pinckney, “Observations of the Plan of Government Submitted to the Federal Convention, in Philadelphia, on the 28th of May, 1787,” in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vols. 1–4, rev. ed., ed. Max Farrand (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966), 3:122 (capitalization modernized). 77. Luther Martin, “Genuine Information,” in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vols. 1–4, rev. ed., ed. Max Farrand (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966), 3:227.

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78. Ibid. (emphases original). 79. James Madison, “[Federal Convention Journal Entry, August 30, 1787],” in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vols. 1–4, rev. ed., ed. Max Farrand (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966), 2:468. 80. Nicholas Collin, “An Essay on the Means of Promoting Federal Sentiments in the United States,” Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787 –1788, ed. Colleen A. Sheehan and Gary L. McDowell (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998), 425–26, https://oll. libertyfund.org/titles/2069#lfSheehan_1217/ (accessed May 22, 2019) (emphases original). 81. Oliver Ellsworth, “A Landholder,” in Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787 –1788, ed. Colleen A. Sheehan and Gary L. McDowell (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998), letter VII, 482 (modern capitalization and punctuation applied). 82. Ibid., 483–84.

CHAPTER 3

Discerning the Religious Axis: The Religious Question and Axiality

In the mid-seventeenth century, when writing his autobiography, Thomas Hobbes recalled an alarming state of affairs: “It was now A.D. 1640, when an amazing plague swept through the land, as a result of which countless of our learned men later perished. Whoever was infested by this plague thought that he alone had discovered divine and human right. And now war was in readiness.”1 On the eve of England’s plunge into two decades of civil wars and political conflicts, Hobbes had witnessed the “plague” of personal spiritual certitude, whose anarchic character abetted the rise of religious pluralism. In Behemoth (1668), he chronicled the period and identified this plague as the primary cause of England’s wars and conflicts. In fact, had the English people not been so corrupt, he argued, Charles I would likely have been able to stave off those wars.2 But the people were seduced by diverse religious believers—“there were not a few,” said Hobbes—who “declared themselves for a liberty in religion, and of those different opinions one from another.”3 In his lamentation on the state of religious war, Hobbes had begun to grapple with one of the more contentious issues at the dawn of the modern era, that of the religious question: To what degree should religious pluralism be tolerated in the public square or even civil society? Emblematic of two competing solutions to this question, the political theories of Hobbes and John Locke furnished their own reflections on the connection between war and religion and ultimately church and state, with their own arguments to resolve the question. © The Author(s) 2020 J. R. Pottenger, Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis, Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33974-6_3

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Religious Question Thomas Hobbes had earlier observed that the seeds of religious discord were sown in human nature itself. Writing in Leviathan (1651), he observed that the phenomenon of religion originates only in humans, stemming from their fear of the unknown with an overwhelming desire to allay their anxieties in this life as well as their apprehensions concerning their status in the next.4 The fusion of fear of violent death with other temporal anxieties and spiritual apprehensions, Hobbes argued, leads likeminded individuals to forge a sense of group identity for their security, which in turn creates religious solidarity as well as rivalry with other religious groups. Complicit with the rise of this plague of religious egoism and its instigation of destructive religious pluralism, various translations of the Bible had been printed and publicly disseminated in Europe during the previous 100 years. “For after the Bible was translated into English,” criticized Hobbes, “every man, nay, every boy and wench, that could read English, thought they spoke with God Almighty, and understood what he said, … and every man became a judge of religion, and an interpreter of the Scriptures to himself.”5 In this natural state of religious competition, “that is to say, of absolute liberty, such as is theirs, who neither govern, nor are governed, is an anarchy, or hostile state.”6 In De Homine (1658), Hobbes deplored the anarchic state of war-torn England, which was rooted in efforts “to win people over not so much to faith in God (in whom all believe already) as to faith in themselves.”7 Indeed, earlier in De Cive (1642), he asked, “for what civil war was there ever in the Christian world, which did not either grow from, or was nourished by this root?”8 The most vicious wars are those “waged as between sects of the same religion, and factions of the same commonweal, where the contestation is either concerning doctrine or politic prudence.”9 With the increasing diversity of religious sects, Hobbes faulted the misguided religious dogma of self-styled Independent Puritans and Anabaptists, among others. More ominously, he noted, assorted and dissimilar sects had produced competing political theologies that drove the chaotic dynamics of England’s internecine religious conflicts. Hobbes identified the Fifth Monarchists and others whose dogma “held that Christ’s kingdom was at this time to begin upon the earth.”10 He called attention to the many politically charged sermons, in particular those of Catholic priests and Presbyterian ministers, who claimed that they were “God’s ambassadors; pretending to have a right from God to govern everyone

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his parish and their assembly the whole nation.” Hobbes declared that “these were the enemies which arose against his Majesty from the private interpretation of the Scripture.”11 Symptomatic of the effects of this dreaded plague so feared by Hobbes, the religious dissenter William Erbery—a military chaplain and supporter of Puritan Oliver Cromwell—stated, “All this to me is a manifest token of the hand of God lifted up, not only for the liberty of the Saints, but for the deliverance of the Land at last from all Oppressions and Oppressors. … that all men might see God in the Saints, whether in an Army or without where ever they are, they are as well the Army of God.”12 Erbery’s conviction that Cromwell’s New Model Army may be conflated with the Army of God acknowledged the intersection of religion, politics, and war. This intersection—both theoretical and practical—acutely illustrates Hobbes’s fear of the asymmetrical collusion between church and state that favors the authority of the former over the latter. The asymmetry occurs as a result of misunderstanding of the limits of religious belief. He understood religion to exist only in an individual’s “natural piety.” Inasmuch as miracles have now ceased, there no longer exists any basis for a communal sense of religious identity, which would require rules of social interaction. Consequently, religion beyond personal piety “must depend on the laws of the state. And so religion be not philosophy, but rather in all states law.”13 Thus, the state must be favored over the church in any church-state relationship. But even if the state were to be favored, Hobbes maintained that any attempt to eradicate religion would be futile, inasmuch as religion is a distinctive if deleterious attribute of human nature.14 To address the religious question in a way that would prevent society’s descent into a disastrous state of war, his political theory set forth a structure to contain the destructive fires of faith. Hobbes’s containment structure required the presence of a sovereign and powerful state as a necessary if not sufficient condition for preventing or ending a state of war driven by competitive religious sects. Indeed, the state is a “mortal god,” the only temporal sovereign supported by its subjects out of necessity that is capable of collective action to maintain peace and stability.15 He argued that this mortal god has “the right to judge what is fitting and what is not, in the public worship of God is within the power of the state.”16 Thus, the temporal sovereign may and must prevent or terminate the socially disruptive and politically destructive presence of religious pluralism.17 And to this end, the state, concluded Hobbes, has an obligation “to be judge or constitute all judges of

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opinions and doctrines as a thing necessary to peace, thereby to prevent discord and civil war.”18 John Locke, too, had witnessed the upheaval and devastation of England’s religious civil wars and political turmoil. And, like Hobbes, in the First Tract on Government (1660), Locke blamed the destructive effects of religious pluralism on the Protestant Reformation’s chaotic evangelism for spreading to England “[a]ll those flames that have made such havoc and devastation in Europe, and have not been quenched but with the blood of so many millions, have been at first kindled with coals from the alter, and too much blown with the breath of those that attend the alter, who … have proved the trumpeters of strife.”19 Locke earnestly asked of the Reformation’s proponents—the trumpeters of strife—who have actively promoted the subjectivity of religious identity: “Grant the people once free and unlimited in the exercise of their religion, and where will they stop, where will they themselves bound it, and will it not be religion to destroy all that are not of their profession?”20 Locke’s depiction of religious pluralism as a state of “flames that have made such havoc and devastation” mirrored Hobbes’s plague of religious pluralism as “an anarchy, or hostile state.” Nevertheless, nearly three decades later, in his Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), Locke philosophically migrated from his perception of the root source and implications of religious strife to which he had attributed the presence of religious pluralism as the primary cause of England’s civil wars. Now, contrary to Hobbes’s assertion that religious pluralism will naturally lead to a hostile state of anarchy—which ultimately descends into civil war if not abated directly and forcefully by a powerful sovereign— Locke argued the contrary. From his new perspective, Locke had reexamined British and continental history and arrived at an alternative perspective with which to comprehend better the social and political implications of religious pluralism. He realized that any society that reflects a diversity of group identities, including those of religious sects, does not of necessity devolve into civil war. In fact, he found, “But there is one only thing which gathers people into seditious commotions, and that is [political] oppression.”21 Religious pluralism was not the cause of the civil wars of England; on the contrary, the suppression of religious opinions and practices by the English government incited religious resistance to the political oppression visited upon them. According to Locke, “It is not the diversity of opinions, (which cannot be avoided) but the refusal of toleration to those that are of different opinions (which might have been granted)

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that has produced all the bustles and wars that have been in the Christian world, upon account of religion.”22 In contrast to Hobbes’s preference for a powerful sovereign and controlling state that would contain if not extinguish the fires of faith to establish and assure peace, Locke’s alternative political theory preferred a more carefully delimited role for the state and its interface with religion. He preferred a political society that would not suppress religious diversity as drastically as that of Hobbes’s sovereign in civil society but instead permit a broader political and cultural horizon for the survival of religious diversity. After reflecting on historical practices of entangled collusion between church and state, Locke inferred that “[t]his is the unhappy agreement that we see between the church and the state. Whereas, if each of them would contain itself within its own bounds, the one attending to worldly welfare of the commonwealth, the other to the salvation of souls, it is impossible that any discord should ever have happened between them.”23 However, from his new perspective, the British sovereign had not recognized the legitimacy of nor abided by these bounds, but instead contravened them, which had led to civil war. In Locke’s revised political theory, the effect of carefully abiding by delineated and respected bounds between church and state would prohibit the state from either imposing or forbidding the use of religious rites and ceremonies in any church. For, if the state were to engage in such acts of either imposition or prohibition, the acts “would destroy the church itself: the end of whose institution is only to worship God with freedom, after its own manner.”24 In his Two Treatises of Government (1689), Locke asserted that in a civil society of religious pluralism with competing sects, the role of government in “the community comes to be umpire, by settled standing rules, indifferent, and the same to all parties.”25 Hobbes’s sovereign erases the boundary between church and state, and this, from Locke’s point of view, can only lead to policies of oppression and ultimately civil war. In their theoretical attempts to find a solution to the religious question that would result in the optimal relationship between church and state necessary for a peaceful and stable civil society, Hobbes and Locke had grounded their arguments on two incompatible presuppositions.

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Incompatible Presuppositions Thomas Hobbes presupposed that breakouts of religious civil war originate with the socially inharmonious and violent character of religious pluralism itself. Regarding the source of religious pluralism of the Reformation during the previous century, he pointed to Martin Luther as the primary instigator, given Luther’s critical reflections on policies of the Roman Catholic Church, including the church’s promulgation of its authoritative theology, scriptural interpretations, and religious beliefs throughout Christendom. Luther had publicly questioned Catholic ecclesiastical practices and identified doctrinal errors of Catholic scriptural interpretations. Hobbes blamed Luther’s criticisms as having launched the delegitimation of the established church in Rome: “[J]ust as the ignorance of Roman doctors, detected by Luther, not only abolished a great part of the Roman religion both in our nation and among other peoples, but [it] also separated those same peoples from their Roman dependency.”26 The effect of Luther’s separation of church and parishioner launched myriad Christian sects and later new denominations during the Reformation era, many of which competed with each other to fill the growing spiritual, social, and political vacuum as Rome’s hegemony diminished. While having accused Luther of instigating the disastrous effects of the plague of religious pluralism, Hobbes presciently discerned the justification of the political sovereign’s eminence in resolving the religious question. In his Questions Concerning Liberty (1656), Hobbes stated, “I never slighted, but always very much reverenced, and admired” Luther’s theological acumen and recognized him as “the first beginner of our deliverance from the servitude of the Romish Clergy.”27 Luther’s separationist approach had not only liberated theological speculation of final causes from the church’s hegemony of religious orthodoxy, but presaged a historic breakthrough in the separation of theological speculation and natural philosophy promulgated less than a century later by Frances Bacon. Alternatively, John Locke’s presupposition on religion and war had ultimately evolved toward acceptance of the religious pluralism of the Protestant Reformation as a fait accompli. Furthermore, he defended the benefit of religious pluralism for its de facto recognition of an individual’s a priori right to freedom of conscience and expression. He argued that the problem of religious civil war originates with the punitive oppression

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of a political state that fears—and thus is intolerant of—religious diversity, which it perceives as a threat to social peace and political stability. In resistance to an increasingly pluralist society, the state, however unintentionally, initiates civil war by suppressing religious liberty and expression through excessively restrictive laws and harsh enforcement to rein in those sects that do not find favor with the state. Locke concluded that religious pluralism must be tolerated by the state precisely to avoid the descent into war so feared by Hobbes. While Hobbes applauded the removal of extensive Roman Catholic influence in British political history, he decried as anathema the unchecked exponential growth of religious pluralism that had been unleashed by the Protestant Reformation. To restrain pluralism’s propensity for war, Hobbes positioned the obligation and authority for devising a solution within the sovereign authority of a powerful state. The state’s obligation to protect civil society required it to build a containment structure that would suppress the competitive and destructive ethos of religious pluralism. Locke’s solution to avoid war also consisted of a containment structure, but it would only demarcate—not erase—the bounds between the legitimate authority of the state and the pluralism of confessions and rituals of religious sects. The structure’s practical intent was to restrain collusion between church and state as well as prevent persecution of one by the other in civil society. In effect, Locke interchanged the cause for the effect in Hobbes’s argument on the connection between religious pluralism and social upheaval. Although their presuppositions and political solutions to the religious question differed, Hobbes and Locke both sought to identify a structural approach to achieve a peaceful and stable polity with a restrained religious presence. Moreover, their assessments of and solutions to the religious question that they spied in the chaotic milieu of the English civil wars evince intertwined ironies. Hobbes and Locke both acknowledged the Protestant Reformation as the cause of religious pluralism, but the implications of their presuppositions gave rise to contrary political theories with proposals to resolve the religious question. The irony of Hobbes’s theory that proposed state control is that as a result of the pernicious effects of the Reformation, which he decried, the state displaces the role of the Catholic Church of which he also complained. Furthermore, Hobbes’s erasure of boundaries does not sufficiently take into account his own theory of human nature as containing the seedbed of religious diversity as well as the individual’s insatiable desire for and pursuit of power. Similar

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to Hobbes’s demand for a powerful-state solution, Locke also required, if to a lesser degree, a state sufficiently strong to support his preference for religious toleration over religious liberty—a preference that paradoxically would lead to authoritarian states a century later that would violate freedom of conscience and expression, which he sought to protect. The Hobbesian and Lockean ironies pose a dilemma for resolution of the religious question: What kind of containment structure can simultaneously restrain and yet encourage religious freedom broadly construed in civil society, including the public square? Moreover, what philosophical groundwork is necessary to build this structure, such that it can maintain a democratically acceptable interplay between restraint and freedom? On the horns of a dilemma, both restraint and freedom must be prevented from one overwhelming the other and thereby incapacitating the structure, which would ultimately destroy political society itself. The philosophy of history of existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers has provided a unique if imperfect analytical framework with which to identify philosophical breakthroughs that have contributed to developments in political theologies and philosophies of the modern era. Evaluation of the importance and impact of these breakthroughs have illuminated the underlying philosophical foundations of liberal-democratic theory. The foundations provided the trajectory necessary for the emergence of the American republic, whose political architecture included a containment structure to restrain the deleterious effects of the contemporary intersectionality of church, state, civil society, religion, and politics. Critical assessments of the imperfections of Jaspers’s Axial Age framework provide considerable clarification and means to discern the crucial foundations that may be used to resolve the religious question.

Karl Jaspers’s Axial Age Many distinctive and vital themes of the philosophical influences on the political theories of Hobbes and Locke pre-date both thinkers. The origins of these influences can be found in the liminal period of transition that encompasses the final centuries of the medieval era and the initial centuries of the modern era. During this liminal period, seismic pressures were percolating within the quagmire of analytical linguistic scholasticism. Eruptions began to threaten the prevailing political structures of medieval societies, particularly with regard to the impending impact of the plague of religious pluralism. The dynamism of the plague itself may be described

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as encompassing an intellectual history of religious concepts and political ideas. These concepts and ideas confronted and transposed numerous traditional meanings and usages of accepted discourse and arguments. In doing so, they often suggested the presence of alternative paths of theological and philosophical inquiry as well as invigorated the political imagination. Political anthropologist Bjørn Thomassen notes that such “histories of knowledge are shaped by the travels that concepts or ideas make, changing meaning and purpose as they migrate from one discipline to another, and become inserted in new discourses, productively going beyond their delimited empirical beginnings while opening up new fields of enquiry and spaces of imagination.”28 Moreover, Thomassen recognizes that these transitional or “liminal periods here are to some degree identical to what has also been called ‘axial moments’ or ‘axial renaissances.’”29 He references Karl Jasper’s philosophy of history, in which Jaspers hypothesized that changes in the direction of world history can be understood as originating with select axial moments of critical breakthroughs in philosophical speculation during liminal periods. During these periods, breakthroughs may effect a transition from one dominant era to the next. As with Thomassen, Jaspers asserted that “history implies movement, changes of inner nature, new beginnings.”30 Furthermore, the potential impetus for this movement may serve as a momentous breakthrough at the core of a civilization, which in turn may mark a turning point of history that will transform the culture of a civilization to effect a new civilization and a new worldview. For Jaspers, the breakthrough was spiritual, but in contradistinction with G. W. F. Hegel’s spiritual philosophy of history. Jaspers maintained that Hegel had based his philosophy on a “kind of sham faith” rooted in German idealism, which only appeared to bring about “an enhancement of philosophical self-confidence, an alleged total knowledge that knows what God is and desires, and loses all capacity for astonishment because it fancies itself in possession of absolute truth.”31 Hegel had mistakenly focused on the breakthrough of Christianity to explain history’s movement.32 For Jaspers, the essential period that set the path for world history’s evolutionary development toward modernity comprised much earlier select universal breakthroughs that revolved around 300 years on both sides of a historical axis at 500 BCE; Jaspers labeled this six-hundred-year liminal period the Axial Age.33

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During the Axial Age, Jaspers explained, roaming sages and thinkers in diverse and relatively disparate regions of the world had made comparatively similar and major spiritual breakthroughs in their contemplation of the place of man in the universe.34 With these breakthroughs or axial moments, they challenged conventional myths that had long explained and justified the prevailing ethical norms of diverse civilizations. The norms mimicked the behavior of diverse deities who had traditionally been acknowledged as of superior standing and thus worthy of emulation. Alternatively, the spiritual breakthroughs suggested that the human condition would be better understood as bounded by existential limits, irrespective of the mythical accounts of the behavior and decisions of the deities. Indeed, many began to question the adequacy and later legitimacy of conventional myths’ ascriptions of ethical human behavior, particularly since the deities themselves abided by incompatible standards of morality. The acceptance of existential limits would leave men empowered to recognize their own unique and potentially spiritually liberating standing in the universe. Nevertheless, Jaspers asserted, the emerging existentialist arguments of the Axial Age, however promising, were unable to supplant completely the conventional myths in the popular mind. He described the Axial Age as a period of philosophical conflicts among proponents and opponents of rational explanations and mythic stories—“an age of simultaneous destruction and creation.”35 And yet, Jaspers maintained, during the liminal period of the Axial Age, the destruction of conventional beliefs and the creation of new existentialist commitments conceived, gestated, and ultimately birthed a nascent if limited sense of the centrality of individual spirituality by the dawn of a new era. Thomassen argues that Jaspers’s description of the Axial Age does indeed reveal “every element of liminality: it was an in-between period between two structured worldviews and between two rounds of empire building.”36 More to the point, societies were engulfed in cognitive and epistemological conflicts over beliefs and values, such that “the axial age can be understood as a liminal historical period and that the axial age breakthroughs happened in geographically liminal areas.”37 Since Jaspers’s description of the Axial Age includes similar and crucial yet unrelated philosophical breakthroughs in diverse regions of the world, more than one occurrence of an axial age would likely have occurred. In fact, sociologist Bernhard Giesen, for one, declares that “to speak of one Axial Age” is an oversimplification when attempting to explain turning points in the

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philosophical development of world history.38 Ironically, Jaspers himself acknowledged that the liminal “interregnum between two ages” of the Axial Age in 800–200 BCE, which he argued had moved world civilizations in the direction of individuality and personal spirituality, may not as yet have achieved its goal.39 To this end, he reflected on the possibility of “a new, second Axial Period, to the final process of becoming human.”40

Second Axial Age? Asserting that every historic age or period “started out from a new basis,” Jaspers suggested that “the scientific-technological age” initiated in the sixteenth century portended the possibility for, as well as the basis of, a second axial period or age to follow the first Axial Age.41 In fact, he recognized the possibility of a global reach of the “second Axial Period” but only if that reach were not confined to Europe and the West.42 Jaspers noted that the contemporary success of science and technology resulted from its inheritance of the ethos of the first Axial Age’s emphasis on individual identity and reliance on reason to explain the nature and dynamics of natural phenomena. As a consequence, the Axial Age’s “very fragmentation caused profundities of human nature to become manifest that had not previously been visible.”43 He suggested that the relatively easy transmission of scientific and technological successes to other regions of the world could serve as an example of the possibility of the emergence of another universal axial age. Following Jaspers’s suggestions that a second axial age may exist, sociologist Yves Lambert has explored this possibility and now “characterizes modernity as a second or new axial period.”44 Lambert asserts that the modern era indeed began with the emergence of modern science and capitalism in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.45 Theologian Karen Armstrong has furthered developed Lambert’s assertion in her description of a second Axial Age that has been underway since the advent of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment: “The [first] Axial Age was one of the most seminal periods of intellectual, psychological, philosophical, and religious change in recorded history; there would be nothing comparable until the Great Western Transformation, which created our own scientific and technological modernity.”46 Armstrong claims that the seeds of this transformation are located in the liminal period of the Axial Age of ancient Greece with its contributions to “mathematics, dialectics, medicine, and science.”47 Indeed, she says, it was Aristotle who “[a]lmost

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single-handedly … laid the foundations of Western science, logic, and philosophy.”48 Consequently, the effects of the emergence of Western science were globally transformative: “[I]n the sixteenth century its scientific revolution introduced a new Axial Age…. The heroes of [this] second Axial Age would be Newton, Freud, and Einstein.”49 In addition to recognizing the successes of modern science and technology in ushering in a second Axial Age, others have also called attention to the possibility of a global religious or spiritual awakening as a defining characteristic. Theologian Ewert Cousins too “discern[s] another transformation of consciousness” or a “Second Axial Period.”50 Cousins values the insights if limited of Jaspers’s Axial Age thesis, which turns on the axis of individual spirituality and analysis that ultimately led to the discovery of “abstract laws of science and metaphysics.”51 Similar to Lambert’s and Armstrong’s assertions, Cousins also claims that the Axial Age’s spiritual individualism coupled with newly discovered natural laws has contributed to the “intellectual and cultural heritage of Western science and the Age of Enlightenment” as well as the “affirmation of [religious] pluralism.”52 However, he diverges from their unfettered commemorations of modernity as a second Axial Age. In fact, Cousins faults Western science for intensifying the “Axial split between matter and spirit.” This split has undermined the potentially long-term commitments of earlier civilizations to a sense of spiritual community, within which all individuals had identified themselves.53 The contemporary loss of spiritual commitments, he maintains, has left unrestrained the contemporary and destructive pursuit of insatiable material desires, such that modernity’s primary focus on materialism has developed to the point that the environmental health of the planet is endangered. Nevertheless, Cousins detects that while the religions of the Axial Age “moved away from nature and into the transcendent,” they still “contained a compensating current that drew them back into the world.”54 He believes that today virtually all of the major world religions are on the verge of rediscovering this compensating current of their traditional sense of a spiritual community. Cousins proclaims that a second Axial Age has now begun to turn on a new axis as a result of “the forces of planetization [that] are bringing about an unprecedented complexification of consciousness through the convergence of cultures and religions.”55 This convergence has “the power to draw the human race into a global network and the religions of the world into a global spiritual community.”56 Furthermore, the globalization of this new community will provide “a

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holistic spirituality that integrates in an organic way matter, the human, and the divine.”57 Other theologians, such as Jim Kenney, have joined Cousins in proclaiming the contemporary presence of a “cultural evolutionary sea change [that] can best be understood as a Second Axial Age … [which] is giving rise to a new global consciousness.”58 Theologian Matthew Wright also states that “a sense of oneness is emerging in the consciousness of our planetary body…. Today we can claim these streams for what they are: the early in-breaking of Second Axial consciousness, a dramatic shift away from the dualistic separation of ‘Spirit’ from ‘world.’”59 Comparable to the arguments of Lambert, Armstrong, Cousins, and others that a second Axial Age is either present or imminent, sociologist John Torpey perceives that other axial ages have already occurred after that of Jaspers’s first Axial Age. Torpey accepts the general ethos of both a scientific and technological axial age and a spiritual axial age to argue that there have historically been three axial ages: the first, the “moral axial age” (mid-centuries of the first millennium BCE), as described by Jaspers; a second, “material axial age” (late eighteenth to late twentieth centuries); and a third, “mental or spiritual axial age” (late twentieth century to the present).60 However, his discussion of the three axial ages fixates on the distinctive approach with which each age incorporates material factors into its raison d’être. Torpey’s moral axial age includes explications of Jaspers’s Axial Age thesis, which “has been understood almost exclusively as an intellectual and moral transformation, and one concentrated in the ‘Old World’ of the Eurasian ecumene.”61 Although not thoroughly addressed by Jaspers, Torpey reflects on the inclusion of secular tendencies and material practices of select ancient civilizations in their comparative understandings of the relationship between this world and the world to come. Torpey’s discussion of the second, material axial age focuses on the age’s inheritance of both individualism and philosophical reason of the moral axial age by which “to call attention to the challenge confronting the human race with regard to the continued viability of its ecological foundations.”62 Already alluded to by Armstrong, he also discusses the economic developments and the social, political, and demographic consequences of this axial age. Finally, in his discussion of the third, mental or spiritual axial age, Torpey declares that a moral imperative to assist others has already manifested itself through the implementation of highly advanced technology to “manipulate the tiniest particles of the natural

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world and turn them into a medicine, an energy source, or a better kind of food.”63 And, as highlighted by Cousins, Torpey too recognizes that serious challenges exist to the future of the planet, including social, political, and environmental threats from global warming, environmental pollution, insufficient basic needs for population growth, political conflict, and economic dislocations. However, in conjunction with Cousins and Kenney, Torpey is optimistic that the ongoing revision of spiritual teachings rooted in the first Axial Age “will be essential to addressing the social and ecological challenges we face during the third Axial Age.”64 Assessments of other critics are less optimistic about the presence or success of a second Axial Age. Historian and anthropologist Dmitri M. Bondarenko expresses no confidence in the sustainability of a unified and global effort to encourage and achieve any of the material and spiritual possibilities of the second (or third) Axial Age as discussed by Lambert, Armstrong, Cousins, or Torpey. Bondarenko reasons that these depictions of a second Axial Age are rooted in the spiritual and religious evolution of Christendom as the medieval era transitioned to the modern era and began to blossom during the late fifteenth century.65 Specifically, he notes, this liminal, transitory period included “such cultural and sociopolitical phenomena” as the Renaissance, the Reformation with its religious wars, and modernity’s emphasis on rationalist philosophy, including the development of the natural sciences. In this way, it was Christendom’s own transformation that prepared the way for the growth of modern secularization, such that “the new world outlook eventually differed radically from the medieval Christian view of the world.” Nevertheless, the conditions discussed by those who believe that a second Axial Age is either on the verge of appearing or has already appeared and is present, Bondarenko finds, have hastened “[t]he global spread of secular education, science, and mass media, Western in origin and translating contemporary Western values, plant[ing] the seeds of the new culture worldwide.”66 In fact, he says, from the seeds of this new culture has grown a strong but unhealthy crop of radical individualism. With the focus on the individual to the neglect of the community, “the new world outlook eventually differed radically from the medieval Christian view of the world.”67 Additionally, the purveyance of individualism has promoted “the transition from religious toleration to religious pluralism,” which undermines any possibility of a sense of spiritual community.68 Thus, given the competitive nature of contemporary religious pluralism, there is virtually no possibility that a second Axial Age has arisen or may

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arise, especially as envisioned by Cousins, Kenney, or Torpey that would be capable of displaying any sense of a universal identity with concordant values—despite Jaspers’s hope that they would develop in the future as a result of the (first) Axial Age having completed its spiritual development. Jaspers, too, doubted whether there existed a sufficiently unified spiritual consciousness to proclaim the immanence of another new age. Notwithstanding the celebratory references by others to Jaspers’s hints of the possibility of a second Axial Age (and perhaps a third Axial Age), he was less sanguine about its likelihood inasmuch as the necessary conditions for a second axis do not appear to have occurred since the first axis of 500 BC. Jaspers’s assessment of the accumulated but fragmented achievements of modernity as well as their limited reach to develop a sense of a historically, worldwide spiritual community prompted him to doubt that the potential existed for a second axis to have emerged. He observed that “the purity and clarity, the ingenuousness and freshness of the worlds of the first axis” have yet to be repeated.69 Specifically, he maintained that the Christian West and Islamic East have never fully reclaimed their heritage of the first Axial Age, other than “only fragmentarily in various rediscoveries, such as the appraisal of Aristotle and Plato already during the Middle Ages.”70 The current state of modernity, he concluded, “is no second Axial Period.”71 However, Jaspers acknowledged that long after the Axial Age, European contributions during the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries—including those of Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Spinoza, Kant, and Mozart, among others—did enhance to a degree the spiritual dimensions of modernity.72 Jaspers wondered if the possibility of a second axis has yet to be realized, due to the contemporary chaotic agglomeration of desperate insights and arguments of the arts and sciences, which, in any event, have been limited primarily to Europe. Nevertheless, he speculated that achievements in the arts, when combined with breakthroughs in science and technology of the liminal period between the medieval and modern eras, suggest that “possibilities are open to the second axis that were unknown to the first.”73 Ironically, if Jaspers doubted the possibility of a second Axial Age, the integrity of his own argument in defense of the first Axial Age becomes less certain.

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Any Axial Age? Historian Jan Assmann challenges the evolutionary framework of Jaspers’s philosophy of history as insufficient to explain how the world has progressed from the Axial Age of the distant past to culminate in the modern era. Assmann finds that Jaspers’s framework does not adequately account for the assortment of cultural beliefs in diverse regions of the world. As a counterexample, he refers to the linguistic and technical developments in Egyptian culture that had already exhibited characteristics of modernity that predated Jaspers’s axis of 500 BCE by several millennia.74 Similarly, sociologists John D. Boy and John Torpey argue that other pre-Axial Age and post-Axial Age civilizations, including those within the Christian and Islamic contexts, have also had their own axial moments or breakthroughs that effected radical changes apart from those emphasized by Jaspers.75 Jaspers, in fact, had acknowledged that secondary breakthroughs have occurred, such as the “Christian axis” of the first century and the emergence and impact of Islam during and after the seventh century.76 However, these secondary breakthroughs also occurred centuries after the Axial Age, he explained, and thus were not as momentous as the major breakthroughs of the Axial Age itself, even though they are still encompassed within its reach. Nevertheless, Boy and Torpey point out, “[t]he conception of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ axial breakthroughs, retrospectively restoring Christianity and Islam to ‘the axial,’ stretches the original temporal frame of Jaspers’s axial age thesis.”77 In fact, it appears that “[t]his residual category [of Christianity and Islam] is eventually brought into universal history in the age of science and technology, presumably through Western imperialism.”78 They conclude that “it is not clear that labeling some form of thought ‘axial’ amounts to saying anything more than that these other developments were significant cultural–historical ‘breakthroughs’ of some cognitive sort.”79 In addition to the criticisms of Boy and Torpey, political historian Antony Black finds Jaspers’s defense of the Axial Age thesis lacking in an additional way: “I would agree that there were, nonetheless, certain phenomena of the kind to which Jaspers referred that were distinctive. Yet here, too, Jaspers (and others) have seriously skewed a promising line of analysis.”80 While the explanation suggested by the Axial Age’s framework appropriately focuses on the individual’s self-conscious awareness of his relationship to the cosmos, including the use of critical enquiry in philosophy

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and science, Black notes that there is also a “political and social dimension that Jaspers all but ignored.”81 That is, thinkers in Greece, China, and other regions of the world to which Jaspers referred were also searching for alternative approaches to solving issues of daily life, better ways to organize society, problems of social stratification, and negative consequences of struggles for power.82 Indeed, two sociopolitical concerns that Black highlights were common in diverse civilizations: the arguments that “power should be based on merit, not birth; … [and] the rich and the poor should respect one another, and the rich should be generous toward the poor.”83 And, given that responses to these concerns influenced how future generations and societies “thought about government and politics,” he finds that Jaspers’s Axial Age thesis distorts how history has actually evolved.84 Finally, sociologist Andrew Smith concludes that a need exists “to dissolve the idea of the axial age [itself] both by highlighting the diversity of the different traditions involved and by expanding its historical range.”85 However, while challenging the efficacy of Jaspers’s reliance on the specificity of the Axial Age turning on 500 BCE, Smith also recognizes that “[r]ejecting Jaspers’s thesis as incoherent does not mean denying the integral role the religious traditions to which he refers have played in the historical development of reason.”86

Axiality and Breakthroughs Critical evaluations that have challenged the analytical efficacy or historical applicability of Jaspers’s framework raise doubts and concerns as to the credibility of the idea and application of the possibility of any world axial age, beginning with Jaspers’s depiction of an initial Axial Age to explain future effects if not directions of historical changes. However, his critics do not necessarily reject the idea of axiality itself. The idea of a “constantly uniform nature” and the “enlightenment conception of natural law and universal reason,” among others, says Bernhard Giesen, were of themselves “axial breakthroughs.”87 It is precisely Jaspers’s theoretical weaknesses in his philosophy of history that ironically call attention to the inherently valuable declarations and affirmations characteristic of the contentious and chaotic indeterminacy of liminal periods from one era to another. As Assmann states, “Instead of an Axial ‘age,’ we should speak of axiality and axialization.”88

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Boy and Torpey also emphasize the importance of dehistoricizing Jasper’s Axial Age thesis: “Instead of a single axial age that coincides with the rise of the so-called world religions in a decisive period of human history, there are a plethora of ‘axial’ transformations, many of which occur within the relatively recent past.”89 Similarly, Assmann stipulates, “the quest for the roots of modernity, however, is not interested in the past as such but only as the beginning of something held to be characteristic of the present.”90 Important developments, he notes, have occurred at specific times in history that have had long-term implications for future developments and events. That is, “an event of Axial range,” such as the invention of writing, in combination with other immediate and necessary steps, may well lead to “Axial transformations.”91 Such a moment in time, suggests Assmann, is predicated on an “axiality” with unique features that may vary by culture. Boy and Torpey conclude that “the deployment of the category of ‘axiality’ without accepting the existence of an ‘axial age’ as such may render the notion more plausible.”92 Furthermore, says Assmann, the axiality of such arguments and foundations is of necessity paramount to explicating the transition from one era to the next: “This cultural split into antiquity and modernity seems to me one of the characteristic prerequisites if not elements of axiality. It introduces into a given culture an element of critical distance and reflectivity.”93 The key, then, is the degree to which the “cultural memory” is still present from many and diverse societies of millennia past, including Greece, whose “rediscovery may then lead to another intellectual revolution such as the Renaissance.”94 Notwithstanding debates swirling around the merits of his Axial Age framework, Jaspers, too, recognized that “the great break really took place after the late Middle Ages…. The break itself is the fresh great enigma. It is by no means a transparent, rectilinear evolution [although grounded in the] development of the preliminary stages of modern science in late medieval nominalism.”95 As Giesen states, “[it is the] discourse rituals of intellectuals [that] lead to axial breakthroughs in the context of a specific problem in history.”96 Explorations of select problems in history and attendant intellectual breakthroughs offer considerable insights into their influential contributions in the development of original or innovative analytical theories and the impact of those theories on political society. Focusing on the axial breakthroughs of the liminal period of the late medieval era and early modern era reveals the interplay of intellectual foundations in arguments of philosophy, religion, and politics necessary to analyze the

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intellectual arguments, political efficacy, and sustainability of the architectural design and construction of political edifices to resolve the religious question. In light of the assessments of the promise and limitations of Jaspers’s philosophy of history, the Axial Age thesis suggests the crucial importance of intellectual historical markers to comprehend better the impact of innovative breakthroughs—or axial moments—in the evolving and interactive confluence of natural philosophy, political philosophy, and theological speculation. Specifically, exploration of the liminal period of transition from the late medieval era into the early modern era reveals axial moments that collectively comprise a religious axis between the structured worldviews of the two eras whose political architectures propagated mutually incompatible solutions to the religious question.

Religious Axis Jaspers characterized “the fresh great enigma” of the liminal period of transition as a “historical matrix” that “constitute[s] the indispensable fundament of our [modern] culture and the richest source of our intuitions and insights.”97 The intuitions and insights of modern culture do indeed find their roots in the transitional period between the medieval era and the modern era. However, while a historical matrix suggests a rigid structure with bounded limits, the liminal period exhibited a brackish and transitional fluidity characterized by the ambiguous confluence of competing analytical paradigms and holistic perspectives that bridged the two eras. Moreover, the presence of axial moments of breakthroughs permeated the chaotic mix of fervent intellectual explorations whose unstable compositions began “changing meaning and purpose [of concepts or ideas] as they migrate from one discipline to another, and become inserted in new discourses,” as noted by Thomassen.98 The relevant axial moments during the transition period comprise breakthroughs that introduced diverse and unconventional perspectives that in turn led to political trajectories of alternative philosophical arguments to treat political societies infected with Thomas Hobbes’s plague.

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During the century preceding Hobbes’s observation of 1640, the pandemic plague of religious pluralism had been spreading throughout Western Europe and smoldering in other regions of the continent. The philosophical ground zero of this plague had broken out on the Iberian Peninsula during the Renaissance of the twelfth century and slowly but inexorably transmitted its infectious appeal into southern Europe then on into western Europe and eventually America of the early modern era. During this liminal period with its religious axis, fundamental challenges to conventional analytical frameworks and dominant social, political, and religious beliefs and practices by Hobbes’s “learned men” were blossoming. The persuasive thinking of each man who “thought that he alone had discovered divine and human right” often incorporated interrelated and innovative hypothetical claims and analytical methods with novel conjectures and unique findings of natural philosophy and theological speculation. As the plague of religious pluralism worsened, mutations appeared when axial breakthroughs surfaced in popular deliberations. Some mutations generated competing considerations of moral autonomy and religious identity, particularly among those increasingly distrustful of official church dogma and edicts of ecclesiastical officials. Other mutations first gradually then later enthusiastically embraced support for popular if limited assemblies to participate in policymaking. Misgivings also increased dramatically concerning the competence or trustworthiness of civil authorities embedded in authoritarian structures of governance. Religious perspectives on nature, God, human behavior, morals and obligations, religious beliefs, and politics shifted dramatically, often diametrically, as political and religious pluralism confronted prevailing assumptions regarding the legitimate relationship between religion and politics and church and state. During this liminal period, the axial moments formed the core of three philosophical foundations—epistemic, axiological, and political—of the religious axis. The foundations converged, intertwined, and ultimately coalesced over the course of the twelfth to nineteenth centuries. They incorporated and innovatively applied arguments that were being disseminated in philosophical, theological, legal, and other treatises and documents that were forging diverse but often interrelated intellectual paths. Ultimately, the philosophical foundations effected the transition from the

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presuppositions and social expectations of conventional medieval perspectives to lay the basis for a revolutionary change in modernity’s understanding of the relationship between church and state. Specifically, the foundations prepared the groundwork for the new political architecture of the American republic with its constitutional design and construction of a containment structure to resolve the religious question.

Notes 1. Thomas Hobbes, “The Life of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury,” trans. J. E. Parsons, Jr., and Whitney Blair, Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy 10 (January 1982): 3, 7. 2. Idem, Behemoth: The History of the Causes of the Civil Wars of England (New York: Burt Franklin, 1963), pt. 1, pp. 3–5. 3. Ibid., 5. 4. Idem, Leviathan (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1973), pt. 1, ch. 12, pp. 54–55. 5. Idem, Behemoth, 28. 6. Idem, The Citizen: Philosophical Rudiments Concerning Government and Society, trans. of De Cive, by Hobbes in Man and Citizen, ed. Bernard Gert (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1972), ch. 15, para. 1, p. 290. 7. Idem, On Man, trans. of De Homine by Charles T. Wood, T. S. K. ScottCraig, and Bernard Gert, ed. Gert (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1972), ch. 14, para. 4, p. 73. 8. Idem, Citizen, ch. 6, footnote 2, p. 180. 9. Ibid., ch. 1, sec. 5, pp. 114–15. 10. Idem, Behemoth, 5. 11. Ibid. 12. William Erbery, “The Lord of Host: Or, God Guarding the Camp of the Saints, and the Beloved City,” in The Testimony of William Erbery, Left Upon for the Saints of Succeeding Ages (London: Giles Calvert, 1658), 25. 13. Hobbes, On Man, ch. 14, sec. 4, p. 72. 14. Idem, Leviathan, ch. 12, p. 60. 15. Ibid., pt. 2, ch. 17, p. 89. 16. Idem, On Man, ch. 14, para. 9, p. 76. 17. Idem, Leviathan, pt. 2, ch. 17, p. 142. 18. Ibid., pt. 2, ch. 18, p. 148. 19. John Locke, “First Tract on Government,” in Locke, Political Writings, ed. David Wootton (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2003), 144. 20. Ibid., 143.

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21. Idem, A Letter Concerning Toleration (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983), 52 (modern spelling and punctuation applied). 22. Ibid., 55 (modern spelling and punctuation applied). 23. Ibid. 24. Ibid., 41 (modern spelling and punctuation applied). 25. Idem, Two Treatises of Government (New York: New American Library, 1960), Second Treatise, ch. 7, secs. 87, p. 367. 26. Hobbes, On Man, ch. 14, para. 13, p. 81. 27. Idem, The Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity, and Chance Clearly Stated and Debated Between Dr. Bramhall, Bishop of Derry, and Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury (Ann Arbor, MI and Oxford, UK: Text Creation Partnership, 2005–2003), 212, 48 (modern spelling and punctuation applied), http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A44010.0001.001 (accessed 6 May 2019). 28. Bjørn Thomassen, “The Uses and Meanings of Liminality,” International Political Anthropology 2, no. 1 (2009): 5. 29. Ibid., 19. 30. Karl Jaspers, The Origin and Goal of History, trans. Michael Bullock (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953), 52. 31. Ibid., 137. 32. Ibid., 51–53. 33. Idem, “The Axial Age of Human History: A Base for the Unity of Mankind,” Commentary, November 1, 1948, 430. 34. Idem, Origin and Goal, 1–6, 51. 35. Ibid., 5. 36. Ibid., 19–20; cf. Bjørn Thomassen, Liminality and the Modern: Living Through the In-Between (Routledge, 2014), 91. 37. Bjørn Thomassen, “Anthropology, Multiple Modernities, and the Axial Age Debate,” Anthropological Theory 10, no. 4 (2010): 333. 38. Bernhard Giesen, Intellectuals and the German Nation: Collective Identity in an Axial Age, trans. Nicholas Levis and Amos Weisz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 49 (emphasis original). 39. Jaspers, Origin and Goal, 51. 40. Ibid., 25. 41. Ibid., 24 (emphasis original). 42. Ibid., 25. 43. Ibid., 76. 44. Yves Lambert, “Religion in Modernity as a New Axial Age: Secularization or New Religious Forms?” Sociology of Religion 60, no. 3 (1999): 303. 45. Ibid., 306. 46. Karen Armstrong, The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions (New York: Anchor Books, 2007), xvi. 47. Ibid., 387.

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48. Ibid., 392. 49. Ibid., 424. 50. Ewert Cousins, “Religions of the World: Teilhard and the Second Axial Turning,” Interreligious Insight: A Journal of Dialogue and Engagement 4, no. 4 (October 2006): 14. 51. Ibid., 13. 52. Ibid., 9. 53. Ibid., 14; cf. Cousins, “Judaism-Christianity-Islam: Facing Modernity Together,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 30, nos. 3, 4 (Summer Fall, 1993): 418–22. 54. Idem, Christ of the 21st Century (Rockport, MA: Element, 1992), 149. 55. Cousins, “Religions of the World,” 15. 56. Ibid., 9. 57. Idem, Christ of the 21st Century, 132; cf. Cousins, “Judaism-ChristianityIslam,” 422–25. 58. Jim Kenney, “Another Turn on the Axis Religious and Spiritual Evolution in the 21st Century,” Interreligious Insight: A Journal of Dialogue and Engagement 9, no. 2 (December 2011): 25. 59. Matthew Wright, “Second Axial Age Awakening,” Contemplative Journal, July 4, 2014, http://contemplativejournal.com/second-axial-ageawakening/ (accessed May 25, 2018). 60. John Torpey, The Three Axial Ages: Moral, Material, Mental (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2017), 5. 61. Ibid., 31. 62. Ibid., 37. 63. Ibid., 57. 64. Ibid., 78. 65. Dmitri M. Bondarenko, “The Second Axial Age and Metamorphoses of Religious Consciousness in the ‘Christian World,’” Journal of Globalization Studies 2, no. 1 (May 2011): 115. 66. Ibid., 114. 67. Ibid., 115. 68. Ibid., 117. 69. Jaspers, Origin and Goal, 76. 70. Ibid., 58; cf. 64, 68. 71. Ibid., 96. 72. Ibid., 75–76. 73. Ibid., 76. 74. Jan Assmann, “Cultural Memory and the Myth of the Axial Age,” in The Axial Age and Its Consequences, ed. Robert N. Bellah and Hans Joas (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2012), 384–88, 394–97. 75. John D. Boy and John Torpey, “Inventing the Axial Age: The Origins and Uses of a Historical Concept,” Theory and Society 42 (2013): 242–43.

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76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85.

86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98.

Jaspers, Origin and Goal, 58, 64. Boy and Torpey, “Inventing,” 253. Ibid., 248. Ibid., 243 (emphasis original). Antony Black, “The ‘Axial Period’: What Was It and What Does It Signify?” Review of Politics 70, no. 1 (Winter 2008): 25–26. Ibid., 27, 29. Ibid., 29, 30. Ibid., 33. Ibid., 35. Andrew Smith, “Between Facts and Myth: Karl Jaspers and the Actuality of the Axial Age,” International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76, no. 4 (2015): 326. Ibid., 328. Giesen, Intellectuals and the German Nation, 49. Assmann, “Cultural Memory,” 400. Boy and Torpey, “Inventing,” 255. Assmann, “Cultural Memory,” 366. Ibid., 383. Boy and Torpey, “Inventing,” 250. Assmann, “Cultural Memory,” 388 (emphases original). Ibid., 373. Jaspers, Origin and Goal, 75. Giesen, Intellectuals and the German Nation, 50. Jaspers, Origin and Goal, 76. Thomassen, “The Uses and Meanings of Liminality,” 5. As if illustrating the inchoate fluidity of the liminality of this transitional period, the morphing and swirling of shapes with blurred hues and shades of color in the cover image of Bruce Rolff’s oil painting depict the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City—that still houses a Reformed Congregation founded by Dutch Calvinists in 1628—as it competes with the stature and status of the Empire State Building—itself completed in 1931 to house corporate offices of the American commercial republic.

CHAPTER 4

Epistemic Foundation: Epistemologies and Worldviews, the Bible and Public Schools

During the medieval era, an intellectual path had been trodden by those who professed the logical necessity of a mutually beneficial relationship between church and state. Prior to his death in 494 during the decline of the Western Roman Empire, Pope Gelasius I, the bishop of Rome, wrote a letter to Anastasius I, emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire and patriarch of Constantinople.1 Gelasius reminded Anastasius that Christendom is a single community and thus the two political empires have the same spiritual and temporal ends. He discussed further the political role of the church and the religious responsibilities of the state. Gelasius affirmed the authority of the church to wield a sword to discipline ecclesiastical officials and members of the clergy as well as determine the expectations for salvific rituals of all Christian believers. He also affirmed the authority of civil magistrates to wield a sword to maintain public order as well as enforce Christian religious practices and social mores.2 Nevertheless, while Gelasius affirmed equal authority of church and state in their respective spiritual and temporal jurisdictions, Anastasius as emperor also received a curious admonition from the pope: “[B]ow the neck to those who have charge of divine affairs and seek from them the means of your salvation, and … you ought to submit yourself rather than rule, and that in these matters you should depend on their judgement rather than seek to bend them to your will.”3 After the pope’s death, religious and political leaders throughout Christendom during the following century sought to clarify the intent of Gelasius’s letter, inasmuch © The Author(s) 2020 J. R. Pottenger, Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis, Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33974-6_4

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as he seemed to imply that the Christian church occupies a superior role to that of the state and the Christian faith a privileged position to other faiths. Early in the sixth century, Justinian I, emperor of the eastern territory of the Roman Empire’s diarchy, sought to resolve the issue of the legitimate relationship between church and state in Gelasius’s letter by researching the content of related arguments found in earlier documents. He engaged in a massive project of compiling known legal documents to ferret out the prevailing rational on church-state relations. His project resulted in the Justinian Code, which included the statutes of previous Roman emperors that had already been compiled in the second century Institutes of the Roman jurist Gaius.4 In addition to the compilation of Roman law, the Code contained religious treatises and other writings on politics and Christianity. Many of the documents expressed support for the privileged position of Christianity in the empire, including provisions for punishment by civil authorities of religious dissenters and heretics. However, as social and political instability spread with the dissolution of the Empire’s western territory, the Justinian Code vanished and was unavailable during the following five centuries. Without access to the Code, religious scholars continued to debate various interpretations of the descriptive and prescriptive content in Gelasius’s letter.5 While the debates were ongoing, jurisdictional conflicts often arose between church and state. Over time, the church became more politicized as ecclesiastical officials gradually adopted those scholarly interpretations that supported the political superiority of the church.

Renaissance On the eve of the Renaissance of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Justinian Code was recovered in the late eleventh century in northern Italy. The Code’s recovery rejuvenated considerable interest in its content among religious scholars and jurists during the next two centuries. Early in the thirteenth century, Italian jurist Azo of Bologna wrote a commentary on the Code’s civil law.6 Azo’s commentary formed the basis of his more influential works, the Treatise on Institutes and the Treatise on Codes or Collection of Statutes , both of which contributed to further developments in governmental jurisprudence and Christian canon law. Considered the foremost expert on both Roman

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civil law and Christian canon law, Azo lectured extensively before European jurists, including common law judges of England.7 As a result of Azo’s scholarship and acumen, the unity of both canon and civil law as the basis for the unity of church and state continued to reinforce the predominance of the church-state paradigm throughout Western Europe, including in the British Isles. Relying extensively on the writings of Azo in conjunction with those of other legal scholars and jurists, later in the thirteenth century the English jurist Henry de Bracton compiled one of the more authoritative texts of the British medieval era: On the Laws and Customs of England. To equip practitioners of English law with a legal framework premised on the cooperative relationship between church and state, Bracton incorporated into his compilation theories of universal law that had underpinned the Roman model of jurisprudence.8 However, he avoided incorporation of Roman absolutism and Christian canon law9 as well as interpretations of Gelasius’s letter, which had been nearly universally interpreted to privilege church over state.10 In addition to the contributions of Azo and others, Bracton also incorporated British royal court decisions from more than 600 legal cases, which laid the foundation for English common law. Nevertheless, with regard to the influence of medieval theories of natural law and Christian theology on matters of temporal justice, Bracton asserted the presupposition that “jurisprudence is the knowledge of things divine and human, the science of the just and the unjust.”11 It was imperative that temporal laws reflect the moral content of natural law, which originated with God.12 Inasmuch as knowledge of justice originates with God and was then given to sanction man, he argued, “it is in the interest of the res publica [commonwealth] that it have churches.”13 Church teachings were expected to include instructions on “ordering virtue and prohibiting its opposite” in society.14 With this political-theological foundation, Bracton excluded the possibility that individual rights have any a priori or independent ontological standing. Individual rights, he maintained, may only be recognized as a function of the temporal law of the commonwealth, which itself may only be amended according to the prerogative of the ruler.15 During this 800-year period, the intellectual path of Gelasius, Gaius, Justinian, Azo, and Bracton, among others, of demonstrative philosophical reasoning, based on theologically sanctioned natural law premises, became increasingly entrenched as the governing epistemological method of scholars and jurists. Demonstrative arguments provided justification for

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alliances between church and state, which was understood as necessary to create the Christian commonwealth. But by the late medieval era, those who had continued to tread down this path encountered an unavoidable methodological fork in the road. The fork revealed another path that had diverged from the trajectory of the well-trodden path’s church-state alliances. Those travelers who began to explore the direction of the newly divergent path increasingly garnered hints of the path’s alternative trajectory. The trajectory appeared to have embraced an epistemological approach based on a priori individual rights—that some travelers began to perceive on the very distant horizon—and a philosophical justification of religious and political pluralism in tandem with separation of church and state. While those influenced by the demonstrative logic of Bracton’s political theology continued to tread down the traditional path of church-state alliances, the travelers who braved the second path of a potentially different understanding of relations between church and state entertained the possibility of shifting from reliance solely on demonstrative logic to the recognition and potential utility of inductive logic. On the fresher path, an epistemic philosophical foundation—having diverged slightly but over time profoundly from the path of demonstrative logic—began to take shape during the liminal period from the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries. The epistemic foundation’s path had unintentionally begun to pierce the veil of medieval natural philosophy, whose reliance on the well-worn path’s epistemological framework justified collusion between church and state. A successful challenge to the epistemological approach that grounded Bracton’s legal philosophy would be necessary before alternative political theories would emerge in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The nascent political theories would propose the existence and acceptance of a priori individual rights as a necessary condition upon which to construct an unconventional political regime. During the liminal period, the epistemic foundation’s new trajectory of philosophical rationalism relied primarily on epistemological concepts, arguments, and commentaries regarding Aristotle’s philosophical writings. Indeed, the foundation identified the source of its logical divergence embedded in the temporal arc that linked Greek philosophy with Christian theology of the Latin West—the arc of the Greco-Islamic tradition— where a crucial axial moment resided.

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Greco-Islamic Tradition The Greco-Islamic tradition comprised a series of fundamental intellectual arguments whose effect ultimately instigated paradigmatic shifts in Western philosophical reasoning, including in Christian theological developments.16 The tradition embraced the recovery of the preponderance of Aristotle’s corpus, especially the Organon and works in natural philosophy, that had been transmitted to the Latin West via Arab Islamic scholars. Aristotle’s manuscripts furnished systematic methods to clarify philosophical investigations encountered in medical treatments, rhetorical communications, juridical determinations, and theological debates. Islamic scholars included Al-Kindi, Alfarabi, Avicenna, Al-Ghazali, and Averroes who provided translations in Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin as well as their own commentaries to explicate Aristotle’s analytical treatises. Many of these translations and commentaries revealed rationales and explications that focused on the structure of logical argumentation, which contributed to shaping the path of philosophical rationalism in Islamic and later Jewish and Christian apologetics of the early Renaissance. Reflecting on the intellectual significance of the Greco-Islamic tradition, in 1377 Ibn Khaldun wrote his Introduction or Prolegomenon containing his explanation of axial moments and their impacts on crucial developments of world history. He emphasized the importance of a sedentary culture for the development of other sciences, including those of logic, philosophy, and speculative theology.17 Ibn Khaldun observed that, by the twelfth century, Islamic scholars had “assiduously studied the (Greek sciences). They became skilled in the various branches. The (progress they made in the) study of those sciences could not have been better.”18 In particular, they had challenged as well as adopted and continued theoretical development in many of the philosophical arguments of Aristotle. According to Ibn Khaldun, “[t]hey considered him the decisive authority as to whether an opinion should be rejected or accepted, because he possessed the greatest fame. They wrote systematic works on the subject. They surpassed their predecessors in the intellectual sciences.” As he discussed the intellectual achievements of several Islamic scholars, Ibn Khaldun proclaimed that Averroes (Ibn Rushd), the twelfth-century Islamic philosopher and jurist of Córdoba, Andalusia, was “among the greatest Muslim (philosophers).”19

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During the liminal period, Averroes’s major contributions had promoted the diffusion of Aristotle’s works and thought in Latin Europe, especially with regard to understanding and applying Aristotle’s philosophical rationalism. Arguments found in his translations of and commentaries on Aristotle’s logical works and rational philosophy were later the subjects of other commentaries as well as frequently adapted by at least two more prominent philosophers: Thomas Aquinas and John Buridan.20 Indeed, for Aquinas and Buridan, the organic link between Arab recovery and preservation of ancient Greek texts and the production of European philosophical and theological treatises centered on numerous commentaries on Aristotle’s Organon, especially those of Al-Kindi, Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes.21 But, as noted by Ibn Khaldun, it was the significance of Averroes’s writings—as the temporal arc’s keystone between Greek philosophy and Christian theology—that was effectively endorsed by Aquinas and Buridan who highlighted the prominent influence of Averroes’s thinking in their own arguments. In their analyses of Aristotle’s Organon, they relied on explanations of and insights into those arguments found in Averroes’s commentaries.

Demonstrative Inferences In the development of his philosophical rationalism, Averroes commented on and often invoked Aristotle’s rules of inference for standard form syllogisms. Aristotle’s explication of these rules furnished the ability of the logical structure of inference to demonstrate knowledge of something: “By ‘a demonstration’ I mean a scientific syllogism, and by ‘a scientific syllogism’ I mean a syllogism in virtue of which, by possessing [principles], we know [something]…. Now there may be a syllogism even without these, but such syllogism will not be a demonstration, for it will not produce knowledge” (Prior Analytics, 71b18–25).22 Moreover, of the different methods of inferential reasoning, Aristotle preferred as superior the logical validity of demonstrative over inductive or dialectical reasoning: “It is also evident that, if the premises from which the [demonstrative] syllogism proceeds are universal, also the conclusion of such a demonstration and, we may add, of an unqualified demonstration is of necessity eternal” (Prior Analytics, 75b21–23). Only demonstrative syllogisms, Aristotle maintained, may yield a universal or apodictic conclusion that is derived from the veracity of “each principle in virtue of that principle itself” (Topics, 100b21).

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Averroes employed Aristotle’s grasp of the superior validity and certain soundness of demonstrative logic to support his own development of philosophical rationalism. In the Decisive Treatise, he too argued that if philosophic understanding is to occur, “dialectical, rhetorical, and sophistical syllogistic reasoning” will not be as useful as “demonstrative syllogistic reasoning.”23 Only demonstrative syllogistic reasoning can precisely infer conclusions based on premises of received truths, he agreed. Thus, as with Aristotle, a demonstrative syllogism “fulfills the conditions for validity,” regardless of the soundness or provenance of the argument’s premises. In fact, Averroes referred to demonstrative syllogistic reasoning as a “science of interpretation” and likened it to the methodological rigor of the technique or art employed in mathematical reasoning, which builds deductively on the insights of previous arguments and their conclusions: “It is evident, moreover, that this goal is completed for us with respect to existing things only when they are investigated successively by one person after another and when, in doing so, the one coming after makes use of the one having preceded—along the lines of what occurs in the mathematical sciences.”24 Averroes’s “science of interpretation” concluded with the recognition that any inferential explanation of demonstrative syllogistic reasoning “is only of the truth.”25 Nevertheless, the traces of an inductive turn away from reliance exclusively on demonstrative reasoning also appeared in Aristotle’s writings. Furthermore, Averroes not only commented approvingly of Aristotle’s arguments but contributed his own logical insights that were later recognized and incorporated into the philosophical arguments of Aquinas and Buridan.

Inductive Turn While defending the preeminence of demonstrative syllogisms to that of dialectical or inductive reasoning from which to infer universal conclusions, Aristotle had noted that “all teaching and all learning through discourse proceed from previous knowledge…. And it is likewise with reasonings, whether these be through a syllogism or induction” (Posterior Analytics, 71a1–6). In fact, he asserted, due to the abstract and immaterial nature of mathematical reasoning, only mathematical statements can meet the highest expectations of demonstrative reasoning (Metaphysics , 995a-15–19). Consequently, Aristotle found, “The accuracy which exists in mathematical statements should not be demanded in everything but

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only in whatever has no matter. Accordingly, the manner of proceeding in such cases is not that of physics.” Thus demonstrative reasoning may confront limitations on the range of its applicability to analytical investigations in natural philosophy, unlike that of abstract or mathematical reasoning. Aristotle further asserted that sensory perception is a necessary condition for reasoning effectively whether by demonstrative syllogism or induction. Moreover, given that the demonstrated conclusion of a syllogism relies on a premise containing an apodictic assertion, the existence of “universals cannot be investigated except through induction … and it is impossible to learn by induction without having the power of sensation” (Posterior Analytics, 81a38-81b2–3, 6–7). Thus, he recognized sensory experience as a necessary condition in investigations to identify and infer the possible existence of universals. In fact, only through sensory perception can the inductive process be used to explore universal assumptions: “For of individuals [there can be only] sensation, and no knowledge of them can be acquired; and neither can we demonstrate conclusions from universals without induction, nor can we acquire universals through induction without sensation” (Posterior Analytics, 81b7–10). In his Short Commentary on Aristotle’s “Topics ,” Averroes acknowledged the importance of applying induction in those situations where demonstrative arguments have yet to occur; in one situation, “induction is needed to reach the essential predicate [of already accepted universal claims]. Now these are known as experiential premises.”26 Yet, he maintained, a conclusion by induction may be acceptable to dialecticians as apodictic simply because “it asserts that a judgment applies to all [of something] because it applies to most of it, for it is generally accepted that the lesser follows the greater.” Even so, the uncertain reliability of the premises still allows for the possibility that the inductive generalization may be logically invalid or empirically falsified. However, an axial moment occurred when Averroes identified the existence of another technique that promised to bolster support for the epistemological legitimacy of inductive arguments. Averroes realized that a change in the logical structure of a demonstrative syllogism may be used to understand and explain nature via hypothetical assertions.27 That is, given the soundness of premises in a deductive syllogism and the logical validity of its conclusion, an interchange of

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the conclusion and the major premise will transform the logically deductive structure of a demonstrative syllogism into that of an inductive argument. With this type of transformation, inductive arguments may then reinforce conclusions of deductive syllogisms. Thus, Averroes argued, the interchange of positions of the major premise and conclusion by induction is reasonably acceptable. However, given the appeal of generalizing abductive inferences of inductive arguments, he cautioned temperance. Reliance only on the conclusions of such inferences as generalizations may still hold less validity: “[W]hen the induction is used all by itself to explain an unknown problem, it is not very persuasive.”28 Conceivably, though, Averroes’s transformative technique could place inductive arguments on parity with demonstrative syllogisms.

Incorporating the Turn In the religious disputations of medieval scholasticism of the thirteenth century, the incorporation of arguments from Aristotle—the “Philosopher”—and Averroes—his “Commentator”—became well established in philosophical and theological discourse. In the Summa Theologica—the preeminent and authoritative theological defense of Christian doctrine during the late medieval era—Thomas Aquinas often incorporated Aristotelian natural philosophy and rationalism as promulgated in Averroes’s commentaries. In addition, Aquinas also incorporated the reasoning of both Aristotle and Averroes regarding the value and power of inductive reasoning in his own commentaries on Aristotle. In his Commentary on the Posterior Analytics of Aristotle, Aquinas reinforced Aristotle’s discussion of the value of acquiring knowledge through induction. Relying on Averroes’s commentaries, Aquinas also recognized that Aristotle’s argument undermined the essentialism of Plato’s forms as universals. If Plato is correct that essences can be grasped through intellection alone, Aquinas observed, then “some things would be known without induction and sense perception, which the Philosopher here denies even in regard to abstracted things.”29 Consequently, he affirmed, “since we take a knowledge of universals from singulars, [the Philosopher] concludes that it is obviously necessary to acquire the first universal principles by induction. For that is the way, i.e., by way of induction, that the sense introduces the universal into the mind, inasmuch as all the singulars are considered.”30

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Citing Aristotle’s arguments with Averroes’s modifications, in the fourteenth century, John Buridan further refined the content and virtues of inductive arguments with experiential premises. In the Summulae de Dialectica, Buridan accepted the investigative value of inductive reasoning, but he was aware that, given society’s prevailing bias favoring demonstrative reasoning as superior to that of induction, “some people, wanting to do theology, denied that we could have knowledge about natural and moral [phenomena].”31 In response to his critics, Buridan emphasized Aristotle’s assertion that demonstrative reasoning, which characterizes abstract mathematical and other non-material-based reasoning, is inappropriate for investigative methods applied to “natural science.” He also noted that Averroes referred approvingly to Aristotle’s qualification “that one need not demand the kind of belief in natural demonstrations [that is found] in mathematics.”32 Consequently, Buridan proclaimed, “[w]e shall therefore declare that there are many diverse kinds of certainty and evidentness.”33 Buridan further argued that Aristotle’s discussions in the Posterior Analytics and the Metaphysics of the evaluative difference between demonstrative syllogisms and inductive arguments may not be as great as the Philosopher seemed to indicate. He interpreted Aristotle as claiming that “the principles of art and science are known to us by experience, i.e., experiential induction from the several sensations stored in the memory.”34 Buridan then credited the Commentator for this insight: “Averroes speaks about this beautifully, in bk. 2 of the Physics , when he says that a universal principle that was doubtful earlier is concluded by induction [through Averroes’s transformative technique] without surveying all the singulars, and that this is how induction comes within the scope of demonstrative science.” Thus when such arguments reinforce the essential predicates of knowledge already gained through sensory apprehension, the inductive method is lent greater credibility when employed with experiential premises. In his Quaestiones in Aristotelis Metaphysicam, Buridan supported both Aristotle’s assertion in the Metaphysics and Averroes’s agreement in his commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics of the possibility of assenting to truth claims with inductive arguments.35 Moreover, he strengthened this possibility of the “firmness of assent” by integrating empirical evidence or “evidentness”: “[F]irmness proceeds in us from evidentness. And it is called the evidentness of a proposition absolutely, when because of the nature of the senses or the intellect man is compelled, though without

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necessity, to assent to a proposition so that he cannot dissent from it…. And this sort of evidentness is sufficient for the principles and conclusions of natural science.”36 In this way, building on Aristotle’s discussions of demonstrative syllogisms and inductive arguments and Averroes’s explications and further contributions to enhancing Aristotle’s discussions on logic, Buridan elevated the standing of hypothetical arguments as virtually equal to that of demonstrative or deductive reasoning. Aristotle’s and Averroes’s claims of the necessity of induction to investigate the universals of natural phenomena encouraged Buridan to assign demonstrative syllogisms with their universal premises to be placed within the same category as that of inductive hypotheticals: “I reply that although a syllogism is composed of several expressions, it is nevertheless a single hypothetical proposition, connecting the conclusion with the premises through the conjunction ‘therefore.’”37 Furthermore, he reinforced the importance of human sensory experiences discussed by Aristotle and experiential premises in inductive arguments emphasized by Averroes. To this end, Buridan highlighted the crucial function of empirical evidence to support hypothetical claims and inferential conclusions regarding the causes of natural phenomena as well as the existence of universal principles to explain those causes. The pre-liminal influence of the transition from demonstration to induction in Aristotelian logic contributed to the critical insights of Averroes, Aquinas, and Buridan during the religious axis of the late medieval era into the early modern era, as Averroes’s axial moment invigorated the epistemic foundation with its inductive turn. During the next four centuries, the turn led to momentous developments in philosophical investigations during the modern era, including the development of the “New Science.”38 The new or modern science in turn served as the basis for an alternative philosophical rationalism that challenged the conventional rationalism underlying the rationale of church-state alliances, thereby fueling reevaluations and revisions in prevailing political theologies. The revisions themselves, then, had resulted from philosophical disputes between those who had trod both epistemological paths. In addition, the epistemic foundation congealed with two other foundations—axiological and political—during the liminal period that together ultimately provided the philosophical foundations of the religious axis, which provided the essential integrity of American political architecture with its design for a containment structure capable of solving the religious question. While the structure had formally removed religion

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from its privileged political status, it continued to defend religion’s presence in civil society. Nevertheless, a growing unease had set in among those who had favored the long-standing arguments that justified the status quo ante of church-state collusion. They sought a return to the welltrodden path of the symbiotic relationship between church and state by searching for and finally identifying an approach to eviscerate the logical rationale that upholds the containment structure of American political architecture, while the structure contains the fires of faith. To this end, a particularly powerful resurgence of religious involvement in American politics has been underway since the nineteenth century, driven by its own biblically-based approach on how to perceive the world. Of particular threat to the integrity of the religious axis are biblical worldviews whose shared religious values and frames of reference have spawned myriad Christian evangelical movements that deny the central premises and key assumptions of the axial moments. Modern liberal democracies have incessantly grappled with the solution to the religious question, including the place of the Bible in civil society, as political architects designed and constructed their containment structures. The history of the Bible in public schools in the United States reveals at its core an epistemological struggle for the legitimacy of conflicting and incompatible principles and presuppositions between the epistemic foundation of American political architecture and biblical worldviews of the Christian right movement.

Biblical Worldview In the 1820s and 1830s, numerous Christian denominations were troubled by the secular direction of American society whose practices increasingly challenged the presence of Christian ethics in social policies. They faulted the revolutionary underpinning of American political architecture with its irreligious national government, whose effects, they believed, had inescapably contributed to society’s evolutionary drift toward secularism with such social evils as Sunday mail delivery, alcohol consumption, blasphemy, obscenity, and slavery.39 Moreover, despite the historic unsustainability of New England’s Christian commonwealths of the seventeenth century, the Calvinist ethos of Puritanism still permeated the Protestant community.40 The combination of the tenets of Calvinism and the growing public dissatisfaction with the state of American culture encouraged religious participation in politics. In an attempt to reform

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society and ultimately effect a nationwide transition toward a more righteous and ennobling Protestant Christian nation, diverse religious organizations and movements engaged in sporadic attempts to pressure local and state lawmakers to initiate political and legal remedies to advance moral righteousness. Yet, given the diversity of Protestant churches and sects, a unifying theological framework or worldview for enhanced political efficacy was still wanting. Contemporaneously, by the mid-nineteenth century, the concept of a worldview (weltanschauung ) had become nearly synonymous with that of a distinct philosophical perspective of how an individual experiences the world. The all-encompassing nature of such a perspective held promise for incorporating a broader vision with which to describe as well as prescribe how religious individuals and communities experience the world as they seek a unified or universal explanation of all social phenomena. As opposed to the philosophical rationalism of Aristotle and Averroes that typically “claims universal validity,” a Christian utilization of a worldview would be able to “emphasize a personal and historical point of view.”41 In this way, the worldview provides a comprehensive analytical framework with which to coordinate diverse beliefs to assist evangelical Christians as they explore how to navigate and integrate their religious commitments to improve the rest of the natural, social, and moral world. By the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century, the evangelical movement had “assimilated a number of European ethnic communities, especially the Christian Reformed Church, which infused the movement [toward a biblical worldview] with considerable intellectual vigor.”42 Particularly attractive to Christians seeking a comprehensive understanding has been the well-developed, Reformed biblical worldview, which “maintains that there are close ties between intellectual history and the spiritual struggle” of Christians in the modern world.43 Reformed Christian advocates have traced the roots of their biblical worldview to the liminal period of the religious axis. They focus on that period’s “deeply religious thinkers and medieval scholastics [who] recognized that the Bible contains a double revelation of God—a revelation of faith … [and] a revelation of morals.”44 In religious imaginations during the Protestant Reformation, the two revelations of the Bible furnished theological grounding by “first using canon (church) law and then developing (civil) law from that religious basis.” With this grounding to explicate and build upon God’s double revelation, in the Reformed biblical worldview, “the political is interpreted theologically.”45 But, despite

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the overlap in the historic periods of origination, the Reformed biblical worldview has promoted a return to the demonstrative approach of reasoning that grounded the path well-trodden to challenge the epistemic foundation of that path less-travelled.

Demonstrative Redux In 1536, John Calvin published his Institutes of the Christian Religion, one of the more influential theological treatises of the Protestant Reformation, from which evolved the Reformed theological tradition. In the Institutes, Calvin acknowledged through God’s double revelation the presence of two kingdoms, one the spiritual kingdom of Christ, the other the temporal presence of civil government. A comprehensive understanding of the relationship between the two is necessary, he asserted, otherwise “the purity of the faith will perish.”46 Since the gospel of Christ “begins the heavenly kingdom within us,” Calvin stipulated that the divine role assigned to civil government is “to foster and maintain the external worship of God, to defend sound doctrine and the condition of the Church, to adapt our conduct to human society, to form our manners to civil justice, to conciliate us to each other, to cherish common peace and tranquillity.”47 Furthermore, Calvin maintained, without the presence and political participation of Christian citizens, the role of civil government loses its divine efficacy. Thus, any attempt to pursue a secular quest for the just or good society will be futile, resulting in personal spiritual destruction and social calamities. Only a properly constructed Christian commonwealth will suffice. Efforts to construct such commonwealths were common but usually of short duration and with limited success. For Christians distressed with the state of the ruinous character of civil and political society, Reformed Christian theology suggested the possibility of restoring Calvin’s religious and political insights through a political theology capable of challenging the philosophical foundations of American political architecture. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Dutch Reformed theologian Abraham Kuyper bolstered popular interest in Calvin’s Reformed theology when he developed his own neo-Calvinist political theology. As Kuyper stated, “Calvinism is rooted in a form of religion

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which was peculiarly its own, and from this specific religious consciousness there was developed first a peculiar theology, then a special churchorder, and then a given form for political and social life, for the interpretation of the moral world-order.”48 But before this form can be reified, Kuyper asserted that the worldview of the socially and spiritually destructive effects of modernity with its liberal theology must be challenged to reveal its lethal and moral flaws, including errors in religious thinking: “[T]he worldview of Modernism, with its starting-point in the French Revolution, can claim no higher privilege than that of presenting an atheistic imitation of the brilliant ideal proclaimed by Calvinism, therefore being unqualified for the honor of leading us higher on.”49 Kuyper claimed that contemporary non-Calvinist Protestant theology, swayed by Enlightenment rationalism, had bartered its Christian inheritance of the Reformation for the “shifting hypothesis” of ancient Greek philosophy and modern science; consequently, “in so far as it ventured upon a systematized and strictly logical life-view it did not reach forward, but backward, to that heathen wisdom of pre-Christian times.”50 However, he credited “the writings of Aristotle [as] the first incentive to renewed though rather deficient study.”51 Nonetheless, as a result of their deficient studies, pre-Reformation Roman Catholic theologians still faltered in their attempts to explicate accurately the doctrines and beliefs of Christianity. As Kuyper announced, “Calvinism claims to embody the Christian idea more purely and accurately than could Romanism and Lutheranism.”52 Kuyper argued that only a return “to that turning-point in history, and in the development of humanity which was reached in the Reformation” can the fallacious principles of modernity be confronted—“principle over against principle, the worldview over against worldview”—to restore the true “Christian Heritage.”53 This return, he maintained, is “equivalent to a return to Calvinism. There is no choice here.”54 As he engaged the moral content and universal reach of Calvinist theology, Kuyper ultimately argued for the necessary existence though not self-existent status of Calvinism as a worldview.55 The value and credibility of any acceptable moral theology or political philosophy, then, must be contingent upon the Calvinist worldview. Nevertheless, Kuyper also realized that restoration efforts would not come easily: “This is the struggle in Europe, this is the struggle in America.”56 Not only politically in public policy formation but educationally in doctrinal and practical theology, he also sought to revitalize the Christian

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heritage of Calvinism in public and private schools.57 Thus, Kuyper’s political theology incorporated Calvin’s interpretation of New Testament references to the kingdom of God, which demanded that Christians bring all aspects of temporal life, including politics and public education, under the reign and lordship of Jesus Christ. Kuyper’s contribution to strengthening the teleological premise and structure of the Reformed biblical worldview—by promoting a political culture that encourages activism in the public square and reliance on Calvinist Christianity to shape modern culture—has proven pivotal in the rise of Christian political activism in America in the late twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.58 In fact, the intellectual rigor of Kuyper’s Reformed theology has been recognized as having laid the groundwork for the only twentieth-century Protestant theology that has approached “the intellectual depth, breadth, and sanctity of neoThomism.”59 Kuyper’s writings have influenced generations of influential theologians, including Cornelius Van Til, who further enhanced the biblical worldview’s theological development, including incorporation of an epistemological framework to challenge the epistemic foundation of American political architecture.60 The more influential contribution that augments Kuyper’s neoCalvinism is Van Til’s apologetics, which is predicated upon a presuppositional epistemology that now informs the Reformed tradition’s biblical worldview. Building on and expanding the apologetics of Calvin and Kuyper, Van Til proclaimed that the intent of Christian “apologetics is the vindication of the Christian philosophy of life against the various forms of the non-Christian philosophy of life.”61 To initiate the vindication process, the Christian philosophy of life must begin with certain presuppositions: “To argue by presupposition is to indicate what are the epistemological and metaphysical principles that underlie and control one’s method.”62 All epistemological and metaphysical attempts to understand the world must begin with the presupposition that the Bible is universally comprehensive and inerrant. Thus, he began, “To begin with then I take what the Bible says about God and his relation to the universe as unquestionably true on its own authority.”63 That is, the Bible must serve as both the point of departure and the source of unity for apprehending God’s will as well as understanding the physical structure and moral essence of the universe. Intertwined with the theological presupposition of the primacy and inerrancy of the Bible, Van Til identified four existential presuppositions:

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God exists; all of creation reveals God’s handiwork; the divine seed of religion is sown in each individual; and all individuals are capable of grasping God’s plan of salvation as revealed in scripture.64 In fact, he maintained that God has revealed his will and plan to humankind, both in all of nature that surrounds the individual and within the individual.65 With these theological and existential presuppositions, Christian apologetics can demonstrate that “there is absolutely certain proof for the existence of God and the truth of Christian theism.”66 Moreover, any other epistemological claims, including those emanating from disciplines of science, history, or logic, may be legitimate if—and only if—they presuppose the veracity of the Bible itself as the initially indemonstrable premise from which all arguments must logically and demonstratively infer their conclusions.67 If scientific, historical, or logical arguments are not initially premised on the inerrancy of the universal principles taught in biblical scriptures, their findings and conclusions, whether tentative or final, are not admissible to the body of knowledge about the world. Consequently, only the epistemological framework of the biblical worldview, concluded Van Til, is capable of revealing the coherence and unity of all human knowledge and experience.68 In addition, the application of Kuyper’s neo-Calvinism and Van Til’s presuppositional apologetics seeks not only to challenge the forms of the non-Christian philosophy of life as defended by the epistemic foundation of the religious axis, but to reconstruct Christianity itself. In fact, their Christian Reconstructionism is driven by a postmillennial evangelical-political imperative within the biblical worldview. This imperative demands that the Gospel be taken to all peoples worldwide and that all societies be transformed to align with biblical laws, as necessary conditions for the Second Advent of Christ to fulfill biblical prophecy.69 Thus, the universal presupposition of the inerrancy and universal necessity of the Bible normatively applies to all economic, cultural, educational, and political institutions. The laws and policies of American institutions today must be predicated on the Ten Commandments and the 613 case laws derived from the Decalogue found in the Pentateuch, as America’s Puritan forebears had so understood. In fact, in any society that has been properly reconstructed, “the Bible [would be] the basic constitution.”70 Contemporary evangelical Protestants whose biblical worldviews align with the Reformed biblical worldview have “retained Puritans’ and Anglicans’ mandate for ensuring morality prevailed in society…. [Historically,] evangelicals never envisioned the United States as a secular society.”71

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Other religious conservatives who have also adopted Van Til’s apologetics advocate that “Christians should seek to challenge other views at the presuppositional level.”72 Specifically, in order to challenge the logical rationale of American political architecture’s containment structure, the presuppositions or basic premises of any non-Christian worldview or nonbiblical epistemological framework, including the epistemic foundation, must be confronted with alternative arguments originating only from within the Christian Reconstructionist biblical worldview. In confrontation with the philosophical foundations of the religious axis, religious advocates of Calvinist Christianity’s biblical worldview promulgate a competing set of presuppositions to promote their comprehension of the proper relationship between church and state as well as to extend the reach of conservative evangelical religion into politics. These efforts include attempts to improve the direction of public education policy, including the use of the Bible in public schools. And, yet, despite general agreement in American society of the value of and desire for the Bible to be included in the curricula of the public schools, general agreement on the content and implementation of Bible literacy programs has yet to be achieved throughout the United States. Due to this failure, conservative evangelicals and other religious conservatives have become increasingly critical of the politics emanating from political institutions designed by the political architects of the American republic. They perceive the structure as continually disregarding if not discriminating both politically and legally against Christian beliefs and presence in the public square. They fault the containment structure’s moral acquiescence as the culture of civil society gradually coarsens due to the unchecked growth of moral licentiousness and depravity. Moreover, they attribute their dissatisfaction to the ruinous impact of cultural values, politics, and policies that have relied on the epistemic foundation of the religious axis whose inductive methods have undermined popular acceptance of biblical presuppositions that had served as universal moral premises during centuries of social and political expectations predicated on Christian demonstrative arguments. Increasingly, religious critics profess a “biblical worldview [that] is based on the infallible Word of God,” whose absolute truth has been “defined by the Bible.”73 If the Bible is inerrant, its moral teachings apply comprehensively across all facets of life. Thus, they proclaim, it must serve as the foundation of everything said and done in “every area of life: from

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philosophy to science, theology and anthropology to economics, law, politics, art and social order—everything.” They have returned to the earlier path more-travelled that had first approached the fork in the road.

Back to the Bible In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, colonial education laws had typically relied on the King James Version of the Bible for purposes of Christian religious literacy, moral education, and standardization of the English language.74 Nevertheless, with the growth of predominantly Protestant sects with their increasingly varied biblical interpretations, policy disputes over the instructional content of religious doctrines were commonplace throughout the American colonies. Moreover, the place of religion itself in the public square became more unsettled with the revolutionary founding of the secular American republic in the late eighteenth century. As the founders of the republic attempted to clarify the relationship, if any, between church and state in the new national government, they also debated not only the place of the Bible in education but claims of the Bible’s inspired veracity.75 During the Federal Convention of 1787, the delegates who represented 12 of the 13 newly independent states produced and proposed a constitution devoid of any references to Christianity in particular and religion in general, other than one prohibition in Article VI: “[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Nevertheless, the proposed constitution’s structure of dual federalism between the national government and the state governments implied the likelihood of resistance of the state governments if the national government were to attempt to apply national standards to resolve church-state conflicts. Consequently, proponents and opponents before and during the state ratifying conventions debated the adequacy of the constitution’s federal structure without additional safeguards. In particular, opponents doubted the structure’s ability to limit the reach of congressional legislative authority into state and local politics. The Anti-Federalists who opposed ratification of the secular-oriented constitution feared that, if ratified, the national government’s authority would indeed impinge on many of the implied police powers of the states to regulate their internal affairs, including religious matters. To assuage their fears, the Federalist proponents promised—through the proposed constitution’s amending process

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in exchange for support of ratification—to address their concerns regarding the potential for abuse by the Congress vis-à-vis each state’s authority over religion.76 After ratification of the US Constitution in 1788 and the instauration of the new national government in 1789, 10 of 12 congressionally proposed amendments to the Constitution—the Bill of Rights—were ratified by the states in 1791. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights contained two clauses—the establishment clause and the free exercise clause— that attempted to address the Anti-Federalists’ church-state concerns. The first clause—“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”—prohibited the national or federal government from disestablishing any establishments of religion in the states. At the time of ratification of the Bill of Rights, four states had “an establishment of religion.” Thus, the states would be shielded from any efforts by Congress to stay their collusion between church and state.77 Such collusion had typically taken the form of general assessments or public taxation to provide appropriations for specific religious denominations over others. During the next four decades, due to increasingly divisive state politics of religious pluralism, three of the four states disestablished their state religions. In 1833, the last state with an establishment of religion—Massachusetts—disestablished Congregationalism as its formal state religion.78 Similar in purpose and also supportive of the dual-federalist structure of governance contained in the Constitution, the First Amendment’s second clause—“[Congress shall make no law] prohibiting the free exercise thereof [religion]”—prohibited the federal government from enacting legislation to prohibit religious practices in the states. However, as with the establishment clause, the Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights also left the states’ police powers intact, stating, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Thus, the First and Tenth amendments’ prohibitions on congressional authority reinforced the constitutional expectations of dual federalism. They protected the authority of state legislatures to enact limitations on the free exercise of religion as well as implement other policies of state-wide or local religious concern, including authorization of the curricular content and pedagogical methods of religious education in the public schools. In the nineteenth century, one of the more incendiary issues that lit the fires of faith in the public square centered on the use of the Bible in common or public schools.79 State education leaders generally supported

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mandatory reading of the Bible, but primarily as a source of moral instruction found in the Bible’s religious teachings, which they believed would be of value to society. The knotty problem of how to distinguish between religious doctrine and moral teachings proved to be unmanageably tangled. As substantial waves of immigrants from Catholic countries settled in America, sectarian debates increasingly erupted—frequently followed by violence—over which Bible to use and how to use it in the public schools. And, once again, the nation was forced to confront the issue of limits regarding the relationship between church and state, as state legislatures struggled to find a compromise between those who promoted the use of the Protestant Bible for moral instruction and those who perceived its use as a surreptitious method of religious instruction to undermine Catholic doctrines, beliefs, and faith. Deliberations to resolve numerous and difficult religious issues of the tangled threads increasingly provoked Protestant versus Catholic disputes. Confounded religious issues included which version—King James or Douay—of the Bible to read; disputes over acceptable interpretations of scripture as well as competing doctrines of religion, Christianity, and sectarianism; presentation of select teachings of the Bible as pertinent for moral education, but without scriptural commentary; funding teacher training on appropriate techniques to present the content of the Bible; limiting the Bible to a simple exercise either at the beginning or the end of the school day; and potential for trivialization of the Bible, which may leave students with the perception of truth as relative; among many other issues.80 Moreover, in addition to the ongoing internecine policy conflicts among Christians, new waves of immigrants to the United States gradually began to reflect in civil society non-Christian religions with additional sets of concerns regarding the place, if any, of the Bible in public schools. The developing multifaceted character of American religious pluralism— rather than contribute to the unraveling of incompatible religious prejudices or preferences—tightened further the biblical knot.81 Consequently, “defining a place for religion [in public schools] became an enterprise more marked by confusion than clarity.” To dampen the growing conflict that diminished prospects of finding common ground, a few state and local governments prohibited altogether the inclusion of the Bible in the curricula of their public schools. Illustrative of this church-state challenge, in the 1840s New York City’s public schools had provided funding for the use of Protestant Bibles along

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with Protestant religious and moral interpretations. However, as tensions and conflicts increased, the two major Christian traditions were unable to agree upon a generic form of Christian ethics as the basis of moral instruction. The New York state legislature consequently eliminated funding for religious education in all public schools.82 Similarly, after the “Bible War” of 1869–1873, the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education in Ohio removed Bible reading and religious instruction from the curriculum of the city’s public schools to avoid sectarian conflict.83 As challenges to the use of the Bible in other states emerged, more public school systems elected to remove the Bible from their curricula, which many religious proponents of maintaining the Bible’s presence perceived as the school systems having succumbed to the secularization of society.84

US Supreme Court Throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century, state policies that mandated or prohibited the use of biblical instruction were not uniform across the United States and never became a nationally universal practice. Moreover, policy conflicts over inclusion of the Bible as well as religious versus secular curricula in the public schools increasingly spilled over into litigation in the courts. The US Supreme Court gradually began reviewing decisions appealed from lower courts that had attempted to adjudicate disputes regarding the limits of religious establishment and freedom of religious expression, emanating from challenges to state laws and policies.85 More importantly, as the Supreme Court reviewed conflicting decisions of the lower courts, it searched for a means to nationalize its final interpretations. Of particular interest to the Court was the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which stated, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” By the mid-twentieth century, the US Supreme Court had rendered decisions in two landmark cases—Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940) and Everson v. Board of Education (1947)—that effectively incorporated the establishment clause and the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, respectively, into the Fourteenth Amendment via its due process clause

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for application to the states. During the ensuing seven decades, the Supreme Court’s incorporation doctrine has served as a constitutional vehicle to gradually edge its precedent-setting interpretations of the religion clauses toward their nationalization when adjudicating interpretive legal challenges to church-state policies of state and local governments.86 In a case that contributed in a major way to the US Supreme Court’s drift toward nationalization with regard to the constitutional legitimacy of the Bible’s use in public education—Abington School District v. Schempp (1963)—the Supreme Court rendered a decision in which it found that Bible readings in the states’ public schools “and the laws requiring them are unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.”87 In reference to the Supreme Court’s previous decision in Engel v. Vitale (1962), the Court’s decision in the Schempp case declared that “[w]hen government, the Court said, allies itself with one particular form of religion, the inevitable result is that it incurs ‘the hatred, disrespect and even contempt of those who held contrary beliefs.’”88 Anticipating that critics of the Supreme Court would view the Schempp decision as an attempt to remove completely state-mandated Bible readings from public schools in order to replace Christianity with a “religion of secularism,” the Court also affirmed that “[n]othing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.”89 The Court further suggested that a constitutionally approved curriculum for such a program would likely include comparative studies of biblical themes alongside scriptural themes of other religions, appreciation of the Bible itself as a work of literature, or recognition of the historic importance of the Bible’s influence in the social sciences and the humanities.90 In any event, the Supreme Court proclaimed, “In the relationship between man and religion, the State is firmly committed to a position of neutrality.”91 Nonetheless, public outrage ensued among conservative evangelical Christians and other political conservatives in the 1960s who perceived, albeit inaccurately, that the Bible had been “banned” by the US Supreme Court from the nation’s public schools. Affronted by the Supreme Court’s decisions on this and other cases, critics have continued to question the possibility as well as desirability of state neutrality under the containment structure of American political architecture. They call attention to the fact that well into the twenty-first century, 48% of Americans use the Bible on their own outside of church service.92 With regard

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to religious teachings and the Bible, 77% of American adults believe that there has been a decline in the “values and morals of America,” for which 32% attribute the decline “to a lack of Bible reading.”93 Furthermore, 66% believe that “public schools should teach values found in the Bible.” With the general public’s approbation of the Bible’s efficacy in American society, the Supreme Court’s decisions have fanned the flames of further resistance from conservative evangelicals and their allies to the political reach of the secular state. The politically intense conflict over public policies and court decisions for their adverse impact on the moral basis of American culture has incited a “culture war between highly religious citizens and secular citizens,” despite the complexity of the policy issues themselves.94 The dream of returning America to its origins as a Christian commonwealth according to “the biblical basis upon which America was founded” has inspired the efforts of conservative adherents of diverse denominations and sects of the religious right in American politics.95 To keep the dream alive, religious resistance attacks federal court decisions that have neglected the beneficial and necessary effects that religion provides in forming a virtuous citizenry. Motivated by its biblical worldview with the evangelical imperative to expand the legal and policy reach of its religious presence into American society, the resistance has aggressively demanded policy clarification as well as legally challenged the constitutionality of lines of demarcation between church and state set by the containment structure of American political architecture. Moreover, with regard to biblical literacy programs, it has actively lobbied public school boards in every state to restore biblical literacy programs to the classroom. Efforts of conservative Christians to influence public education policy have generally focused on two approaches: “deinstitutionalization or re-Christianization” of public school systems.96 Through deinstitutionalization, they seek to encourage state legislatures to augment if not replace public schools with private religious schools, charter schools, homeschooling, or educational vouchers to undermine the role that public schools play in American society as “a cultural and political institution.” While faced with the continued existence of public schools, the re-Christianization approach encourages school boards to return previously “state-sponsored religious practices” to the classroom. In both approaches, they stipulate, the Bible must continue to play a role in educating the youth, in order to reconstruct American society and restore the United States to its historic promise as “a city upon a hill.”

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As they develop and promulgate moral arguments in support of restoring the Bible to its rightful place in public schools, evangelicals have increasingly depended on the biblical worldview of the Reformed religious tradition that animated the seventeenth-century Puritans as well as Protestants generally throughout the nineteenth century to shape the religious beliefs and moral values of American society, especially with regard to the crucial role of the Bible. Moreover, the neo-Calvinist critique stemming from the turn of the nineteenth to twentieth centuries has become embedded in the religious thinking of conservative evangelicals, such that the idea of a Christian America has become essential to their beliefs. Contemporary Reformed theologians posit that the US Supreme Court justices have neglected the Christian-endowed normative core of the American republic and instead relied on “philosophical atheism” of the secular worldview to guide their decision-making; consequently, some assert, “Our nation’s morality isn’t being destroyed by activist judges—it is being destroyed by atheist judges.”97 With regard to re-Christianization, evangelical resisters have realized that the primary focus of their efforts to countervail the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Schempp case lies both theologically in the Reformed biblical worldview and, ironically, in the Supreme Court’s decision itself. The Court had provided an opening not only for the reintroduction of the Bible into the public schools but also the potential inclusion of both a narrowly restrictive interpretation of Christianity in the formative history of the American republic and the religious teachings that may potentially promote a particular denominational or sectarian point of view. To do so, a burgeoning industry of religious advocacy and publishing organizations has developed and promoted Reformed theological justifications and political strategies to contribute to the restoration of the presence of Christianity in civil society via the return of the Bible and its evangelical teachings to the public schools.

Back to the Classroom Inasmuch as the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Schempp case approved the offering of elective classes on the Bible as an historic document of literature in public schools, in the 1990s conservative evangelicals as well as secular organizations began disseminating curricula to improve the biblical literacy of high school students.98 While secular organizations have criticized the “religious programs [of re-Christianization] … [that

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do] not convey the information regarding religion that is essential to making informed policy choices,” evangelical organizations have reproved those public schools that adopt secular, biblical literacy curricula for being “hostile to religion.”99 The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, one of the more active faith-based organizations, has developed and promoted a set of biblical literacy curricula to re-Christianize the public schools. As a result of the secularization of the public schools, the National Council asserts, “There has been a great social regression since the Bible was removed from our schools. We need to refer to the original documents that inspired Americanism and our religious heritage.”100 The National Council’s curricula incorporate a revisionist history of the United States that narrowly focuses on the role of religion in the founding of the American republic in exclusion of other influences, such as civic republicanism and Enlightenment rationalism. According to the National Council, “The Bible was the foundation and blueprint for our Constitution, Declaration of Independence, our educational system, and our entire history until the last 20 to 30 years.”101 The essential question in disputes between advocates of both faithbased and secular biblical curricula that have been approved by the courts and those that have been denied has ultimately fallen on a legal-linguistic interpretation of two crucial words in a key phrase in the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Schempp case: “It certainly may be said the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities.”102 The interpretative question centers on the denotation of “historic qualities” of the Bible: Should the Bible be presented “as historical fact [or] as an historical artifact”?103 On the one hand, if the Bible’s religious stories are presented as historical fact, the presentation will necessarily lend support to religious confession of the preeminence of the Christian faith. On the other hand, if the stories are presented as historical artifacts, the presentation will necessarily be religiously neutral, objective, and scientific in discussing them as of uncertain providence, intent, and value. To avoid costly legal challenges or maintain the neutrality of the state, public school boards and judicial courts have tended to side with those inferential arguments that interpret the US Supreme Court’s narrative as framing the Bible as a historical artifact, and thereby offer a constitutionally legitimate measure for adjudging the suitability of biblical literacy curricula for use in public schools. Given this interpretation of the Schempp decision, biblical literacy curricula that propose that the Bible be

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taught as historical fact rather than as an historical artifact, such as those of the National Council, appear to reveal a misreading of the intent of the Supreme Court’s decision. The epistemic foundation of the containment structure of the American republic was designed to contain but not extinguish the potentially destructive fires of faith of Thomas Hobbes’s plague. While containing the fires, the architectural design also sought to retain the beneficial properties of the plague’s innovative contributions in natural philosophy, religious diversity, and individual autonomy, all of which had paradoxically triggered the outbreak of the plague in the first place. Contemporary biblical worldviews that have incorporated the framework of Reformed political theology disseminate belief in the Bible as the irreplaceable presuppositional source of personal morality and civic virtue. To address the immoral and unvirtuous character of American civil society and culture, educational outreach efforts and political activism of conservative evangelicals who adopt this worldview increasingly challenge the legitimacy of the epistemic foundation of the religious axis. The extent to which the foundation is weakened in turn progressively threatens to undermine the logical rationale of the containment structure of American political architecture, which paradoxically has provided the very political framework that permits and protects the pursuit of their political-theological objectives.

Notes 1. This introductory section and the following section were first sketched in John R. Pottenger, Reaping the Whirlwind: Liberal Democracy and the Religious Axis (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2007). 2. “Letter from Pope Gelasius I to Emperor Anastasius, 494,” in Brian Tierney, The Crisis of Church and State: 1050–1300, with Selected Documents, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1964), 13. 3. Ibid., 13–14. 4. Roland H. Bainton, Christendom: A Short History of Christianity and Its Impact on Western Civilization (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), 111– 12; and Alfred R. Bellinger, “The Text of Gaius’ Institutes and Justinian’s Corpus,” American Journal of Philology 70 (1949): 400, 402. 5. Alan Cottrell, “Auctoritas and Potestas: A Reevaluation of the Correspondence of Gelasius I on Papal-Imperial Relations,” Medieval Studies 55 (1993): 95–96. 6. F. W. Maitland, Select Passages from the Works of Bracton and Azo (London: Selden Society, 1895). 7. Goldwin Smith, A Constitutional and Legal History of England (New York: Dorset Press, 1990), 205.

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8. Charles M. Whelan, “The ‘Higher Law’ Doctrine in Bracton and St. Thomas,” The Catholic Lawyer 8, no. 3 (Summer 1962): 221. 9. Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 226 (1963). 10. Whelan, “The ‘Higher Law’ Doctrine,” 223. 11. Henry de Bracton, On the Laws and Customs of England, trans. Samuel E. Thorne (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968), 2:25. 12. Ibid., 24, 26. 13. Ibid., 25 (emphasis original). 14. Ibid., 22. 15. Ibid., 29; relatedly, Bracton justifies slavery, 40–41. 16. The following discussion was first sketched in John R. Pottenger, “Averroes and Medieval Rationalism: Toward Religious Pluralism of the Modern Era,” in The Pilgrimage of Philosophy: A Festschrift for Charles E. Butterworth, ed. René M. Paddags, Waseem El-Rayes, and Gregory A. McGrayer (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press, 2019). 17. Ibn Khaldûn, The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, trans. Franz Rosenthal and abridged and ed. N. J. Dawood (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967), 348–75. 18. Ibid., 374. 19. Ibid., 374, cf. 352. 20. Averroes, John Buridan, and Thomas Aquinas are certainly not exclusive to this liminal period, but are indicative of a very few of the principal writers, including Peter Abelard, Petrus Aureolus, Giles of Rome, Albertus Magnus, Maimonides, William of Ockham, and Duns Scotus, among others. 21. James Waltz, “Muhammad and the Muslims in St. Thomas Aquinas,” The Muslim World 66, no. 2 (April 1976): 87–89. 22. Quotations (with original emphases) from Aristotle’s Organon are found in Aristotle: Selected Works, trans. Hippocrates G. Apostle and Lloyd P. Gerson (Grinnell, IA: The Peripatetic Press, 1983). 23. Averroes, Decisive Treatise, in Decisive Treatise and Epistle Dedicatory, trans. Charles E. Butterworth (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002), 3. 24. Ibid., 5. 25. Ibid., 13. 26. Idem, 1. Averroes, Short Commentary on Aristotle’s “Topics”, in Averroes’s Three Short Commentaries on Aristotle’s “Topics,” “Rhetoric,” and “Poetics, trans. Charles E. Butterworth (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1977), 50. 27. Ibid., 48. 28. Ibid., 49. 29. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Posterior Analytics of Aristotle, trans. Fabian R. Larcher, O.P. (Albany: Magi Books, 1970), book

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30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

36. 37. 38. 39.

40. 41.

42. 43.

44.

45.

46.

47. 48. 49.

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I, lecture 30, http://dhspriory.org/thomas/english/PostAnalytica.htm# 220/ (accessed January 8, 2017). Ibid., book II, lecture 20. John Buridan, Summulae de Dialectica, trans. Gyula Klima (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 5.1.3, p. 708. Ibid., 708–9. Ibid., 709. Ibid., 6.1.4, p. 396. Idem, Quaestiones in Aristotelis Metaphysicam: Kommentar zur Aristotelischen Metaphysik, bk. 2, q. 1, trans. Gyula Klima, in Medieval Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary, ed. Gyula Klima (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007), 144. Ibid., 145–46. Idem, Summulae de Dialectica, 308. Pottenger, Reaping the Whirlwind, 72–73. Geoffrey R. Stone, “The Second Great Awakening: A Christian Nation?,” Georgia State University Law Review 26 (Summer 2010): 1314–30. Ibid., 1589. Clément Vidal, “Wat is een wereldbeeld? (What Is a Worldview?),” in Nieuwheid denken: De wetenschappen en het creatieve aspect van de werkelijkheid, ed. Jan Van der Veken and Hubert Van Belle (Leuven, Belgium: Acco Publishing, 2008). English version at: http://cogprints.org/ 6094/ (accessed July 19, 2018). Richard Kyle, Evangelicalism: An Americanized Christianity (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2006), 134. Albert M. Wolters, “On the Idea of Worldview and Its Relation to Philosophy,” in Stained Glass: Worldviews and Social Science, ed. Paul A. Marshall, Sander Griffioen, and Richard J. Mouw (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1989), 14. David C. Gibbs, III, “A Christian America?,” in Judicial Tyranny: The New Kings of America?, ed. Mark I. Sutherland (St. Louis: Amerisearch, 2005), 38. Eric Gregory, “Christianity and the Rise of the Democratic State,” Political Theology for a Plural Age, ed. Michael Jon Kessler (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 101. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1989), bk. 4, ch. 20, para. 1, p. 651. Ibid., bk. 4, ch. 20, para. 2, p. 652. Abraham Kuyper, Calvinism: Six Stone Foundation Lectures (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1943), 17. Ibid., 41.

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50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69.

70.

71. 72.

73.

74.

Ibid., 186–87. Ibid., 118. Ibid., 17. Ibid., 190, 191. Ibid., 11. Wolters, “On the Idea of Worldview,” 16, 21. Kuyper, Calvinism, 11. Dirk Jellema, “Abraham Kuyper’s Attack on Liberalism,” Review of Politics 19, no. 4 (October 1957), 476–77. Wolters, “On the Idea of Worldview,” 20. Mark A. Noll, The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2002), 248–49. Other theologians influenced by Kuyper include Herman Dooyeweerd and D. H. T. Vollenhoven. Cornelius Van Til, Christian Apologetics, 2nd ed., ed. William Edgar (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2003), 17. Ibid., 128. Idem, The Defense of the Faith, 3rd ed. (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1967), 195. Ibid., 152, 196. Ibid., 152. Idem, Christian Apologetics, 133–34. Idem, Defense of the Faith, 226. Idem, Christian Apologetics, 150. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., “Postmillennialism,” in Three Views of Millennialism and Beyond, ed. Darrell L. Bock (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999), 16, 23, 26–27. Greg Scott Smith, “Introduction to Theonomy,” in God and Politics: Four Views of the Reformation of Civil Government, ed. Smith (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1989), 18. Seth Dowland, Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 13. Greg Scott Smith, “Introduction,” in God and Politics: Four Views of the Reformation of Civil Government, ed. Smith (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1989), 13. Del Tackett, “What’s a Christian Worldview?,” Focus on the Family, https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/christian-worldview/ whats-a-christian-worldview/whats-a-worldview-anyway/ (accessed June 17, 2018). Daniel L. Dreisbach, “A Handbook for Citizenship? The American Founders Debate the Bible’s Use in Public Schools,” in Curriculum and the Culture Wars: Debating the Bible’s Place in Public Schools, ed. Melissa

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75. 76. 77.

78. 79.

80.

81. 82. 83.

84. 85.

86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92.

93.

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Deckman and Joseph Prud’Homme (New York: Peter Lang, 2014), 9– 13, 19. Ibid., 13–15. Robert Allen Rutland, The Birth of the Bill of Rights, 1776–1791 (New York: Collier Books, 1969), 174–75. Stephen L. Carter, The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion (New York: Anchor Books, 1994), 105, 107, 116, 188. Richard B. Dierenfield, Religion in American Public Schools (Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press, 1962), 9. More detailed discussion can be found in John R. Pottenger, “Millennial Groups and American Pluralism,” in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S., ed. Barbara A. McGraw (Chichester, UK: Wiley, 2016): 115–16. R. Laurence Moore, “Bible Reading and Nonsectarian Schooling: The Failure of Religious Instruction in Nineteenth-Century Public Education,” Journal of American History 86, no. 4 (March 2000): 1589–90. Ibid., 1594–95. Stephen Prothero, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—And Doesn’t (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), 96–98. Steven K. Green, The Bible, the School, and the Constitution: The Clash That Shaped Modern Church-State Doctrine (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 96–104. Moore, “Bible Reading and Nonsectarian Schooling,” 1582–84. For a list of cases, see John Witte, Jr. and Joel A. Nichols, Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment, 3rd ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2011), Appendix 3, 306–9. Ibid., 122–27. Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 205 (1963). Ibid., 221–22, for reference to the Supreme Court’s decision in Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962). Ibid., 210. Ibid., 300. Ibid., 226. Barna Group, “State of the Bible 2018: Seven Top Findings,” Research Releases in Faith & Christianity, July 10, 2018, https://www.barna. com/research/state-of-the-bible-2018-seven-top-findings/ (accessed July 29, 2018). Bara Group, “What Do Americans Really Think About the Bible?,” Research Releases in Culture & Media, April 10, 2013, https://www. barna.com/research/what-do-americans-really-think-about-the-bible/ (accessed July 29, 2018).

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94. Clyde Wilcox and Karen Larson, Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics, 3rd ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2006), 22. 95. Gibbs, III, “Christian America?,” 43. 96. Catherine A. Lugg, “The Christian Right: A Cultivated Collection of Interest Groups,” Educational Policy 15, no. 1 (January 2001): 46. 97. Rick Scarborough, “Judicial Atheism: Separation of God and State,” in Judicial Tyranny: The New Kings of America?, ed. Mark I. Sutherland (St. Louis: Amerisearch, 2005), 65. 98. Melissa Deckman, “Religious Literacy in Public Schools: Teaching the Bible in America’s Classrooms,” in Curriculum and the Culture Wars: Debating the Bible’s Place in Public Schools, ed. Deckman and Joseph Prud’Homme (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2014), 34–36. 99. Jay D. Wexler, “Too Much, Too Little: Religion in the Public Schools,” University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class 6, no. 1 (2006): 108–9. 100. National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, http://www. bibleinschools.net/Is-this-Legal.php/ (accessed July 1, 2018). 101. Ibid. 102. Schempp, 225 (emphasis added). 103. Lugg, “Christian Right,” 44, 48.

CHAPTER 5

Axiological Foundation: Emancipation of Values, National Prayers, and Same-Sex Marriage

In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont visited the United States on behalf of the French government. With their official charge to study and report back on American penal practices, the pair traveled widely to become better acquainted with the country’s citizens, including their social mores, configurations of civic involvement, and political engagement. Upon their return to France, they submitted their official report on American prisons and punishment. In addition, Tocqueville and Beaumont wrote individual accounts of their travels in the United States. In 1835, the first volume of Tocqueville’s account— Democracy in America—was published; the second volume appeared in 1840. In his account, Tocqueville provided detailed reflections of his observations with extensive critical assessments and interpretations. Enthralled with the young republic’s democratic ethos and the independent spirit of its citizens, Tocqueville investigated many interrelated facets of American social life. The importance of religion—particularly Catholicism’s coexistence with the prevalence of Protestantism—as it intersected with politics and policies of American civil society engendered considerable interest. Among his many appraisals, Tocqueville acclaimed the positive results of the separation of church and state by the US Constitution. As he examined this structure, Tocqueville found that “[i]n

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the United States, Christian sects are infinitely diversified and perpetually modified.”1 Recalling Europe’s religious wars of the past, he understood the propensity of diversification of religious identity and modification of Christian beliefs and practices toward doctrinal conflict and competition for political influence. Despite the potential for similar social strife to occur in America, inasmuch as “[a]gitation and mutability are inherent in the nature of democratic republics,” Tocqueville commended the constitutional structure’s success in maintaining political stability while simultaneously promoting and protecting religious pluralism.2 While investigating further this phenomenon of religious and political stability, Tocqueville found that the peaceful presence of incompatible values that emanated from religious diversification and modification of Christianity—of which the axiological ethos of religious pluralism was comprised—had arisen from “the philosophical method of the Americans.”3 This method finds its expression “in the precepts of Descartes,” he explained, despite the fact that “Americans do not read the works of Descartes, because their social condition deters them from speculative studies; but they follow his maxims … because this same social condition naturally disposes their minds to adopt them.”4

American Philosophical Method In 1637, René Descartes published Discourse on Method, an account of his own struggle of relying solely on the logic of rational thinking to identify philosophic truths. He developed his maxims to ameliorate the discouraging aspects of his efforts. Presaging G. W. F. Hegel’s description of the construction of a new house out of building materials as an analogy for his explanation of the construction of civil society built upon each citizen’s self-interest, Descartes presented moral precepts to guide individuals who are living in society while they await its improvements as one who would patiently await the renovation of a house: “We must see that we are provided with a comfortable place to stay while the work of rebuilding is going on.”5 An intellectual space of comfort for each individual, he had discovered, would be secured if one were to adopt his precepts: “In order to live as happily as possible during the interval I prepared a provisional code of morality for myself, consisting of three or four maxims.” The four maxims of Descartes’s provisional code of morality consisted of practical advice that he found necessary in his own “search for truth.”6

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The first maxim advises obedience to society’s laws and customs, including religion, “and in all other matters to follow the most moderate and least excessive opinions to be found in the practice of the more judicious part of the community.”7 The second advises that one’s actions ought to be based on decisions thought to be the best, but “when we cannot determine the course which is certainly best, we must follow the one which is probably the best.”8 The third notes that if desirable social conditions are not present, it is advisable “to change my desires rather than the established order.”9 And the final maxim advises those who may be unsure of which vocation to pursue to take an inventory of “the various occupations possible in this life, in order to choose the best.”10 Descartes also advised that his four maxims were intended as preparation for one’s intellectual journey. That is, they were intended only to assist an individual in maintaining a certain degree of practical stability as preparation “to lay the groundwork of a philosophy more certain than [those opinions expressed in] popular belief.”11 The Americans’ serendipitous adoption of Descartes’s practical advice—whose authorship was generally unknown to them—led Tocqueville to observe that the social conditions of the American republic’s classless society—predicated on democracy, equality, and liberty—had placed Americans “on an equal footing” with each other. After all, there existed no easily identifiable public intellectual whose moral philosophy or political ethics commanded popular attention and broad-based appeal. Instead, he observed that Americans relied on “their own reason as the most obvious and proximate source of truth.”12 Although he deemed Americans unfamiliar with Descartes’s maxims, Tocqueville himself readily appreciated the values of the Enlightenment to which Descartes had contributed and upon which the creation of the American republic had been founded. Tocqueville traced the rationale for Descartes’s maxims to Francis Bacon’s new scientific methodology of the seventeenth century. Bacon had developed his methodology in the century after Martin Luther had disentangled religious beliefs and values from medieval scholasticism’s reliance on Aristotelian epistemology of the thirteenth century.13 These axial moments ultimately provided the necessary conditions for severing the bond between natural philosophy and theological speculation of the medieval era, within the second philosophical foundation of axiological considerations of the religious axis.

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Disentangling Religious Values As the intellectual link between Greek thought and Christian theology, the Islamic intellectual tradition had predisposed Latin Europe for the emergence and development of a theoretical nexus—via the inductive turn—between Aristotelian analytical philosophy and modern natural philosophy. The epistemic foundation rooted in Averroes’s commentaries on Aristotelian rationalism and justification of inductive logic with its incorporation by Thomas Aquinas and further modification by John Buridan generated acclaim among natural philosophers as the modern era dawned. “In the sixteenth century,” Tocqueville noted, “[Christian theologians and] reformers subjected some of the dogmas of the ancient faith to scrutiny of private judgment.”14 Specifically, he referred to Martin Luther’s attempts to instigate reformation of official Christian practices and removal of errant religious beliefs. Indeed, Luther’s efforts had ignited a firestorm of religious speculation on the possibility of identifying improved and more accurate interpretations of the meanings of divine scriptures and appropriate religious duties. From the nailing of the Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg in 1517 to the ecclesiastical stalemate between Protestants and Roman Catholics of the 1550s, his theological writings dominated attempts to reform the universal Christian church.15 John Foxe, an active participant in and chronicler of the Protestant Reformation, stated that Luther “desired none other of them, than a reformation according to the sacred Word of God, and consonancy of Holy Scriptures.”16 The influence of Luther’s critique of the Roman Catholic Church was two-pronged: practical and theological. Regarding officially approved Christian practices, his criticisms ultimately contributed to the de facto reduction of the Catholic Church’s monopoly of sanctioned rituals related to official teachings. Among his abandonment of numerous church teachings, including his rejection of papal and ecclesiastical infallibility, Luther argued that the ontological status of the Christian church itself should not be understood only as a divinely ordained, ecclesiastical structure. In An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, he asserted that the church would be more properly envisaged if it were understood as the collective communion of “all Christians [who] are truly of the ‘spiritual estate.’”17 That is, those who accept the Word of God in fact comprised a priesthood of all believers. In this way, Luther’s concept of priesthood had interchanged the believer’s spiritual reliance

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on the formal ecclesiastical structure of the church with personal responsibility for one’s own salvation. Moreover, in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Luther further asserted that personal responsibility for one’s own salvation presupposes an innate presence of religious liberty: “Neither pope nor bishop nor any other man has the right to impose a single syllable of law upon a Christian man without his consent; if he does, it is done in the spirit of tyranny…. I lift my voice simply on behalf of liberty and conscience, and I confidently cry: No law, whether of men or of angels, may rightfully be imposed upon Christians without their consent, for we are free of all laws.”18 In his public complaints that the practical effects of the Roman Catholic Church’s framework were undermining and restraining the liberty of conscience necessary for believers to confess and practice a genuine and authentic faith, Luther had encouraged a potentially infinite diversification and modification of religious beliefs and practices, which Tocqueville feared would result in social upheaval absent a political structure to contain it. Interrelated with the practical prong of his critique, in the Letter to the Christian Nobility, Luther’s other prong of theology denounced Catholicism’s reliance on the medieval scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas with its incorporation of Aristotelian rationalism. He asserted that Thomistic theology had incorporated Aristotelian natural philosophy via the keystone of Averroes’s commentaries to defend and explicate the doctrines and dogma of Christianity.19 As a result, scholastic theology had left the church in the position of promoting good works over salvation by grace alone, for which promotion Luther found no scriptural support nor acceptable justification in Aristotle’s Ethics : “[Aristotle’s] book on Ethics is the worst of all books. It flatly opposes divine grace and all Christian virtues, and yet it is considered one of his best works…. I know my Aristotle as well as you or the likes of you. I have lectured on him and heard lectures on him, and I understand him better than do St. Thomas or Scotus.”20 While Luther approved of Aristotle’s books on Logic, Rhetoric, and Poetics —as long as they were read without the assistance of scholarly commentaries—he strongly recommended that Aristotle’s Ethics , Physics , Metaphysics , and On the Soul be banned from study in the universities: “[Aristotle’s] books … boast of treating the things of nature, although nothing can be learned from them either of the things of nature or the things of the Spirit.”21 Indeed, stated Luther in his Disputation Against

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Scholastic Theology, “It is truly doubtful whether the Latin-speakers comprehended the correct meaning of Aristotle.”22 Luther’s disparagement of Aristotle’s rationalism, which he believed had contributed to Aquinas’s corruption of Christian doctrine, found admirers well into the next century. Thomas Hobbes, for one, commended Luther: “Luther in another place of his works said thus, School-Theology is nothing else but ignorance of the truth, and a block to stumble at, laid before the Scriptures. And of Thomas. Aquinas in particular he said, that it was he that did set up the Kingdom of Aristotle, the destroyer of godly Doctrine.”23 Reinforcing Luther’s suggestion of books of Aristotle that ought to be banned in the universities, Hobbes also denigrated the teaching of Aristotle’s Metaphysics , Ethics , and Politics in the universities, inasmuch as he perceived instruction based on these classical writings as an attempt to deceive students by substituting “Vain Philosophy, for the Light of the Gospel.”24 Luther’s criticism of medieval scholasticism of the Catholic Church undermined the church’s efforts to maintain its comprehensive and universal Thomistic theological framework, which it had proclaimed as essential to the spiritual and temporal well-being of the community of Christian believers. The consequential corrosion of popular support for Rome’s authoritative theology left an axiological vacuum that was quickly filled with disparate and muddled religious values and expectations. Paradoxically, at the core of the epistemic foundation of the religious axis, Thomistic theology had not only defended Christianity’s presuppositional final cause of the universal church, but also contributed to the development of the inductive turn, which ultimately led to Luther’s theological critique and the demise of popular approbation of that same presuppositional final cause. The historical impact of Luther’s critique as well as his own reconstruction of Christian theology broke the religious hegemony of the Catholic Church over interrelated matters of personal salvation. Perhaps inadvertently, the seeds of religious pluralism had also been planted by Luther. He had criticized papal authority and ecclesiastical structures, promulgated innovative and alternative explanations of the received scriptures, and introduced alternative religious teachings that ultimately resulted in the advent of radical individualism in the religious sphere. Independent of any necessity or expectation of abiding by restraints of final causes advocated by any moral philosophy or speculative theology of the Roman Church, Luther finally concluded in his On Secular Authority that for

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the individual believer, “How he believes is a matter for each individual’s conscience.”25 As theological and axiological speculations evolved under competing hermeneutics, individual believers were ultimately left as the final authority in identifying final causes, pioneering a path of personal salvation, and developing the content of individual morals as well as social ethics. Nevertheless, the popularity of Luther’s critique of Thomistic scholasticism—as well as similar critiques by other reformers, such as Philipp Melanchthon and John Calvin, that had also undermined incorporation of Aristotelian rationalism and natural philosophy in theological speculation—also effectively diminished if not precluded the importance of investigations into natural phenomena in Christian apologetics. In addition, emancipation of the philosophical sciences from the science of speculative theology further contributed to the following century’s expanding distance between the nascent state of modern science and theological imperatives driven by presuppositional final causes. As Tocqueville stated, “In the seventeenth century Bacon in the natural sciences and Descartes in philosophy properly so called abolished received formulas, destroyed the empire of tradition, and overthrew the authority of the schools.”26 The emergence of the revolutionary age of the new science with its groundbreaking methodologies had been prepared by the epistemological arguments of Averroes, Aquinas, and Buridan, which were crucial to the development of the new trajectory of the epistemic foundation. In its challenge to classical rationalism, the epistemic foundation amplified the potential value of inductive logic—in philosophy and theology—necessary if not yet sufficient for the eventual breakout of modern science. The new science instigated by Francis Bacon stridently opposed demonstrative reasoning of scholastic philosophy of the medieval era for its confusion of static with dynamic causes. Bacon’s arguments influenced the philosophies of science of Thomas Hobbes, René Descartes, and John Locke, among others.

New Science While acceptance of revealed final causes themselves was not completely undermined, the prevailing medieval theologies had been increasingly challenged by alternative arguments resulting from the epistemic foundation’s inductive turn during the liminal period. In later notes to enhance a future edition of Democracy in America, Tocqueville summarized the intent of Bacon’s project by referring to one of his aphorisms in Novum

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Organum of 1620: “‘The seat of human understanding,’ [Bacon] says below, ‘must be rid of all received opinions and methods, then the mind must be turned in an appropriate way toward the facts that must enlighten it; finally, when it is sufficiently prepared, these facts must be presented to it.’”27 Earlier, in 1605, in The Advancement of Learning, Bacon had presented two general criticisms of classical and medieval arguments. The first addressed the confusion that he identified in demonstrative reasoning, wherein validity and soundness were confounded. That is, validity of logical argumentation and soundness of axiological premises tended to presume the legitimacy of both, without reflection on their intellectual provenance. Bacon agreed with Aristotle’s observation regarding the role of logic when the latter stated, “Rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic; for both of them are concerned with such things which are, in a way, open to all men to know and do not come under any specific science” (Rhetoric, 1354a1) as well as “For the sciences all involve reason, and reason is to be found in the intellectual part of the soul” (Magna Moralia, 1182a17). In this sense, dialectic assists rhetorical debates only by incorporating logical reasoning in the evaluation of competing arguments, but not in confirming the ontological status of axiological premises of any argument. Bacon had perceived the necessity of a separation between logical analysis as a process and assertions of theological final causes as speculation. Echoing Aristotle as a warning to those constructing rational arguments, Bacon stated that “[l]ogic does not pretend to invent sciences, or the axioms of sciences.”28 The categories of medieval scholasticism were further reassessed. Bacon observed that the scholars “have compounded sciences chiefly of a certain resplendent or lustrous mass of matter, chosen to give glory either to the subtilty of disputations, or to the eloquence of discourses.”29 The confusion of scholastic categories had resulted from the four causes—assertions of the potential and reason for how and why something comes into existence—of classical thinking that had been identified by Aristotle (Physics , 194b17–35). Two of the four causes—material and formal—referred to the inert physical properties of an object and the particular form the object will take once the physical matter has been acted upon; the other two causes—efficient and final—referred to the efficacious dynamics by which the matter is shaped or formed and to what end or for what final purpose the object is intended to exist. Aristotle stated, “Clearly, then the investigation of all things qua things belongs to one science. Now in

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every case a science is concerned mainly with that which is first, both as that on which the others depend, and as that through which the others are named. Accordingly, if this is a substance, it is of substances that the philosopher should possess the principles and the causes” (Metaphysics , 1003b15–19). Unfortunately, proclaims Bacon, uncritical reliance by late medieval scholars on Aristotle’s analytical philosophy, which presumed the interconnectedness of the four causes, left them with only “their wits being shut up in the cells of a few authors (chiefly Aristotle their dictator).”30 Their “degenerate learning,” which presupposed the existence of final causes and precluded investigations of nature to identify those causes, resulted in misleading and inaccurate accounts of natural phenomena. Bacon determined, “therefore it is good, before we enter into the former distribution, to erect and constitute one universal science, by the name of philosophia prima, primitive or summary philosophy, as the main and common way, before we come where the ways part and divide themselves.”31 Bacon often referred to his summary philosophy as natural philosophy, which he divided into two general categories: physics and metaphysics. The category of physics “should contemplate that which is inherent in matter … in nature only a being and moving.”32 Thus, the category of physics would be responsible for investigating and addressing “the material and efficient causes.” Metaphysics would be responsible for “the formal and final causes” of nature by investigating its “reason, understanding, and platform” of existence. Metaphorically, stated Bacon, the material and efficient causes investigated by physics “carries men in narrow and restrained ways, subject to many accidents of impediments, imitating the ordinary flexuous courses of nature,” while metaphysical examinations of formal and final causes “enfranchise the power of man unto the greatest liberty and possibility of works and effects.”33 Furthermore, Bacon reinforced the limited reach of demonstrative or syllogistic arguments whose conclusions are accorded objective status despite having been deduced from the unchallenged soundness of value-laden statements as major premises. In such an argument, the major premise itself could only have emerged as a result of prior inductive thinking. And too, he pointed out, the conclusion of an inductive argument relies on premises whose corroborating evidence lends only tentative credence to their soundness. Thus, while consideration of the major premise with other minor or particular premises may inferentially arrive at a reasonable conclusion, the reasonableness of the conclusion still does not

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necessarily verify its soundness. Consequently, he asserted the caveat that recognition of the conclusion of an inductive argument as a universal truth must always be recognized as suspect given the inductive provenance of the major premise: “For to conclude upon an enumeration of particulars, without instance contradictory, is no conclusion, but a conjecture.”34 The conclusion inferred from an inductive argument can only be accepted as a conjecture for which evidence appears to offer corroboration. As a conjecture, it can never be verified as truth, but potentially it could be falsified at a later date. Consequently, according to Bacon, “the knowledge of man extend[s] only to appearances and probabilities.”35 Finally, Bacon disparaged the limitation of medieval natural philosophy and theological speculations wherein they confounded validity and soundness, stating, “And this form (to say truth), is so gross, as it had not been possible for wits so subtle as have managed these things to have offered it to the world, but that they hastened to their theories and dogmaticals, and were imperious and scornful toward particulars.”36 And he warned that a medieval argument that incorporates axiological premises absent observations of nature “is utterly vicious and incompetent; wherein their error is the fouler, because it is the duty of art to perfect and exalt nature; but they contrariwise have wronged, abused, and traduced nature.” Later in Novum Organum, Bacon further elaborated on his methodological approach to understanding natural phenomena. He argued that it would provide an improved theoretical framework to that of the simple classification of observations that had been produced by ancient Greek philosophers, who had relied on the conclusions of demonstrative reasoning based on the assumed veracity of traditional first principles: “In establishing axioms, another form of induction must be devised than has hitherto been employed; and it must be used for proving and discovering not first principles (as they are called) only, but also the lesser axioms, and the middle, and indeed all.”37 Bacon proclaimed that only inductive reasoning and its continual interaction with concrete problems can lead tentatively to new insights about the theoretical structure and laws of nature.38 Furthermore, inductive reasoning would obviate the necessity of either presupposing or identifying final causes. Bacon called attention to mental “idols” or simplistic philosophical obsessions upon which individuals too often rely, which limit their ability to comprehend more clearly the structure and dynamics of nature.39 One particular obsession—the idol of the theater—consists of “various dogmas of philosophies, and also

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from wrong laws of demonstration.… [that as] received systems are but so many stage-plays, representing worlds of their own creation.”40 Moreover, the stage-plays are arranged and directed according to “play-books of philosophical systems and the perverted rules of demonstration.”41 One source of these philosophical systems, he noted, had originated with “the rational school of philosophers” who, with only few observations that they had hardly investigated or analyzed, created their own intellectually fragile worlds and then disseminated them as true among unwary readers or listeners.42 The most prominent of this school of thought, according to Bacon, was “Aristotle, who corrupted natural philosophy by his [demonstrative] logic.” The proper remedy to dispel such surreal worlds is the “formation of ideas and axioms by true induction,”43 which do not require the absurd “final causes” of a theater’s play-book.44 To arrive at better explanations of natural phenomena, Bacon stressed the necessity of beginning with empirical observations derived through perceptions of the five physiological senses, as had been suggested by Aristotle and Averroes. Given the non-demonstrative hypothetico-deductive structure of induction, hypothetical conclusions may be tested and later replicated by other observers with findings that either falsify or only corroborate the likely veracity of those conclusions. In this way, asserted Bacon, basic principles can be inferred as capable of contributing to the growth of knowledge. Perceived patterns that may be associated with these observations will then likely generate additional hypothetical claims and suggest new categories from which fresh propositions as axioms about nature may be inferred. In turn, if these axioms were incorporated successfully in additional inductive arguments, they would likely suggest more novel or inclusive theorems from which to develop a promising comprehensive theory.45 And, perhaps more importantly, religious dogma related to scientific claims would neither be needed nor generally welcomed to assist in explaining and predicting natural phenomena. Bacon thus had further advanced the analytical autonomy of modern science that had been initiated two centuries earlier by John Buridan. Combining detailed observations with independently replicable findings from experimentation, the new science generated by Bacon and others who followed the hypothetico-deductive approach increasingly relied less on deductive arguments premised upon religious presuppositions and more on rational inferences to the best explanation of the underlying principles and dynamics of nature. The decoupling of conventional religious

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beliefs from the new science afforded the emergence of rational arguments regarding the origins of religion itself that in turn contributed to myriad claims of essential values and competing theological final causes: the axiological foundation of the religious axis. Along with these works, new interpretations and commentaries ultimately convinced seminal thinkers of the modern era to accept inductive arguments on a parity with deductive arguments, as also encouraged earlier by Buridan.

New Political Science In efforts to explain the political turmoil of the seventeenth century, Thomas Hobbes incorporated Bacon’s methodological approach as further explicated and refined by other rational empiricists, including Descartes, who asserted in his “First Meditation” that only “arithmetic, geometry, and the other sciences of this nature … contain some element of certainty and sureness.”46 To identity principles of natural reason as they apply to the human nature of individual motions and behavior in or out of political society, in 1651 in Leviathan, Hobbes employed the hypothetico-deductive approach pioneered by Bacon. He perceived that this approach mimicked the rigorous logic of geometry, “which is the only science that it has pleased God hitherto to bestow on mankind.”47 Adopting geometrical precision to explain logically the consequences of cause-and-effect dynamics in society, Hobbes initiated his scientific analysis of politics by focusing on his observations of human behavior. Referring to a fundamental finding of his observations that shifted medieval political thinking away from the supremacy of the ideal or purely religious commonwealth to the modern focus on the preeminence of the individual, Hobbes claimed, “as the art of well building is derived from principles of reason, observed by industrious men that had long studied the nature of materials, and the diverse effects of figure and proportion, long after mankind began, though poorly, to build, so, long time after men have begun to constitute commonwealths.… there may principles of reason be found out. … to make their constitution.”48 In fact, Hobbes began his political construction project by hypothesizing that “[t]he final cause, end, or design of men (who naturally love liberty, and dominion over others) … is the foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby.”49 That is, he presumed that there exists no universally-binding final cause of man’s existence, such as the serenity of the contemplative life, “[f]or there is no such Finis

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ultimus (utmost aim) nor Summum bonum (greatest Good) as is spoken of in the books of the old moral philosophers [e.g., Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas].”50 Abjuring medieval teleological presuppositions of human aspirations, Hobbes claimed to have discovered via rational introspection 19 basic principles that he styled “laws of nature,” which would be necessary building blocks to lay a stable and solid foundation for the construction of modern civil society. With regard to the preeminence of the individual, who had historically contributed to religious diversity and discord, Hobbes observed that religion originates from an individual’s fear of the unknown and his desires to allay anxieties about the future.51 Among other characteristics, he observed that religious individuals posit the existence with myriad competing descriptions of “one First Mover; that is, a First, and an Eternal cause of all things; which is that which men mean by the name of God.” Given this axiomatic framework for the origins and diversity of religious beliefs and interests, it was not surprising to Hobbes that a religious state of nature easily becomes a state of religious war, as had occurred during the Reformation and later the English civil wars. Over the next 150 years, Hobbes’s assertions had widespread and dramatic philosophical as well as political impact as they inspired and challenged other observers in their attempts to understand scientifically the interplay of motion and movement between religion and politics. The energetic debates that followed yielded a variety of alternatives to or modifications of Hobbes’s political science. Inspired by the hypotheses and findings of the modern scientific methodologies of Bacon and Hobbes, John Locke further perceived the affinity between the methodological rigor of mathematics and the discovery of principles of moral philosophy. In 1689, in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke affirmed, “This, I think, I may say, that if other ideas that are the real as well as nominal essences of their species, were pursued in the way familiar to mathematicians, they would carry our thoughts further, and with greater evidence and clearness than possibly we are apt to imagine. This gave me the confidence to advance that conjecture … [which is] that morality is capable of [logical] demonstration as well as mathematics.”52 With the precision of mathematics, Locke incorporated many of the conjectures driving Hobbes’s hypotheses as he engaged in his own observational and analytical research to identify a rationale that could underlie the construction of a just civil society, including the proper relationship

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between church and state. Also in 1689, in his Two Treatises of Government, Locke’s efforts led him to explicate human behavior and identify the law of nature, both of which resulted in political conclusions eerily similar to those of Hobbes: “Thus mankind, notwithstanding all the privileges of the state of nature, being but in an ill condition, while they remain in it, are quickly driven into society … by such rules as the community, or those authorized by them to that purpose, shall agree on…. The first is to do whatsoever he thinks fit for the preservation of himself, and others within the permission of the law of nature….”53 With mankind rapidly leaving the ill condition of the state of nature behind, Locke had hoped that they would unite into “one community, make up one society.” Nevertheless, he acknowledged that religious and political pluralism would more likely develop. That is, given their propensity for individualized “corruption and viciousness,” mankind would form ever “smaller and divided associations.”54 In the same year as the Two Treaties, Locke published his Letter Concerning Toleration, wherein he adopted the thesis that Roger Williams in 1644 had asserted in a response to the latest theological criticism from John Cotton. In a theological dispute with Cotton on the proper relationship between church and state, Williams argued in Mr. Cottons Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered the importance of keeping “Christians … separate from the world; and that when they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of Separation between the Garden of the Church and the Wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the Candlestick, &c. and made his Garden a Wilderness.”55 The intent of Williams’s wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world was understood by Locke as a way to protect both the church and the state from unwarranted encroachments by one on the internal affairs of the other. He stated that, if each were to remain “within its own Bounds, the one attending to the worldly welfare of the commonwealth, the other to the salvation of souls, it is impossible that any discord should ever have happened between them.”56 Williams had in fact singled out the church when he cautioned it against any breach of the wall of separation by Christians who may be enticed to mingle with and adapt themselves to the world in an effort to disseminate the gospel message. Were it to do so, he warned, the faith of Christians would be corrupted, and the Christians’ gospel and spiritual inheritance would be lost. But if Williams’s wall of separation and Locke’s bounds

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between church and state were maintained, theological speculation would be protected and diversity of religious conscience and liberty would flourish. In addition, upon inheriting the separation of theological speculation and natural philosophy, Enlightenment rationalism and empiricism of the eighteenth century promoted the advancement of modern science whose explanations soon overwhelmed the effectiveness of reliance on demonstrative assertions of religious dogma of previous centuries. By emphasizing the mechanics of natural phenomena, rational explanations and empirical evidence also raised doubts as to the authenticity of authoritative declarations of faith regarding God, man, and the universe, and the efficacy of adherence to their religious values and moral directives. The emancipation of science from religious final causes under the protection of a wall or bounds of separation between church and state shaped the core dynamics of the axiological foundation. Competing claims over the existence of universal religious values flourished in civil society and evolved toward speculation of an individual’s innate liberty of conscience. But the vibrancy of religious liberty and freedom of association in turn generated diverse religious movements that began to challenge the logic and structure of political society itself. Political scientist David B. Truman had observed that religious movements often develop when the “equilibrium of existing institutionalized groups”—and by implication the attendant equilibrium of socially acceptable, religious beliefs and moral practices—has been disrupted.57 In response to social disruptions, the emergence of a religious movement presents a set of commonly held attitudes and shared values that unites the movement’s adherents. In civil society, the attitudes and values provide the basis for the movement’s critique of society’s own prevailing attitudes or values, and if society’s attitudes or values have become more secular, the movement may furnish an alternative perspective for society to emulate.

Diversification and Agitation As Tocqueville noted, “Philosophers of the eighteenth century, generalizing at length on the same principle, undertook to submit to the private judgment of each man all the objects of his belief.”58 With the axiological foundation of the philosophical insights that undergirded the American philosophical method, individuals relied of their own reasoning abilities to identify the possibility of divine presence in their lives and to what

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end. This reliance provided the intellectual soil for the concept of liberty of conscience to germinate and grow and the ability of new religious movements to arise. Nonetheless, despite his prediction of religious diversification and modification as well as the agitation and mutability of religious pluralism, Tocqueville discounted the likelihood of the sustainability of any new religious movements germinating and growing in the United States in the age of democratic politics and Enlightenment rationalism. Given his primary focus on the interplay between religion and politics of the major Christian traditions of the Reformation era, he surmised that “no new religion could be established, and that all schemes for such a purpose would be not only impious, but absurd and irrational. It may be foreseen that a democratic people will not easily give credence to divine missions; that they will laugh at modern prophets.”59 Thus, the likelihood of disruptive social conditions occurring due to dynamics within civil society itself or the appearance of unorthodox religious movements would be minimized. Even so, rife with a burgeoning number of alternative and novel religious confessions, theologies, and practices, the federal and state governments increasingly grappled with the political impact of religious diversification and agitation in American society. New religious movements— such as Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Shakers, Oneida Community, and Mormons—increasingly challenged the cultural mores and social norms of civil society. The challenges also tested the political stability of the US Constitution’s containment structure, which had been designed and constructed by the political architects of the American republic when they attempted to maintain a modicum of separation between church and state. Hardly a year prior to the arrival of Alexis de Tocqueville in the United States, the Mormon Church had emerged under the guidance of its founder Joseph Smith, a “modern prophet” who condemned the errant content and faux authority of contemporary Christian denominations and further claimed to have restored the presence of authentic primitive Christianity.60 True to Tocqueville’s prediction of American society’s treatment of new religious movements, Smith encountered widespread risible denunciations of him and his followers. His prophetic claims were at odds with many of the prevailing cultural sensitivities of American society, including the cultural hegemony of Protestant Christianity. Smith insisted that he had received divine revelations and angelic visitations as well as

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brought forth new scriptures comparable in status to the revealed word of the Bible. Furthermore, he taught alternative Christian beliefs incompatible with those of creedal Christianity and developed an ethnic identity that expounded the virtues of unconventional social mores and economic practices. By 1844—although only partially foreseen by Tocqueville—public ridicule of Smith had become increasingly more bellicose and finally yielded to violence, culminating in the murder and martyrdom of a modern prophet. The prophet’s vast majority of Mormon followers were soon expelled from the United States. After arriving and settling in Mexican territory under the movement’s new prophet, Brigham Young, Mormon converts continued to arrive from various countries, anxious to build their New Zion.61 As Young dispatched Mormon colonies to sites throughout the Intermountain West, the preponderance of the territory of this new religious movement—now the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church)—was formally ceded by Mexico to the United States in 1848 at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War. Designated as the Utah Territory by the American government, the territory later entered the American constitutional compact as the state of Utah in 1896, and still with a majority Mormon population. Nevertheless, mainline Christian denominations and evangelicals have persisted in their suspicion of the religious heresies and political motives of the LDS Church well into the twenty-first century.62 Given the threat posed to society by a religious movement’s perception of society’s present state of decadent disequilibrium, Truman noted, religious movements will find political legitimacy in their “claims upon other groups in society for the establishment, maintenance, or enhancement of forms of behavior that are implied by the [previously] shared attitudes.”63 Despite their suspicions of each other, the new religious movement of Mormonism and the historical religious movement of evangelical Christianity have both made and continue to make claims on American society to maintain its previously shared values of Christianity. For evangelical Christianity, the preferred attitudes and associated values tend to be those of the good society of the Puritan Christian commonwealth that had generally prevailed in the colonial era, and often touted as a success story worthy of emulation. For Mormon Christianity, its biblically-based dispensational philosophy of history provides the spiritual and moral values upon which society had been based at one time, but from which it has now strayed. In this way, Truman observed, a religious movement’s

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shared attitudes thereby serve as “frames of reference … toward what is needed or wanted in a given situation.”

Competition and Prayers In civil society, the LDS Church as well as other Christian denominations and sectarian evangelical Christians propagate their exclusive but incompatible messages of individual salvation, as they compete for new converts. Indeed, evangelical Christians have successfully pursued a variety of outreach programs to bring souls to accept Christ as their personal savior.64 As noted by political scientist Robert Putnam, “the revitalization of evangelical religion is perhaps the most notable feature of American religious life.”65 Similarly, the exclusivist character of Mormonism’s gospel message of divine authority and salvation has motivated the LDS Church’s own proselytizing efforts with a worldwide force of over 70,000 missionaries to increase the number of adherents to its faith.66 As they proselytize the ripe fields of religious searchers in civil society, evangelical Christianity and Mormon Christianity have encountered considerable difficulty in overcoming competitive friction between the two in the religious marketplace. Critical theological differences between evangelicals and Mormons run deep with their exclusivist claims of Christian historical origins and authenticity, incompatibility of scriptural hermeneutics and fundamental doctrines, and contrary social values and practices. The differences continue to serve as impediments to evangelical Christian churches and the LDS Church in their ability to form lasting ecumenical alliances in civil society and to a lesser extent political coalitions in the public square. Despite their superficial agreement on the nature of the deity to be worshiped, an occasion to organize a successful National Day of Prayer service in predominantly Mormon Utah proved insurmountable given the incompatible values and beliefs of these two rival expressions of Christianity. Every year in May, many organizations throughout the United States hold National Day of Prayer services. Initiated by an act of Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1952, federal law requires that “[t]he President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer.”67 Congress intended that the day would provide an opportunity whereby “the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” During the past two-and-a-half

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decades, the National Day of Prayer services have been organized primarily by the evangelical National Day of Prayer Task Force, which has often been affiliated with other conservative evangelical organizations, including Focus on the Family and Campus Crusade for Christ. Nonetheless, the Task Force has encouraged all Americans regardless of religious affiliation to attend its prayer services. However, as an evangelical Christian organization, the Task Force has required that its official services and prayers be coordinated and led only by representatives of denominations that have subscribed to affirmations of the Lausanne Covenant.68 Written in 1974, the Covenant contains 15 theological affirmations of evangelical Christian delegates who attended the International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland. Problematic for Mormons are the Covenant’s first two affirmations. The first affirms the Trinitarian concept of the Godhead: “We affirm our belief in the one eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit”; and the second affirms the exclusivity of the Bible: “We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God.”69 Given that the LDS Church’s theology does not agree with the Trinitarian concept of the Godhead and the Church’s scriptural canon includes the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible, the Task Force’s requirement has had the practical effect of proscribing Mormons, as well as those of non-Christian religious denominations and sects, from coordinating local National Day of Prayer services or leading prayers at the behest of the Task Force. On Thursday, May 6, 2004, the ecumenical Utah Valley Interfaith Association, which comprised significant Mormon representation, had planned to participate in National Day of Prayer services organized by the Task Force. However, Mormon leaders of the Interfaith Association could not in good conscience subscribe to the required theological affirmations contained in the Lausanne Covenant. Consequently, the Task Force refused to permit Mormon participants to lead prayers at its services. The decision left the Interfaith Association with two options: participate in the May 6 National Day of Prayer service under the aegis of the Task Force, with Mormon members prohibited from leading prayers; or, decline to participate on May 6 and hold its own prayer service on a different date without the aegis of the Task Force but with Mormons permitted to lead prayers. The Association chose the latter, and on May 27 held its own day of prayer service.70

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In this situation, the inability of Mormons and evangelicals to cooperate in a common cause of religious unity centered on discordant theological confessions not political differences. However, although irenic ecumenism has failed due to entrenched theological differences, the two faith traditions find greater harmony politically, inasmuch as 61% of Mormons and 55% of evangelical Protestants self-identify as politically conservative.71 Furthermore, as the number of their respective adherents has grown, both faiths have occasionally found it expedient to unite their resources in common cause to effect greater influence in various local, state, or national elections. Such an occasion presented itself during the nationwide confusion over the moral and legal legitimacy of same-sex marriage. Mormons and evangelicals perceived American society’s moral equilibrium increasingly under assault and chose to join forces to reverse the trend of moral decay.

Morality, Politics, and Same-Sex Marriage To enhance its religious appeal as it actively engages in proselytizing efforts world-wide, the LDS Church attempts to maintain a certain distance between religion and politics, including its refusal to endorse political candidates for elective office or to permit voter guides to be distributed on its properties, including on Sundays. Elder Dallin Oaks, a former professor of law at the University of Chicago, Utah Supreme Court justice, and now a high official in LDS Church leadership—next in line to be Tocqueville’s “modern prophet”—stated, “The relationship in the world between church and state and between church leaders and politicians should be respectful and distant, as befits two parties who need one another but share the realization that a relationship too close can deprive a pluralistic government of its legitimacy and a divine church of its spiritual mission.”72 Not unlike Roger Williams’s call for a “wall of Separation between the Garden of the Church and the Wilderness of the world,”73 the LDS Church expends great effort to protect its garden in order to preserve its religious identity and liberty, openly preach its moral beliefs, and resist threats to its ideal of the family from the wilderness’s secular influences. But such effort requires a distinction between moral issues and political issues in how the church responds to perceived threats on both sides of the wall. According to Oaks, “I subscribe to the distinction between ‘moral issues,’ on which our Church may comment, and ‘political issues,’ on

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which it generally will not comment.”74 In this way, he says, the church resists reaching across the wall with public endorsements or comments on political issues, which are generally legislative, while commenting on moral issues in the public square that may affect its religious liberty or impact its moral proclamations to the world from its garden side of the wall. Nevertheless, when the LDS Church believes that certain judicial court decisions or pressing legislation addressing political issues may have an adverse impact morally on itself or civil society, political issues will generally be perceived less in political terms and more in moral terms. Indeed, says Oaks, “Society continually legislates morality. The only question is whose morality and what legislation.”75 To the extent, then, that a legislative matter or other policy issue contains a moral component of concern to the LDS Church, he declares, “Fundamentally, I submit that there is no persuasive objection in law or principle to a church or church leader taking a position on any legislative matter, if it or he or she chooses to do so.”76 Oaks defends “religious-based values” to be “as legitimate a basis for political action as any other values.”77 He asserts that “churches and church leaders should be able to participate in public policy debates on the same basis as other persons and organizations, favoring or opposing specific legislative proposals or candidates if they choose to do so.” Given the history of its own existential struggle to survive with its identity intact as well as its ever-evolving peculiar theology, the LDS Church has continually emphasized the importance of the family as well as the imperative of protecting religious liberty. To resist what it considers to be the immoral encroachments of secular society, the church has frequently encouraged or even engaged in select political activity to defend its religious beliefs and practices. In the 1970s, sensing a threat to its moral beliefs and public teachings on the family, the leadership of the church provided financial aid and mobilized local Mormons in specific states to oppose ratification to the US Constitution of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, which stated, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” It had perceived the amendment as a danger to its religious liberty, particularly with regard to the church’s patriarchal ecclesiastical structure as well as its fundamental teachings and beliefs about the distinct and divine nature of gender roles.78 Although the proposed amendment failed to receive the requisite number of states supporting ratification, the LDS Church continued to keep a wary eye on other political movements that it

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found morally threatening to its religious beliefs and practices. And, two decades later, another threatening movement appeared. In the late twentieth century, a nascent movement toward nationwide political recognition of same-sex marriage as a civil right emerged in judicial courts and state legislatures.79 In Hawaii, in light of the state’s own Equal Rights Amendment, the state Supreme Court cautioned the legislature on any attempt to exclude same-sex couples from legally receiving a marriage license. Sensing, again, a potential threat to its image of the ideal family and the negative impact it foresaw for Mormons and others throughout the United States if same-sex marriages were legalized in Hawaii, the LDS Church joined with the Catholic Church and other organizations opposed to same-sex marriage to form a political coalition. The coalition applied its resources in support of a referendum to amend the state’s constitution to permit the legislature to prohibit same-sex marriage and thus avoid censure from the Hawaii Supreme Court.80 In addition, for the Alaska state election scheduled for the same day, November 3, 1998, the political coalition also contributed considerable resources to promoting a similar proposal to amend that state’s constitution. The efforts of the coalition succeeded as both amendments were approved by the majority of voters in each state. With success in convincing a majority of voters to amend the Hawaii and Alaska state constitutions to prohibit same-sex marriage, the LDS Church and other opponents of same-sex marriage turned their attention a decade later to a similar ballot initiative in California. On November 4, 2008, elections were held throughout the United States for president, both houses of Congress, and a number of governorships and state legislators, among other proposals on state ballots. The state of California included a proposed initiative—Proposition 8—for voter consideration, which if approved would prohibit legal recognition of same-sex marriage in both state law and the state constitution. The proposition had been placed on the ballot via citizen initiative in anticipation of the California Supreme Court’s imminent ruling that an earlier proposition—Proposition 22—which had been approved by California voters on March 7, 2000, would be invalidated by the state’s Supreme Court.81 Although Proposition 22 had banned recognition of same-sex marriages in state law, it had not included language with the same prohibition to amend the state’s constitution. Anticipating a close election on Proposition 8, a “multi-religious coalition” was formed that brought together “Mormons and Catholics, … the

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two most powerful religious institutions in the Prop. 8 battle.”82 In addition, the coalition included other denominations and organizations from Eastern Orthodox, Conservative Jewish, and evangelical Christian traditions, all of whom contributed significant campaign resources to ensure a successful vote, which occurred when the majority of California voters approved Proposition 8. After several years of legal challenges to the amendment, the political successes of this and other religious coalitions and movements opposed to same-sex marriage were ultimately negated with the decision of the US Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). The majority decision of the Court effectively voided state prohibitions—by law or constitutional amendment—of same-sex marriages throughout the United States. To justify its decision, the Court invoked the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and declared: “[T]he reasons marriage is fundamental under the Constitution apply with equal force to same-sex couples.”83 In the cases of ballot initiatives and referenda that prohibited legal recognition of same-sex marriage prior to 2015, the political coalitions of ideologically conservative Mormons, Catholics, evangelicals, and others were motivated by their shared religiously informed moral attitudes and values. Their motivation contributed to and enhanced a powerful religious movement in the public square intent on restoring the moral equilibrium of American civil society. Despite failure in resisting the legality of samesex marriage, the strength of the religious movement’s presence has not dissipated but grown.

Political Religion For conservative evangelical and other Christian activists, their frames of reference based on shared biblical attitudes and religious values serve not only as moral frameworks with which to critique policies of contemporary secular society but also as a framework to motivate, justify, and guide their own efforts to influence the direction of select public policy objectives as well as challenge the status quo to foment social and political change. In particular, the moral and political claims of conservative evangelicals tend to have a vast if varied reach that permeates American culture and political society. Evangelicals have successfully and increasingly enlisted political candidates, elected officeholders, or appointed government officials to assist them in “reclaiming America” by regaining “cultural power so that they could build a Christian civilization.”84

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Undeterred by Roger Williams’s warning of the spiritual dangers of breaching the wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of secularism, the religious movement of passionate and enthusiastic conservative evangelicals has long succumbed to the temptation to enter the breach. They carry their candlestick forward to light the wilderness with their shared gospel values and to make their religious and political claims binding on the state. Conservative evangelical political theologies justify their efforts to proselytize political leaders who have legislative authority to write and enact laws and ordinances, executive or discretionary authority to enforce laws and policies, or judicial authority to review the constitutional legitimacy of legislative or executive actions, laws, and policies. Political efforts of conservative evangelicals and other religious conservatives have engendered more effective means by which to challenge the philosophical foundations of the religious axis, expand if not remove the boundaries of the containment structure of American political architecture, and replace the de facto establishment of Protestant Christianity with de jure status.

Notes 1. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 2 vols., trans. Henry Reeve and Phillips Bradley (New York: Vintage Books, 1945), 2:7. 2. Ibid., 1:323. 3. Ibid., 2:3. 4. Ibid., 2:4. 5. René Descartes, “Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason and Seeking the Truth in the Field of Science,” in Discourse on Method and Meditations, trans. Laurence J. Lafleur (New York: Macmillan, 1960), 18. 6. Ibid., 21. 7. Ibid., 18. 8. Ibid., 20. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid., 21. 11. Ibid., 23. 12. Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 2:4. 13. Ibid., 2:5. 14. Ibid. 15. W. Robert Godfrey, “Biblical Authority in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: A Question of Transition,” in Scripture and Truth, ed. D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1992), 227–30.

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16. John Foxe, Book of Martyrs (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1981), 175. 17. Martin Luther, “An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation,” in Three Treatises, trans. Charles M. Jacobs (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1960), 14. 18. Idem, “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” Three Treatises, 193–94, 195. 19. Idem, “Open Letter,” 92–94. 20. Ibid., 94. 21. Ibid., 93–94. 22. Idem, “Disputation Against Scholastic Theology,” in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, 3rd ed., ed. William R. Russell (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012), 5. 23. Thomas Hobbes, The Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity, and Chance Clearly Stated and Debated Between Dr. Bramhall, Bishop of Derry, and Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury (Ann Arbor, MI and Oxford, UK: Text Creation Partnership, 2003–2005), 4, http://name.umdl.umich.edu/ A44010.0001.001/ (accessed May 6, 2019; modern spelling applied). 24. Idem, Leviathan (London: J. M. Dent, 1973), pt. 4, ch. 47, p. 379 (modern spelling applied). 25. Martin Luther, “On Secular Authority,” in Luther and Calvin: On Secular Authority, ed. Harro Höpfl (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 25. 26. Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 2:5. 27. Idem, Democracy in America, 2 vols., ed. Eduardo Nolla and trans. James T. Schleifer (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2012), 2:703. 28. Bacon, Of the Advancement of Learning (London: J. M. Dent, 1915), 123 (modern spelling applied). 29. Ibid., 153–54. 30. Ibid., 26. 31. Ibid., 85 (emphasis original). 32. Ibid., 93 (emphasis original). 33. Ibid., 96 (modern spelling applied). 34. Ibid., 125. 35. Ibid., 126. 36. Ibid., 125 (modern spelling applied). 37. Idem, Novum Organum, in The English Philosophers from Bacon to Mill, ed. Edwin A. Burtt (New York: Modern Library, 1939), 70. 38. Ibid., 30, 33. 39. Ibid., 31, 34–44. 40. Ibid., 35. 41. Ibid., 42. 42. Ibid., 43.

138 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62.

63. 64.

65. 66.

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Ibid., 34. Ibid., 37. Ibid., 70. Descartes, “Discourse on Method,” 78. Hobbes, Leviathan, pt. 1, ch. 4, p. 15 (modern spelling applied). Ibid., pt. 2, ch. 30, p. 179. Ibid., pt. 2, ch. 17, p. 87. Ibid., pt. 1, ch. 11, p. 49 (emphasis original). Ibid., pt. 1, ch. 12, pp. 54–56. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 2 vols. (New York: Dover Publications, 1959), 2:347. Idem, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960), Second Treatise, sects. 127, 128, p. 397. Ibid., sect. 128, p. 397. Roger Williams, “Mr. Cottons Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered,” in The Complete Writings of Roger Williams, 7 vols. (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2007), 1:392 (modern grammar and spelling applied). John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1983), 55 (modern spelling and capitalization applied). David B. Truman, The Governmental Process: Political Interests and Public Opinion, 2nd ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971), 32. Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. Reeve and Bradley, 2:5. Ibid., 2:10. Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). Matthew Bowman, The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith (New York: Random House, 2012), 96–123. Kent P. Jackson, “Are Mormons Christians? Presbyterians, Mormons, and the Question of Religious Definitions,” Nova Religio 4 (October 2000): 52–65. Truman, Governmental Process, 33–34. See, for example, Allie Martin, “Ministry Seeks to Equip 1 Million Christian Leaders for Global Impact,” AgapePress, May 16, 2005, http:// headlines.agapepress.org/printver.asp/ (accessed May 16, 2005). Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), 77. LDS Church, “Facts and Statistics: Missionary Program,” https://www. mormonnewsroom.org/topic/missionary-program/ (accessed April 28, 2019). National Day of Prayer, 36 U.S. Code § 119. The act was amended in 1988 to formally designate “the first Thursday in May in each year” as the National Day of Prayer, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/

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68. 69. 70.

71.

72.

73.

74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79.

80. 81.

82.

83. 84.

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USCODE-2015-title36/pdf/USCODE-2015-title36-subtitleI-partAchap1-sec119.pdf/ (accessed April 30, 2019). National Day of Prayer Task Force, Volunteer Form, https:// nationaldayofprayer.org/volunteerform/ (accessed May 4, 2019). Lausanne Movement, “Lausanne Covenant,” https://www.lausanne.org/ content/covenant/lausanne-covenant#cov/ (accessed April 28, 2019). Marin Decker, “Interfaith Group Has ‘Inclusive’ Service,” Deseret Morning News, May 28, 2004, http://deseretnews.com/dn/print/ 1,1442,595066345,00.html/ (accessed May 28, 2004). Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life, “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” May 12, 2015, https://www.pewforum.org/religiouslandscape-study/religious-tradition/ (accessed April 15, 2019). Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Religious Values and Public Policy,” Ensign 10 (October 1992), https://www.lds.org/study/ensign/1992/10/ religious-values-and-public-policy?lang=eng/ (accessed April 17, 2019), 7. Roger Williams, “Mr. Cottons Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered,” in The Complete Writings of Roger Williams, vol. 1 (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2007), 392 (modern grammar and spelling). Dallin Oaks, “Response to Question #4,” Responses to Questions in Interview Conducted by John R. Pottenger, July 14, 2000. Idem, “Religious Values and Public Policy,” 3. Ibid., 8. Ibid., 9. Church Educational System, Church History in the Fulness of Times (Salt Lake City, UT: LDS Church, 1989), 586. William N. Eskridge, Jr., “Latter-Day Constitutionalism: Sexuality, Gender, and Mormons,” University of Illinois Law Review, no. 4 (September 2016): 1242–50. Ibid., 1242–44. Alexander J. Sheffrin, “Pro-Family Group Says Effort to Ban Calif. Gay ‘Marriage’ Looks ‘Strong’,” The Christian Post, April 5, 2008, https://www.christianpost.com/news/pro-family-group-sayseffort-to-ban-calif-gay-marriage-looks-strong-31814/ (accessed April 15, 2019). Matthai Kuruvila, “Catholics, Mormons Allied to Pass Prop. 8,” SF Gate, November 10, 2008, https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/CatholicsMormons-allied-to-pass-Prop-8-3185965.php/ (accessed April 15, 2019). Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. ____ (2015), 3. John Fea, Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2018), 35, 36.

CHAPTER 6

Political Foundation: Religious Proclamations, Free Exercise Expansion, Establishmentarianism

On April 30, 2019, President Donald Trump, as required by law, issued the following religious proclamation: “NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 2, 2019, as a National Day of Prayer.”1 In his proclamation, the president referenced the collective occasions of prayer throughout the nation’s history as Americans sought divine guidance during trying times. In his own supplication, he stated, “May we as Americans never forget the power of prayer and the greatness of our Creator.” In addition to his recognition of the importance of public prayer and reliance on God, President Trump acknowledged the importance of religious liberty as a natural right from God and not from the government. He then added, “The First Amendment recognizes the freedom of religion and safeguards this right against government infringement.” Two days after his proclamation, President Trump held National Day of Prayer services at the White House. Along with other evangelical Christian leaders, Paula White, Evangelist and Senior Pastor at the New Destiny Christian Center in Orlando, Florida, participated in the services. Having been appointed by the president in 2017 as the chairwoman of his Evangelical Advisory Board—which serves as the president’s preferred religious

© The Author(s) 2020 J. R. Pottenger, Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis, Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33974-6_6

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presence in the White House—White offered the final payer of the services before a press conference gathered in the Rose Garden. Abounding with scriptural references from both the Old and New Testaments to augment her enthusiastic delivery, she employed the hermeneutic of her political theology, which is anchored in Christian nationalist presuppositions. As she prayed, White’s hermeneutic proffered eisegetical interpretations of scripture from which she inferred that Donald Trump had been chosen and anointed by God to carry out God’s will vis-à-vis temporal social and economic policies—both in the United States and internationally. Her interpretations highlighted the election of President Trump and implementation of his policies as the intent and will of God: “Now we lift up our president … [whom] you declared … that you had set him apart and ordained him. … [Y]ou have already given him the victory through Christ Jesus.”2 She also consecrated the White House as “Holy ground,” and added, “We are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, wickedness, and darkness, so we declare every demonic network to be scattered right now. We declare right now that there is a hedge of protection over our president, first lady, every assignment, the purpose they carry and the mantle,” such that the president may “fulfill all the will of the Lord and do the assignment God has carried him to do for your great name, for your great nation, and for all your people in the world.” Contrary to Roger Williams’s interpretation of the Old Testament, wherein God had erected a hedge of separation to protect the garden of the church from the wilderness of the state, White’s politicized interpretation declared that God has now transplanted the hedge of separation to narrow the area of its protection to safeguard only the holiness of the White House from forces—demonic or otherwise—that would challenge the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s presidency or his political objectives and policies. She implied that the political government must collude with evangelical Christianity to serve as a divine instrument to achieve a temporal state of righteousness. In the history of the United States, most presidents have offered religious proclamations for various situations when asked to do by the US Congress, particularly during or after times of war. Given the American political architects’ heightened awareness of the dangers of church-state collusion, religious presidential proclamations during the early years of the

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republic fueled alarm among founding architects concerning the extent to which the president ought to be involved.

Religious Proclamations On October 3, 1789, six years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, President George Washington issued a religious proclamation at the request of Congress. Washington proclaimed that “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer” be held on November 26.3 He recommended that the day “be devoted by the People of these States … [t]hat we may then all unite in rendering unto [God] our sincere and humble thanks— for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation.” In addition to asking the people to offer their sincere thanks for the successful outcome of the Revolution, President Washington encouraged them to pray for the federal government’s success in its efforts to improve the country’s temporal prosperity, to increase the teaching of science, and “[t]o promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.” For other presidents of the founding generation, such requests by Congress of the chief executive to issue religious proclamations raised doubts concerning their constitutional legitimacy as well as ethical propriety. They feared the consequences of presidential endorsement of calls to religious prayer on a national scale, given the potential for such calls to lead toward normalizing collusion between church and state. On January 23, 1808, President Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Rev. Samuel Miller, a Presbyterian theology professor, who had asked the president to declare a national day of fasting and prayer. With deep misgivings regarding the practical wisdom of church-state collusion and his strict constructionist approach to interpreting the original intent of the Constitution’s authors, President Jefferson responded to Rev. Miller that the US Constitution prohibited the government “from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises.”4 Although no authority to offer such a proclamation had been delegated to the federal government, Jefferson did recognize that such authority in fact resides with the state governments. Furthermore, Jefferson cautioned, were “I [to] recommend, [but] not prescribe a day of fasting and prayer,” a recommendation alone would still leave the public with the impression that he and future presidents actually do have “authority over religious exercises which the Constitution has

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directly precluded them from.”5 And, if he were to offer a proclamation as only a recommendation without any formal legal penalty for those who disregarded it, Jefferson believed that the effect would also leave the public confused on how to proceed with such a proclamation. Jefferson then reiterated his long-held belief that had grounded the revolutionary era’s ethos regarding church and state: “I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious exercises.” Although James Madison had also exhibited the same position as that of Jefferson during the revolutionary era, nonetheless, he had in fact issued his own religious proclamation while president, which he later regretted. On July 9, 1812, at the beginning of the war between the United States and the United Kingdom, President Madison issued a religious proclamation at the request of Congress, announcing August 3 to be “a day of public humiliation and prayer.”6 In his proclamation, Madison recommended that “the several religious denominations and societies” offer at the same time “their common vows and adorations to Almighty God.” However, five years later, after he had served his two terms as president, Madison reflected on the church-state discussions of the revolutionary and post-revolutionary eras. In fact, George Washington, six months prior to issuing his own religious presidential proclamation, had written a letter to Madison in which he stated, “As the first of everything, in our situation will serve to establish a precedent, it is devoutly wished on my part that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.”7 Madison later reconsidered the guiding nature of true principles and the merit of his own religious proclamation while president as well as those of his predecessors. He concluded that having done so was unwise. In his Detached Memoranda, containing an extensive essay that had likely been written in 1817 along with a collection of other documents, Madison reflected on the political imprudence of “ecclesiastical endowments.”8 He stated that “[t]he danger of silent accumulations and encroachments by Ecclesiastical Bodies have not sufficiently engaged attention in the U. S.,” even though the constitutional framework had prohibited legal persecution of freedom of conscience and mandated the legal equality of religious sects.9 Madison lauded the essence of the Virginia Declaration of Rights as “a true standard of Religious liberty” and furthermore—paraphrasing Roger Williams’s warning against opening a

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gap in the hedge between church and state—strongly cautioned against congressional legislation or proclamations that “will be found to leave crevices at least through which bigotry may introduce persecution.”10 Madison noted that “[s]trongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”11 He referenced earlier instances of abusive ecclesiastical encroachment when religious bodies had successfully pressured colonial and later state legislatures to enact general assessments to provide financial support for the benefit of select religious denominations. In addition, Madison noted that legislatures had frequently granted permission for denominations to accumulate considerable amounts of wealth to the detriment of the public good. He also called into question the US Congress’s practice of appointing chaplains to provide religious services at taxpayers’ expense as well as congressional legislation that required the president to issue proclamations that advanced religious objectives.12 All of these instances, in accord with Jefferson’s sentiments, Madison deemed inapplicable as binding precedents. Otherwise, they would endow the state with political authority in matters of religion, which endowment is in violation of the Constitution’s formal separation between “Religion and Government.” Similar to Jefferson’s response to Rev. Miller, Madison enumerated five objections to such proclamations, which were listed in his essay “Religious Proclamations by the Executive.”13 First, he objected to the interjection of governmental authority in the personal religious affairs of citizens; “An advisory Government,” he said, “is a contradiction in terms.” Secondly, he reminded members of government that they are not constitutionally authorized to “form an ecclesiastical Assembly, Convocation, Council, or Synod,” nor may they “issue decrees or injunctions addressed to the faith or the Consciences of the people.” Thirdly, religious proclamations issued by the president “seem to imply and certainly nourish the erroneous idea of a national religion,” whereby the federal government’s involvement would be construed as an official imprimatur of “the idea also of a union of all to form one nation under one Government in acts of devotion to the God.” Fourthly, and as a corollary to the third objection, Madison observed that there exists an inclination on the part of the public to perceive a religious proclamation as promoting “the standard of the predominant sect.”14 He pointed out that this had in fact occurred when proclamations were issued during the presidencies of George Washington

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and John Adams. Finally, Madison warned of the likelihood that religious proclamations emanating from government would likely be used for politically partisan objectives. Such an occurrence would be “to the scandal of religion, as well as the increase of party animosities,” which, he said, had also happened during Washington’s presidency. Although Jefferson and Madison had declared their misgivings of the constitutional, political, and ethical propriety of presidential religious proclamations, nearly all American presidents have since continued to issue religious as well as other public proclamations at the request of Congress.15 The intent of the vast majority of these proclamations has been to remind the nation of historic achievements, cite the culturally significant accomplishments of select individuals, or declare a particular month or day in recognition of a particular cause. To this end, presidents have also been willing to issue religious proclamations to call the nation to prayer. However, the congressional intent of religious proclamations has often been expanded by others beyond that stated in the original legislation, as occurred with the 2019 National Day of Prayer services at the White House as well as with the coordinated efforts of the nongovernmental National Day of Prayer Task Force. Since 1952, the US Code has annually authorized the president to proclaim a National Day of Prayer. The Code’s stated intent of the proclamation is to serve as a public reminder so that “the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”16 Nevertheless, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, which coordinates most National Day of Prayer services, recently proclaimed its own version of the day’s intent: “Our hope is that individuals, churches, and spiritual leaders in America, will humble ourselves and unify in prevailing prayer for the next great move of God in America.”17 The two statements of intent contain contrasting if subtle differences in how each portrays the immanent role of God. The US Code encourages the presence of prayer in the lives of citizens to assist in their “turn[ing] to God”; alternatively, the Task Force calls for individuals to pray in preparation for God’s “next great move in America.” Thus, the Code references a relatively passive God who is present to hear an individual’s prayer, while the Task Force references and anticipates a more active God who will intervene in the life of the nation. Even though the two references are not necessarily theologically contrary, they do suggest different political motives of their authors. The conflictual dynamics of the two motives are

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at the heart of structural provisions of the political architects of the American constitutional republic who relied on the political foundation of the religious axis. As with the arguments of Jefferson and Madison regarding the constitutionality of religious proclamations, delegates to the Federal Convention of 1787 also considered issues of government entanglement with religious initiatives. They relied on the ground-breaking path of the axiological foundation, which had previously been forged by Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke, among others. The foundation’s new political science informed the delegates as they designed their new constitutional structure. As political architects, the delegates deliberated for months to fine-tune the blueprint of the constitutional powers, rights, and responsibilities assigned to the national political institutions in the edifice of the proposed American republic as well as the underlying logic of its containment structure. And, indeed, the final work of the Convention successfully led to the emergence of the republic, which ushered in a new political construction whose architecture held the promise of managing successfully Alexis de Tocqueville’s later apprehensions of the modification, mutability, diversification, agitation, and thus socially disruptive temperament of religious pluralism.

Containment Structure By 1690, theological and ecclesiastical fragmentation of the Reformation Era had become permanently and inexorably ensconced in a historical trajectory toward greater doctrinal diversity and continual creation of new religious movements and sects. Perceiving the logical inevitability of political as well as religious pluralism underway with the intertwining arguments of the epistemic and axiological foundations, John Locke observed that unfettered freedom of religious identities would embolden the planting and cultivation of diverse denominations with mutually incompatible and conflicting theologies, rituals, and perhaps their own political objectives.18 And despite the religious characteristic of social upheaval in England, he concluded, it is not the religiously diverse society that “gathers people into seditious commotion,” but the oppressive state’s refusal to tolerate religious diversity itself. As Locke had concluded a century earlier, American political architects, too, realized that religious interest groups themselves could be legally proscribed but only on pain of impugning the legitimacy and logic of the young republic’s political foundation.

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In their contributions to the published essays of the Federalist Papers of 1787, written to secure ratification of the proposed constitution in the states of New York and Virginia, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison with John Jay relied on insights of the new political science of the axiological foundation. Thomas Hobbes, for one, had asserted that “principles of reason [can] be found out, by industrious meditation, to make their constitution.”19 Hamilton concurred with this sentiment, proclaiming that the rational basis of “[t]he science of politics, however, like most other sciences, has received great improvement. The efficacy of various principles is now well understood, which were either not known at all, or imperfectly known to the ancients. … [and] have made their principal progress towards perfection in modern times.”20 He further confidently exclaimed: “And, I trust, America will be the broad and solid foundation of other edifices, not less magnificent, which will be equally permanent monuments of [the rejection of the Old World’s] errors.” Both Hamilton and Madison were also in accord with related findings of Hobbes, who had observed and hypothesized that each individual’s thoughts are initially and purposefully “regulated by some desire, and design.”21 An effort to pursue a particular objective, he found, “arises partly from the diversity of passions, in diverse men; and partly from the difference of the knowledge, or opinion each one has of the causes, which produce the effect desired.”22 Furthermore, Hobbes noted, reason itself is subservient to the demands of passions and knowledge and thus is of only instrumental value. Reason merely serves to calculate the expected costs and benefits that will likely be derived from a potential course of action. In this way, it provides information to the individual who is attempting to identify the best means and probability of attaining a desired objective. The use of instrumental reason by self-interested individuals who compete with each other for limited resources will ultimately lead to a natural condition of conflict, concluded Hobbes, absent the presence of a political state whose government is sufficiently capable of restraining destructive individual behavior to minimize conflict and establish relative order and peace. Hamilton, too, emphatically stated that inasmuch as “men are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious,”23 “the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.”24 Given that human nature places a priority on behaving according to one’s passionate interests and consequently one’s definition of personal morality is strictly a function of personal utility, as Hobbes had observed,

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Madison speculated on the possibility that the same psychology drives the organizational objectives of voluntary associations or factions in civil society. Another axial moment of the religious axis occurred when Madison applied Hobbes’s insight of the psychological imperative of individual self-interest to the collective behavior of groups or factions. As with selfinterested individuals who passionately pursue their desires to the point of conflict with other individuals, Madison hypothesized that a factional imperative also exists that motivates interest groups who possess little or no respect for the individual rights of other citizens or the common good. His own observations of group behavior led him to define a faction as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”25 Indeed, Madison concluded, the psychological impetus of any faction mirrors that of any self-interested individual; in fact, the faction’s behavior is “sown in the nature of man.”26 Given the inexorable presence of a factional imperative in civil society and the public square, Madison predicted that factions will arise for any number of reasons, including a “zeal for different opinions concerning religion … ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power … [who have] divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.”27 In fact, “The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame … [such that a] religious sect may degenerate into a political faction.”28 Thus, he cautioned that “neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control” to prevent the potentially destructive social and political effects of factions whose passions are driven by fires of faith.29 Recognizing that the imperative of self-interest is deeply rooted in human nature, Madison displayed intense apprehension of the potential danger posed by the unregulated passions of both individuals and groups that would seek to control and direct governmental policies. He argued that without a political structure to contain them, “[t]he passions, therefore, not the reason, of the public would sit in judgment.”30 Given the presence of personal and factional imperatives of self-interest and their threat to others’ individual rights as well as the public good, Madison declared the intent of the Constitution’s peculiar construction: “[I]t is the reason, alone, of the public, that ought to control and regulate the

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government. The passions ought to be controlled and regulated by the government.” However, he also recognized that the logic and reach of the new political architecture with its reinvigorated national government and containment structure would be limited only to “break[ing] and control[ling] the violence of faction.”31 The power of the national government to break and control the violence of factions, however, raised questions of the adequacy of the Constitution’s political architecture to prevent the power of the national government from curtailing individual rights and liberties. Ratification debates increasingly focused on the Federal Convention’s failure to include a declaration or bill of rights and liberties. In fact, many Anti-Federalists, including George Mason, one of the Federal Convention delegates, ultimately opposed ratification due to the Convention’s preclusion of a declaration of rights. Mason deemed it necessary to include such a declaration inasmuch as “the Declaration of Rights in the separate states are no security” against an overbearing national government.32 Another opponent, likely Melancton Smith, specifically advocated the necessity of a bill of rights that “ought to be carried farther, and some other principles established, … [including] the free exercise of religion, as a part of the national compact.”33 In the penultimate essay of the Federalist Papers, Hamilton defended the Constitution’s absence of a bill of rights when he proclaimed from his strict constructionist viewpoint that “the Constitution is itself, in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, A BILL OF RIGHTS.”34 Furthermore, he argued that a formal bill of rights is not only unnecessary but would be dangerous if one were adopted. It would be unnecessary inasmuch as the proposed Constitution already limits the new government’s legislative authority by clearly and specifically stating the only powers that it may exercise. However, if a bill of rights prohibited additional powers, its adoption would dangerously imply that any other and all powers not explicitly prohibited by it would be constitutionally available for a government predisposed to interpret the Constitution from a loose constructionist point of view.35 Nevertheless, under considerable pressure from Anti-Federalists, the Federalist proponents agreed to their request to include a bill of rights in the Constitution in exchange for their support of ratification efforts at the states’ conventions. Shortly after ratification of the US Constitution by the requisite number of states, the US Congress proposed to the states for their consideration of ratification of twelve amendments to the Constitution that would ensure the protection of civil rights and liberties as

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well as fair trial procedures and additional reinforcements of federalism. Ten of the proposed constitutional amendments were formally ratified in 1791 and inserted in the Constitution and have since been popularly styled as the Bill of Rights. The recognition in the Bill of Rights of select individual rights was originally intended to provide additional limits on the reach of the new national or federal government. In particular, the First Amendment contains limits on the federal government’s reach with regard to political and religious liberty: “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.” Recognition of these rights jointly with the constitutional institution of electoral representation assured the blossoming and continual flourishing of civil society’s “associational life,” whose ethos embraces both individual autonomy and voluntary participation in political and religious associations.36 The Article VI prohibition on religious tests already in the Constitution in conjunction with the addition of First Amendment political and religious rights has served as the basis for religious disestablishment at the national level. But given the constitutional boundaries of this containment structure, Madison noted, “the causes of faction cannot be removed,” since their removal would be more deleterious to the underlying logic of the political architecture’s philosophical commitment to liberty than would the presence of a faction itself; instead, he proposed “controlling its effects.”37 To control the potential of destructive effects of the factional imperative within the confines of this structure, he argued that the extensive political territory of the American republic would provide a practical solution to the problem. With its extensive territory, more numerous and diverse factions would be arrayed in competition for political influence. In this way, the large number of competitive factions would undermine the ability of any one of them to wield a disproportionate influence on legislative and administrative policymaking at the national level. According to Madison, “the multiplicity of [political] interests” and “the multiplicity of [religious] sects” within the containment structure would serve “to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.” With the inclusion of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution’s architecture ushered in a fundamental change in how religious liberty would be perceived—from expectations of social uniformity to freedom of individual

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and group autonomy—and cultivated—from policy directives by the state to market dynamics of choice. The political architects designed the Constitution’s containment structure with boundaries determined by a priori rights and liberties of conscience, speech, and association, to protect both personal and factional imperatives of individuals and groups as interpreted legally and juridically. Regardless of the intent and objectives of the imperatives in motion, Madison maintained that “the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights.”38 Thus, attempts through governmental laws and regulations to prohibit the formation and participation of political or religious interest groups in politics would not redound to the public interest “because an extinction of parties necessarily implies either a universal alarm for the public safety, or an absolute extinction of liberty.”39 In fact, with regard to church-state relations, the structural impediments put in place by American political architects were intended to prevent the federal government from establishing a favored Christian denomination while protecting the presence of religious associations as both a source of moral teaching in civil society and a source of political stability. More precisely, while the containment structure restrained but permitted religious participation and influence in the public square, it also protected religion from excessive governmental interference and control.

Fires of Faith The American republic’s formal disestablishment of religion at the national level had invigorated the liberal marketplace of religious ideas. The containment structure protected the church from encroachment by the state (i.e., the federal government) on religious matters of ecclesiastical structure and dogma, while, at the same time, it allowed the church to politicize its message and participate in the public square of democratic politics and policymaking. The increasingly vibrant religious marketplace expanded throughout the states and territories during the early years of the republic with only a few remaining vestiges of earlier establishments of religion. In 1833, Massachusetts became the final state to disestablish religion. By the time that the Second Great Awakening peaked in the 1830s, the previous dominant “market share” of religious adherents of the Congregationalist, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian denominations had been

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eclipsed by Catholics, Baptists, and Methodists, with additional considerable growth underway from alternative Christian sects.40 The formal separation of church and state alongside religious liberty and political pluralism caught the attention of keen observers of the American democratic republic who examined the constitutional experiment as to its sustainability. In 1831, while studying the active presence of religious associations and political activity throughout American civil society, Alexis de Tocqueville was well aware that “[r]eligions intimately united with the governments of the earth have been known to exercise sovereign power founded on terror and faith.”41 Tocqueville wondered if the United States might not befall the same fate, inasmuch as during his travels throughout the young nation, he noted a sympathetic attraction between religion and politics in American civil society: “Religious zeal is perpetually warmed in the United States by the fires of patriotism.”42 But he discovered in his discussions with clergy and laity of diverse religious faiths that “all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state.”43 His pessimism dissuaded, Tocqueville concluded that the constitutional commitment to religious disestablishment in favor of religious liberty had not only encouraged freedom of religious conscience, expression, and affiliation but actually enhanced political participation and stability. Even so, not dissimilar to the religious turmoil of the Reformation Era two centuries earlier, the broad boundaries of the American containment structure gave life, if only nominally contained, to another whirlwind of religious pluralism. Stimulated by the logic of the structure’s plenary acceptance of relatively unfettered rights of conscience and association, myriad proposed final causes furnished diverse interpretations for individual appropriation. American political and civil society increasingly reflected manifold facets of the factional imperative, with religious interests guided by a vast array of competing values and beliefs that pursued novel and competitive paths as they embraced the containment structure’s companion ethos of democratic politics. The structure’s constitutional limitations had only eviscerated formal establishments of religion but not deracinated their religious justification and appeal. Ironically, the containment structure had fostered an environment from which arose in civil society an unintended resurgence of widespread interest in religious establishmentarianism. Echoes of arguments from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of earlier religious proponents of

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the Christian commonwealth as the good society resonated once again in the religious marketplace. Competition rejuvenated the dream of a Christian nation whose reveries successfully monopolized the religious market’s imagination. In addition, the containment structure’s regulatory framework that protected religious pluralism in the marketplace facilitated ideational competition. Its laissez-faire ethos of religious self-identification tacitly encouraged citizens to explore alternative religious and political possibilities, establish new denominations and parties, or organize faithbased associations and coalitions. Democratic politics offered the opportunity and thus the possibility for religious factions to enhance their presence in the public square and influence the direction of pertinent legislation, public policy formation by governmental agencies, and policy implementation by private-sector organizations. By the late nineteenth century, the dynamics of religious liberty and Christian nationalist associations in civil and political society—in an attempt to restore Christianity’s once privileged political status—succeeded in evolving toward a de facto privileged position. Increasingly positive responses in federal legislation and policies as well as court decisions reflected the monopoly’s motivational presuppositions that “Protestant Christianity is one of the pillars of a well-ordered society, and that government properly may act to encourage belief in this version of Christianity.”44

De Facto Establishment In the eighteenth century, American political cultural witnessed a growing affinity between select religious and philosophical aspects of Protestantism and the Enlightenment as they pertained to individual autonomy and the creation of the good society. The Protestant doctrine of personal salvation by faith and grace contributed to American political culture’s recognition of the equal dignity of each human being.45 In addition, the gospel’s beatitudine teachings associated with caring for one’s neighbors and building a sense of community influenced Protestants to pay greater attention to the promotion of social improvement programs. As well, the increasing influence of Enlightenment principles associated with a priori individual rights and the importance of republican civic virtue progressively found political expression in the public square.46 The fusion of Protestant and Enlightenment commitments regarding individual and society energized the dynamics of the factional imperative of social and

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political engagement within the democratic confines of American political architecture’s containment structure. By the Second Great Awakening, from the end of the eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century, the synergism of Protestant and Enlightenment values sparked “a nationwide campaign to transform American law and politics through the lens of evangelical Christianity. It was in this era that the claim that the United States is a ‘Christian nation’ first seriously took root.”47 Among many premillennialist and postmillennialist Protestants, civic engagement premised on religious and secular commitments to individualism to enhance the common good had reignited their long-sought objectives, whose atavistic dreams of a Christian commonwealth seemed within reach. The millennial character of their political theologies revealed a “passion for justice” and anticipated “the absolute eradication of evil— corruption, violence, oppression—and the wondrous bliss of the just kingdom of the good.”48 Furthermore, the fusion of cultural values and interests, practical objectives and coalitions, and resources and organizations had not only resurrected the possibility of an establishment of religion, but revealed that the practical viability of its instauration could forego the formality of legislative or constitutional processes. Ironically, the containment structure’s tacit encouragement of religious and political activism had generated such public acknowledgment and acceptance that Madison’s fear of the establishment, if de facto, of a “national religion” appeared to have been realized. Evangelical denominations and sects—as a collective de facto Protestant establishment—were increasingly involved in efforts to improve various social ills throughout the country, including attempts to replace secular curricula with religious instruction in public schools. In fact, “In an era when the state did relatively little for education, evangelicals were to a large extent the educators of America.”49 The moral and religious content of the curricula typically comprised Protestant doctrine and employed Protestant Bibles under public school boards that tended to be dominated by Protestants. To complement educational reform efforts, evangelicals often formed benevolent societies to disseminate Bibles and tracts of Protestant Christian teachings in their efforts to evangelize students. In tandem with promoting evangelical Protestantism, the societies were also intent on undermining the secular influence of the new science of the axiological foundation of the religious axis. The foundation had influenced the political

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evolution toward disestablishmentarianism particularly during and subsequent to the successful outcome of the American Revolution. Charismatic preachers called for the creation of benevolent societies to reform civil society and act as a “moral militia” to awaken the public and disseminate “moral instruction.”50 Answering the call, the American Bible Society, established in 1816, announced that it intended to combat the false philosophy of “reason and liberality” of the revolutionary era. The society perceived secular cultural values as “attempting to seduce mankind from all which can bless the life that is, or shed a cheering radiance on the life that is to come.”51 To eradicate secular values, it provided schools with newly printed and more accurate editions of the King James Bible along with printing plates to be distributed throughout the country.52 But in addition to combatting revolutionary secularism, another foe had entered the political-religious arena.

Religious Conflict During the nineteenth century, too, Catholic organizations had successfully increased the faith’s share of adherents in the religious marketplace. Whereas the number of Catholic adherents in 1850 comprised only 5% of the population, by 1890 the number of adherents had increased to 12% of the population.53 By mid-century, contested issues of an approved Bible and acceptable biblical interpretations in the public schools encountered serious interreligious disputes and resistance as Protestants lamented the influx of Catholic immigrants who arrived with a different Bible and an alternative Christianity. Catholics were often characterized by many in the de facto religious establishment as unable to assimilate due to the “dominant Protestant culture” and thus represented a threat to American Christian civilization.54 In addition, by 1860, the de facto establishment encountered yet another threat to its hegemony, this time from within. The social and political activism of Baptists, Unitarians, Congregationalists, Methodists, and Presbyterians, among others, forced religious denominations and sects to engage in increasingly acrimonious and partisan national debates over the moral legitimacy of slavery.55 Sectional rivalries between North and South had spilled over into religious rivalries regarding disputes on how to perceive and address the issue.56 Competing religious publications highlighted biblical passages to criticize slaveholders for their participation in the practice, while slaveholders similarly cited scriptures from the same Bible to support the racial core of their institutional slavery. As the

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debates raged and schisms split national denominations over the issue, the increasing religious animosity revealed a disturbing side of the promise of American pluralism: The containment structure’s tolerance of the deleterious consequences of the factional imperative motivated by political and religious zeal led to the nation’s inability to achieve a political solution. The lack of religious consensus on the preservation, reduction, or abolition of slavery increased sectional rivalries as well, which ultimately contributed to a devastating civil war that threatened the preservation of the United States itself. The extraordinarily high cost in human casualties, destruction of towns and cities, massive economic dislocation, and disruption of the fraternal fabric of society hastened many religious denominations and sects to reevaluate their role in civil society. As the devastation of the Civil War finally drew to a close, evangelical leaders and denominations with heightened senses of religious moralism began to reflect on the necessity of restoring the social and moral health of American civil society. In their deliberations, they sought a more effective method than reliance solely on the factional imperative of interest-group behavior to refresh the promise of a Christian society. To reinvigorate the de facto Protestant establishment as the moral and religious core of society, they concluded that only a singular nationwide approach would be able to return American society to the original religious path of achieving its Puritan promise as a “city upon a hill,” a beacon of righteousness before the rest of the world. Theological rationale for justifying a national approach to religious and political unity found its origins in Dutch Calvinism in the tradition of Presbyterian and Reformed Christianity. Among many theologians of the era, Rev. Archibald Alexander Hodge, a popular Reformed Presbyterian minister and theologian at Princeton Theological Seminary, widely promulgated his lectures that explicated Calvinist political theology. The spiritual, moral, and political content of A. A. Hodge’s theology proclaimed that the founders of earlier political regimes, including those of “Calvin, William of Orange, Cromwell and the Presbyterian and Congregational founders of the government of the United States, and all the great creators of modern civil liberty, were Calvinists.”57 In fact, Hodge pointed out, “You take up this [U.S. C]onstitution and subject it to a logical unfolding, and you have in it, of course, all possible [Calvinist] theology… [, including] provisions for the redemption of men which can be exhibited under this form, logically and unvaryingly.”58 Inasmuch as

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the founders of the American republic were Calvinists and the Constitution embraced Calvinist political theology, he argued, American society must be aware of and acknowledge that the theology itself proclaims that this political foundation exists. It exists, Hodge explained, by the grace of “the crown-rights of Jesus the King of men … [who ordained] the precious Christian civilization … [with] its sacred franchise, religious liberty, [which] cannot be retained by men who in civil matters deny their allegiance to the King.”59 Furthermore, Hodge deduced, if Jesus holds the crown rights, he exercises “original and immediate jurisdiction over the State,” and thus, those who deny or neglect the lordship of Christ and refuse to rely on the Bible as the basis of the state’s laws “must be followed by political and social as well as by moral and religious ruin.”60 In fact, he perceived that the ruination of America was on the horizon due to the public schools’ secular education, which had increasingly been teaching children the “monstrous propagandism of Naturalism and Atheism.”61 Hodge predicted that if the nation’s public schools continued appeasing Protestants and Catholics by teaching the religious content of both religions, placating Jews who objected to the teaching of Christianity altogether, and listening to atheists and agnostics who opposed any religion being taught at all, these policies “will be the most efficient and wide instrument for the propagation of Atheism which the world has ever seen.”62 Although the notion of Madison’s dreaded “national religion” had moved successfully and favorably into the public square, evangelistic efforts to convert elected representatives and policymakers to continue America’s de facto establishment of Protestant Christianity, as defended by Hodge and other Calvinist theologians, still fell short of success. Inasmuch as the nation’s secular government still permitted immoral practices and institutions to proliferate throughout society, proponents of the biblical worldview perceived the boundaries of the containment structure of American political architecture as in need of restructuring. For many Protestant denominations, the only remedy left to save the nation and avoid God’s displeasure would be a constitutional and comprehensive solution that would formally Christianize America. One approach that appeared promising to effect a transition of the United States away from its revolutionary foundation would be via constitutional amendment.

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Christian Amendment On January 27, 1864, representatives of several Reformed Presbyterian congregations, whose theologies reflected Dutch Calvinism on society and politics, formed the National Association for the Amendment of the Constitution. The Association claimed that an amendment was necessary due to a critical failure of the delegates who had participated in the Federal Convention of 1787. As a result of the prominence of the “secular theory of civil government” that overshadowed their thinking as they wrote the Constitution, the delegates had ignored acknowledgment of God.63 Consequently, the delegates failed to build their constitutional edifice in accordance with recognition that Jesus Christ is the ruler of all nations and God’s revealed word has supremacy in civil affairs. It was now imperative that the Constitution “contain explicit evidence of the Christian character and purpose of the nation which frames it.”64 If the Constitution continues without any formal recognition of the crown rights of Jesus and the necessity of revealed biblical moral law as the source of national laws and policies, the Association maintained, the United States would continue to suffer devastating social calamities. The National Association proposed that the Preamble to the Constitution be amended to ensure that national laws and policies “acknowledge God, submit to the authority of his Son, embrace Christianity, and secure universal liberty.”65 A month later, a delegation from the Association met with President Abraham Lincoln to seek his endorsement. Although Lincoln cautiously agreed to further consideration of their proposed amendment, he took no further action.66 Similarly, few US Senators were in support of the Association’s proposal, nor did Congress hold a vote on it. In 1875, the National Association changed its name to the National Reform Association as it continued to promote the necessity of a Christian amendment as the only means left to stem the destructive tide of secularism, which it believed had brought divine retribution upon the United States throughout the nineteenth century. While not advocating the formal establishment of a particular Christian denomination or sect, the Reform Association argued that a Christian amendment to the Constitution would avoid the negative social consequences of secularism by assuring that the development of public law would reflect the “moral laws of the Christian religion.”67

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When the Reform Association disbanded in 1945, the National Association of Evangelicals continued the Association’s efforts in publically supporting of a Christian amendment by which “this nation devoutly recognizes the authority and law of Jesus Christ, Savior and Ruler of all nations.”68 Calvinist political theology as promulgated by A. A. Hodge, Abraham Kuyper, and other Reformed theologians during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has continued to serve as the basis for various versions of a Christian amendment. Since 1947, at least 55 such proposals to amend the Preamble of the US Constitution have been introduced in Congress for consideration.69 In fact, significant popular support for a Christian amendment continues in American society. In 2013, 32% of Americans were in favor of “a Constitutional amendment which would make Christianity the official religion of the United States.”70 Contemporary supporters of a Christian amendment have called attention to the increase in national and international calamities that have befallen the United States and the world since 1890, including two world wars and the war on terrorism.71 They interpret these calamities and other “cultural atrocities” as God’s wrath for the sins of Christians who are not “convinced of the crown rights of King Jesus,” and thus, they neglect the necessity of a “Christian presence underlying civil government, [which is] absolutely necessary to maintain a minimum civic morality.”72 However, other evangelical Christians are less pessimistic regarding the direction of American society. Raymond Joseph, Senior Pastor of Southfield Reformed Presbyterian Church in Michigan, asserts that God is aware of religious conservatives who are finally beginning to awaken to biblical teachings regarding the role of civil government and the crucial ideals that it implements: “Jesus Christ is Lord of the state and His Word is the basis of civil law.”73 He believes that God has now begun to exercise patience and withhold the punishment of greater catastrophes. With new-found optimism, many of those who proclaim and are politically active in promulgating Christian influence in public policies are now calling for a renewal of evangelistic efforts to assist Christians in gaining a proper understanding of the moral teachings and civil intent of biblical scriptures. They advocate the return of a robust Christian presence in American society to reduce restrictions on religious expression in nearly all venues of life. As with any interest group, faith-based organizations also behave out of self-interest and are driven by the factional imperative within the containment structure of American political architecture. And, as with many

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secular interest groups, faith-based organizations often confront the containment structure’s boundaries—based on the political foundation of the religious axis—and find them to be stultifying and unreasonable in practice or even punitive and in violation of other constitutional norms and legal considerations. Inspired by Reformed political theology’s endorsement of a biblical worldview that mandates closer ties between church and state, conservative evangelical Christians have committed considerable resources to inculcate the biblical worldview’s presuppositions in American culture and politics. Given their objective to weaken the boundaries of the containment structure to facilitate reification of the dream of a Christianized America, their efforts have generally proceeded—whether individually or collectively—with two political offenses: expansion of religious liberty and evangelization of political leaders.

Expanding Religious Liberty David Green funded the construction of the Museum of the Bible, which opened in 2017, to house his collection of 44,000 artifacts of biblical antiquity. In an attempt to educate political decision makers in the nation’s capital, the biblical narrative underlying Green’s museum emphasizes his interpretation of the history of Christianity and the importance of realizing a Christian America. In addition to funding the museum’s construction, Green also steadily funds various policy and advocacy organizations on the Christian Right.74 In fact, in 2012, he had become “the largest individual donor to evangelical causes in America. … Forbes Magazine estimates his lifetime giving at upwards of $500 million.”75 In addition to Green and his family, other wealthy evangelical families have contributed financially to umbrella religious organizations, such as the National Christian Foundation, that distribute their receipt of contributions to numerous evangelical ministries as well as conservative political and social causes that adopt an evangelical biblical worldview.76 The causes and organizations that Green has financially sustained through the National Christian Foundation have primarily involved legal foundations and firms, such as the Christian Law Association, whose legal efforts have focused on broadening constructivist interpretations of the First Amendment and its derivative case law findings to expand the range of religious liberty. The primary objective of such foundations and their legal efforts is to facilitate the ability of Christians to increasingly occupy the center of the public square as well as penetrate deeply within the administrative state.77 In addition to challenging government regulations and policies that appear to prohibit an individual’s free exercise of religion,

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another legal assistance organization, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), also defends Christian-owned businesses whose owners perceive that their own religious liberties are threatened via government economic regulations. In 2013, the ADF represented David Green—the owner (not president) of his family-held business, Hobby Lobby, Inc.—when he sued the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). His suit sought to invalidate a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that required business employers to cover some contraceptive costs of their employees for whom they had provided health insurance. Under the guidance of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which had earlier instructed that “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability,”78 HHS had exempted “churches, integrated auxiliaries, and religious orders with religious objections; as well as nonprofit organizations with religious or moral objections” from the ACA’s contraceptive mandate.79 However, in the suit brought by Green—Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014)—the ADF legal team ultimately argued before the US Supreme Court that the HHS exemptions violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, inasmuch as the list of exemptions insufficiently met the full array of possible church-state conflicts implied by the RFRA’s instruction. In its interpretation of the implications of the RFRA’s instruction, the team asserted that HHS erred in ignoring the possibility of additional settings beyond those of churches and nonprofit organizations where other legitimate considerations of religious exemptions may also be found. In its decision, the Supreme Court agreed with Green and the ADF and held that, “[a]s applied to closely held corporations, the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA.”80 According to the Court’s opinion, the regulations’ set of possible exemptions was incomplete: “[N]o conceivable definition of ‘person’ includes natural persons and nonprofit corporations, but not for-profit corporations.” A landmark case, the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby represented the first time that the US Supreme Court has recognized a for-profit business as possessing corporate religious rights under the First Amendment: “Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.”81 In the short term, Green’s legal victory expanded the range of religious liberty beyond the boundaries set by HHS exemptions—that had typically

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been limited to churches and other nonprofit religious organizations—to include for-profit businesses. For the long term, Green’s legal victory opened another dimension for nationwide evangelical efforts to redefine and broaden the containment structure’s boundaries of the legitimate presence of religious considerations in policymaking. Inasmuch as the structure also includes democratic elections of representatives to state legislatures and Congress, the representatives can determine public policy objectives and write legislation that, more importantly, may set and modify the contours of political legitimacy of the structure itself. Thus, with a critical mass of popularly-elected evangelized representatives and other political leaders, changing the contours may be modified more quickly and drastically to reach the final cause of the evangelical biblical worldview.

Evangelizing Political Leaders In 1996, Ralph Drollinger, a popular, evangelical sports figure, lamented the plethora of Christian ministries that “lobby for Biblical policy in the seats of government,” while there exists a “near absence of present-day ministries aimed at reaching political leaders.”82 Evangelical Christians have too often interpreted the scriptures as primarily a source of diverse approaches to solve moral or social problems, Drollinger complained, while the more crucial scriptural teaching “is sadly missing in modern church methodology.” They fail to appreciate the general and foundational thrust of God’s intention for “His people to become a light to the Gentile nations.”83 To reverse this lack of appreciation, Drollinger used his celebrity status to found Capitol Ministries in Washington, DC, an alternative evangelical ministry “to reach Public Servants for Christ at every stop along their career paths, beginning with their first local [sic] elected or appointed positions and following as they ascend to higher office.”84 Today, Drollinger’s ministry has also established satellite ministries in 43 American state capitals, with affiliated ministries in other states, and internationally in the capitals of more than 20 countries.85 Capitol Ministries proclaims that they are nearing the ability to “to deliver the Gospel to every public servant, in every capitol [sic] every year!”86 To disseminate the insights of his political-theological framework in the nation’s capital, Drollinger’s ministry conducts weekly Bible study sessions in Senate offices of the US Capitol, the private Capitol Hill Club

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for Republican lawmakers, or other venues for elective officeholders and appointed government leaders. Current Christian evangelical sponsors of his study sessions include Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States; Mike Pompeo, Secretary of the US Department of State; Betsy DeVos, Secretary of the US Department of Education; Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture; Ben Carson, Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development; and Rick Perry, former Secretary of the US Department of Energy; among other present and former members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet. In addition, several members of the US Congress currently sponsor the sessions, including 10 US Senators and 41 US Representatives.87 In conformity with the purpose of Capitol Ministries, Drollinger affirms that the intent of the Bible study sessions is “not to lobby for Biblically-based legislation (as important as that is) but to reach legislators for Christ and build them up in the faith.”88 Drollinger’s political theology ensued from his earlier observations of the paucity of Christian ministries that focus their gospel outreach programs specifically designed for political leaders. To meet this ministerial need, he has adopted a more appropriate hermeneutic to interpret the moral imperatives of biblical scriptures. Were other ministries to apply his hermeneutic, it would reveal to them a critical deficiency: “The proposition that there is a missing mandate in modern missions today—that of reaching political leaders as a first priority.”89 Drollinger’s Bible study sessions are guided by a utilitarian hermeneutic to interpret scriptures according to the Great Commission’s priority, which commands Christians to take the Gospel to the political leaders of all nations. To maximize the utility of the Great Commission, Drollinger stresses that a “ministry of geometric evangelism and discipleship” should focus more on political leaders and less on particularly, troubling political issues.90 Given that “political leaders set the tone for the nation,” Drollinger exclaims, “they need to have preferential treatment in Church missiology!”91 Evangelical conversions of policymakers who then put Christ and his teachings first will be in a better position to create a “Christ-like culture” based on the “presupposition of freedom.”92 In efforts to Christianize public policymaking and implementation, Drollinger further contends that lawmakers as “Christian Public Servants” must begin their deliberations guided by the moral laws of the Old Testament. In fact, “[t]he essence of the 10 Commandments and the Levitical code,” he contends, “have been the basis of American law

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ever since the foundation of our great and prosperous nation—and have served the nation well.”93 And, historically as well as globally, Drollinger points out, Jesus and the apostles’ reaffirmation in the New Testament of the Mosaic Law has occupied the political core of historical Christianity, which has served as “the basis of societal structure and overall civility today.” Resonating with earlier political-theological formal causes of such Reformed Christian luminaries as Benjamin Colman, A. A. Hodge, Abraham Kuyper, and Cornelius Van Til, he too concludes, “the Moral Law of the O[ld] T[estament] is applicable for today as a reliable informant for civil government leaders in their lawmaking. In fact, the Moral Law is and should remain the basis of civil government lawmaking today.”94 As they designed the constitutional framework of the American republic, the political architects built on the political foundation of the religious axis, which consisted of commitments to a priori individual rights, political and religious pluralism, and democratic access to policymaking institutions. These commitments continue to serve as the normative building materials of the constitutional structure to maintain an equilibrium that permits and encourages religious liberty, political rights, and voluntary associations to flourish while containing the fires of faith. Nevertheless, the contours of the containment structure have begun to shift, as the whirlwind of the factional imperative of evangelical religious pluralism who favor a return to church-state collusion of classical political architecture increasingly batters the structure’s boundaries, thus threatening the structural capacity of American political architecture.

Notes 1. Donald J. Trump, “Presidential Proclamation on National Day of Prayer,” The White House, Washington, DC, April 30, 2019, https://www. whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-nationalday-prayer-2019/ (accessed May 11, 2019; capitalization emphasis original). 2. Paula White, “Jonathan Cain and Paula White at the 2019 National Day of Prayer,” @4:57–6:53, published May 3, 2019, https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=Y1al23y-WUs/ (accessed May 11, 2019). 3. George Washington, “Thanksgiving Proclamation,” New York, October 3, 1789, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-0402-0091/ (accessed May 11, 2019). 4. Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to Rev. Samuel Miller,” Washington, DC, January 23, 1808, https://www.loc.gov/resource/mtj1.040_0811_0812/? sp=1&st=text/ (accessed May 11, 2019), 1 (modern spelling and grammar applied).

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5. Ibid. 6. James Madison, “Proclamation of Day of Fasting and Prayer,” Washington, DC, July 9, 1812, https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/ presidential-speeches/july-9-1812-proclamation-day-fasting-and-prayer/ (accessed May 11, 2019). 7. George Washington, “Letter to James Madison,” New York, May 5, 1789, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Madison/01-12-020082 (accessed November 17, 2019) (modern spelling and punctuation applied). 8. Idem, “Detached Memoranda,” in Elizabeth Fleet, “Madison’s ‘Detatched Memoranda’,” William and Mary Quarterly 3, no. 4 (October, 1946): 554–62. 9. Ibid., 554 (modern spelling and grammar applied). 10. Ibid., 555 (modern spelling and grammar applied). 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid., 555–60. 13. Ibid., 560 (modern spelling and grammar applied). 14. Ibid., 561. 15. American Presidency Project, “Proclamations (Washington 1789–Trump 2018),” https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/presidentialdocuments-archive-guidebook/proclamations-washington-1789-trump2018/ (accessed May 24, 2019). 16. National Day of Prayer, 36 U.S. Code §119, https://codes.findlaw. com/us/title-36-patriotic-and-national-observances-ceremonies-andorganizations/36-usc-sect-119.html/ (accessed 30 April 2019). 17. National Day of Prayer Task Force, https://nationaldayofprayer.org/ theme-verse/ (accessed 4 May 2019). 18. John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983), 54–55. 19. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1973), pt. 2, ch. 30, p. 179. 20. Alexander Hamilton, “Federalist Paper No. 9,” in The Federalist Papers, ed. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay (New York: New American Library, 1961), 72. 21. Hobbes, Leviathan, pt. 1, ch. 3, p. 9 (modern spelling applied; emphasis original). 22. Ibid., pt. 1, ch. 11, p. 49 (modern spelling applied). 23. Hamilton, “Federalist Paper No. 6,” 54. 24. Idem, “Federalist Paper No. 15,” 110. 25. James Madison, “Federalist Paper No. 10,” in The Federalist Papers, ed. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay (New York: New American Library, 1961), 78. 26. Ibid., 79.

6

27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.

33.

34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

41. 42. 43. 44.

45. 46. 47. 48.

49. 50.

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Ibid., 79. Ibid., 84. Ibid., 81. Idem, “Federalist Paper No. 49,” 317 (emphases original). Idem, “Federalist Paper No. 10,” 77. George Mason, “Objections to the Constitution of Government Formed by the Convention,” in The Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History, ed. Michael Kammen (New York: Penguin Books, 1986), 255. “Letters from a Federal Farmer, IV,” in The Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History, ed. Michael Kammen (New York: Penguin Books, 1986), 292–93. Hamilton, “Federalist Paper No. 84,” 515 (capitalization emphasis original). Ibid., 513–14. Michael Edwards, Civil Society, 3rd ed. (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2014), 18–20, 24, 29. Madison, “Federalist Paper No. 10,” 78. Idem, “Federalist Paper No. 51,” 324. Idem, “Federalist Paper No. 50,” 320. Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, The Churching of America, 1776–1990: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992), 54–56. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 2 vols., trans. Henry Reeve (New York: Vintage Books, 1945), 1:321. Ibid., 317. Ibid., 319. Frederick Mark Gedicks, The Rhetoric of Church and State: A Critical Analysis of Religion Clause Jurisprudence (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995), 17. H. Mark Roelofs, The Poverty of American Politics: A Theoretical Interpretation, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: Temple University press, 1998), 33–36. Gedicks, Rhetoric of Church and State, 17. Geoffrey R. Stone, “The Second Great Awakening: A Christian Nation?” Georgia State University Law Review 26 (Summer 2010): 1307. Richard Landes, “Millenarianism and the Dynamics of Apocalyptic Time,” in Expecting the End: Millennialism in Social and Historical Context, ed. Kenneth G. C. Newport and Crawford Gribben (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006), 3, cf. 4. George M. Marsden, Religion and American Culture (Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, 1990), 55. Stone, “Second Great Awakening,” 1312.

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51. “Forming the American Bible Society (1816),” in Critical Issues in American Religious History: A Reader, 2nd rev. ed., ed. Robert R. Mathisen (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006), 181. 52. Ibid., 179. 53. Finke and Stark, Churching of America, 114. 54. Sylvester A. Johnson, “The Bible, Slavery, and the Problem of Authority,” in Beyond Slavery: Overcoming Its Religious and Sexual Legacies, ed. Bernadette J. Brooten (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 236. 55. Ibid. 56. Marsden, Religion and American Culture, 63–64. 57. Archibald Alexander Hodge, “Predestination,” in Popular Lectures on Theological Themes (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1887), 162. 58. Idem, “God’s Covenants with Man—The Church,” 204. 59. Idem, “The Kingly Office of Christ,” 287. 60. Ibid., 285. 61. Ibid., 286. 62. Ibid., 280–81. 63. David McAllister, The National Reform Movement: Its History and Principles: A Manual of Christian Civil Government (Philadelphia: Aldine Press, 1890), 23–24. 64. Ibid., 7. 65. Andrew Myers, “The National Reform Association,” The Log College Press, January 27, 2018, https://www.logcollegepress.com/blog/2018/ 1/26/the-national-reform-association/ (accessed 4 May 2019). 66. Morton Borden, “The Christian Amendment,” Civil War History 25, no. 2 (June 1979): 160–63. 67. McAllister, National Reform Movement, 28. 68. American Presidency Project. 69. Ibid. 70. Huffington Post, “Omnibus Poll,” April 3–4, 2013, http://big.assets. huffingtonpost.com/toplines_churchstate_0403042013.pdf/ (accessed May 21, 2019). 71. Raymond Joseph, “A Look at National Reform Association History,” The Christian Statesman 145, no. 4 (July–August 2002), https://web. archive.org/web/20050206233758/http://www.natreformassn.org/ statesman/02/nrahist.html/ (accessed May 21, 2019). 72. Ibid. 73. Ibid. 74. Philip Rojc, “Path to Power: Who Funds the Religious Right?” Inside Philanthropy, August 13, 2017, https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/ home/2017/1/17/giving-to-glorify-god-who-funds-the-religious-right/ (accessed August 19, 2018).

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75. Brian Solomon, “Meet David Green: Hobby Lobby’s Biblical Billionaire,” Forbes, September 18, 2012, https://www.forbes.com/sites/ briansolomon/2012/09/18/david-green-the-biblical-billionaire-backingthe-evangelical-movement/#10b8257c5807/ (accessed August 19, 2018). 76. For a list influential families, see Rojc, “Path to Power,” https://www. insidephilanthropy.com/home/2017/1/17/giving-to-glorify-god-whofunds-the-religious-right/ (accessed August 19, 2018). 77. Jennifer S. Butler, Born Again: The Christian Right Globalized (Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2006), 158. 78. Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S. Code § 2000bb1—Free Exercise of Religion Protected, https://www.law.cornell.edu/ uscode/text/42/2000bb%E2%80%931/ (accessed August 21, 2018). 79. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “FACT SHEET: Religious and Moral Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act [revised],” https://search.hhs.gov/search?q=religious+exemptions+from+ this+contraceptive+mandate&HHS=Search&site=HHS&entqr=3&ud=1& sort=date%3AD%3AL%3Ad1&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF8&lr=lang_en&client=HHS&proxystylesheet=hhshealthcare&filter=0/ (accessed August 21, 2018). 80. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 573 U. S. 2 (2014). 81. Ibid., 3; cf. 2–4, 18. 82. Ralph Drollinger, Rebuilding America: The Biblical Blueprint (Ventura, CA: Nordskog, 2016), 30. 83. Ibid., 31. 84. Capitol Ministries, “Strategy,” http://capmin.org/about/strategy/ (accessed May 17, 2019). 85. Idem, 2018 Annual Report, https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/ 1084778-2018-annual-report/17?m4=/ (accessed May 17, 2019). 86. Idem, “About Capitol Ministries,” https://capmin.org/about/ (accessed May 17, 2019). 87. Ralph Drollinger, “Better Understanding,” Members Bible Study Newsletter, 1. 88. Idem, Rebuilding America, 4. 89. Idem, Oaks in Office: Biblical Essays for Political Leaders, vol. 1 (Ventura, CA: Nordskog, 2018), 17. 90. Idem, Rebuilding America, 9. 91. Ibid., 62. 92. Ibid., 65–66. 93. Idem, Newsletter, 8. 94. Ibid., 11.

CHAPTER 7

Paradoxes

For more than 230 years, the American republic under the US Constitution of 1787 as amended has afforded and maintained a containment structure to assure the political stability of the nation and the equal protection of those who reside within its legal jurisdiction. The political architects who founded the republic, designed its constitutional framework, and built the structure were well-versed as well as participated in the interwoven matrix of intellectual nuances and methodological approaches that composed the philosophical foundations of the religious axis. The containment structure of American political architecture has been a beneficiary of the twists and turns of the axis’s interconnected epistemic, axiological, and political philosophical foundations. The boundaries of the containment structure were intended simultaneously to permit but restrain the exploration and development of diverse facets of political and religious pluralism. To this end, the boundaries prohibit formal establishment of religion, but guarantee freedom and expression of conscience; prefer religious liberty over religious toleration; and recognize the presence and legitimacy of the factional imperative. Specifically, with regard to religion, the boundaries attempt to contain—but not extinguish—potentially destructive fires of faith. Thus during the revolutionary era, the philosophical foundations of the religious axis had prepared the intellectual groundwork for American political architecture’s construction of a potentially long-lasting, stable, and peaceful political regime. But as the containment structure of the © The Author(s) 2020 J. R. Pottenger, Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis, Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33974-6_7

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American republic has forged ahead with its commitment to the philosophical claims of the epistemic, axiological, and political foundations, it has left in its wake irresolvable paradoxes that have provided the means by which the structure’s own existence may be threatened.

Structural Paradox Early in the American experience, the necessity of a relationship between religion and politics had been taken for granted, but proposals on how to configure the relationship generated considerable reflection, particularly in terms of the impact on both religion and politics—depending on the initial mix between the two. From his understanding of scriptural wisdom, Roger Williams feared the possibility that a mixture of Christianity thoroughly blended with secular politics would dilute the former, and thus the gospel message would lose its distinctively spiritual presence. Instead, Williams favored a “hedge or wall of Separation between the Garden of the Church and the Wilderness of the world” to protect Christians and Christianity from the spiritually debilitating diversions of a profane world.1 Today, however, many of his religious heirs of the evangelical Christian tradition believe that the wall must be breached and the gospel message politically disseminated to transform American secular society into a godly garden. If successful, the distinctive presence of Christianity would then overshadow politics in the mix of the two. During the generation following the design and construction of the American republic’s containment structure, minority religious denominations and sects were still fearful of collusion between church and state if a popular denomination were to find its way into the halls of political power. The existential issue before them was assurance that the structure’s wall would hold. In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut in response to their query on this issue. Jefferson voiced confidence in the containment structure’s ability to enforce its boundaries to protect the religious liberty of all denominations and sects. Employing Williams’s metaphor, he assured them that the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment had erected “a wall of separation between church and state.”2 Later in a response to John Adams, who had expressed similar concerns to those of the Baptists, Jefferson again proclaimed that a “Protestant popedom” had been formally prohibited by the US Constitution.3 In accord with Adams’s apprehensions, George Washington too had earlier reflected on

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the current state of religious turmoil, and, while doing so, discerned a peculiar defect in Williams’s and Jefferson’s wall. During his first term as president, Washington wrote a letter to Sir Edward Newenham, an Irish politician and friend, wherein he confided his misgivings in the design of the containment structure: “Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause; and I was not without hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy of the present age would have put an effectual stop to contentions of this kind.”4 When writing his letter, Washington had witnessed a new plague of religious controversies and contentions that had broken out during the Second Great Awakening. Historian Donald G. Mathews describes the social and political effects of this Awakening that had begun in the late eighteenth century as “characterized by unity, as well as organization, and demonstrated the dynamics of a movement.”5 The movement’s charismatic religious preachers and leaders were traveling throughout the country, organizing thousands of followers into smaller groups as they disseminated teachings critical of other religious leaders as well as political elites. Their efforts were successful, says Mathews, in making “normative the evangelical ideal of egalitarianism and the democratic prejudice of anti-intellectualism.”6 The enlightened and liberal policy of the containment structure—Article VI of the Constitution prohibiting religious tests for public service and the First Amendment prohibiting an establishment of religion while guaranteeing religious liberty—appeared to Washington to have paradoxically exacerbated religious conflict while attempting to calm political and religious anxieties and dispel fears of an open society as promised by the structure’s inherent logic. He had presciently foreseen the possibility that religious movements in an open and free society would employ other means afforded by the structure through which a favored denomination of Christianity may return to the privileged position that sectarian religion had enjoyed before the Revolution. Since its construction in the revolutionary era, the containment structure has endured considerable pressure emanating from within American civil society as well as organizing and petitioning in the public square. The early Puritan dream of a Christian commonwealth has continued to resonate through the centuries. In the nineteenth century, evangelical millennial groups were among those who criticized national and state

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governments for their failure to implement policies that reflected the beneficial effects of religion in forming a virtuous citizenry. To keep the dream alive, they disseminated literature, preached sermons, conducted camp meetings, and proselytized among new immigrants to restore the political-theological promise of the Puritans.7 The religiously-neutral containment structure continues to provide the necessary framework that embraces the factional imperative by which political organizations and religious movements may realize their aspirations. Religious movements may continue to promulgate a particular biblical worldview to replace the philosophical foundations of the religious axis, advocate religious solutions to resolve moral issues of public policy, organize religious associations and political coalitions, and gather significant resources with which to gain access to political leaders and public policymakers. And pressure continues to mount on the structure as organized religious interests successfully seek expansion, if not removal, of its boundaries that restrain the unbridled messianic and expansionist zeal of particular religious ventures. The paradox of containment in fact comprises a set of intertwined paradoxes that collectively facilitate the creation of powerful challenges to the sustainability of the containment structure itself.

Democracy’s Antidemocracy The containment structure of American political architecture effectively mixes concepts of political and religious pluralism with representative government, which yields the paradox of democracy’s antidemocracy: The practice of democracy through majority rule can stifle the very pluralism that occupies the core of American representative democracy. On the one hand, political pluralism gives representative democracy its raison d’être, as James Madison noted: “Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires.”8 The factional imperative of political and religious pluralism drives political organizations and religious movements to organize and participate in electoral politics. As they find themselves restrained by the constraints of the containment structure, they attempt to expand their presence in legislative efforts and public policymaking to sway zero-sum outcomes disproportionately to their benefit while to the detriment of others. On the other hand, absolute majority rule may also become a raging fire that exhausts the air of democracy, which is essential to sustain its

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own life. And, as a consequence of this paradox, a particular denomination or coalition of denominations and sects will likely behave as Madison had predicted—“adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community”9 —and thus be capable of returning a particular religious confession to a non-democratic privileged position by way of democratically elected representatives in American politics.

Madisonian Paradox(es) The containment structure’s broad boundaries to corral the frenzied dynamics of pluralism depend on a relatively adequate, if cumbersome, mechanism that nevertheless accommodates politically questionable effects of its factional imperative. It permits, if not tacitly encourages, religious presence and influence in the public square. The two radical values of the Revolution—the twin liberties of politics and religion—that had prepared the way for the birth of the American republic have become solidly established within the general if vague protection furnished by the republic’s secular Constitution. It also permits the expansionary dynamics of Thomas Hobbes’s grasp of human nature to include the self-interested behavior of groups, from which another paradox emerges: The paradox of rationality as irrationality, when rational self-interest leads to collective irrationality. To control the destructive effects of the factional imperative within the confines of this rationality-irrationality structure, Madison argued that the extensive political territory of the republic would provide a practical solution to the problem. With its extensive territory, more numerous and diverse factions would be arrayed in competition for influence. Accordingly, “the multiplicity of [political] interests” and “the multiplicity of [religious] sects” within the containment structure would serve “to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.”10 In other words, as a corollary of the rationality-irrationality paradox, another paradox of an inverse proportionality obtains: An increase in the multiplicity of religious sects will decrease the political posture of any single sect. That is, the large number of competitive factions would undermine the ability of any one of them to wield a disproportionate influence on political decision-making as they rationally pursue their interests at the irrational expense of the common good.

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Disestablishment, Reestablishment Resistance to the accumulation of US Supreme Court decisions on church-state relations via the incorporation doctrine has focused on the Court’s decisions that have weakened the structure of dual federalism by constricting the protection of state police powers, particularly regarding religious liberty. That the cumulative impact has resulted in a normative trajectory by the Supreme Court toward the creation of de facto national standards with which to contain the political presence of religion in American civil society. Through litigation and public policy demands, pressure has ensued, especially regarding the reach of religious factions into the public schools and for-profit companies in the economy. To this end, the Court often presents itself as a neutral arbiter favoring neither church nor state between conflicting parties on constitutional intent. Nevertheless, as courts of the federal judiciary increasingly reinforce a return to the primacy of dual federalism, including relaxation of the police powers of the states, particular religious movements have been able to exercise greater influence on state and local policy formation. Many federal and state social policies that exhibit religious undertones are increasingly reshaping church-state relations. Select political-theological norms have come to underpin how governmental agencies implement public policies and evaluate their effectiveness, using rubrics borrowed primarily from Protestant and evangelical religious perspectives. This process of embedding select Christian perspectives more deeply within governmental policy formation effectively pre-commits state governments to ignore any wall of separation between church and state. Furthermore, policy biases guided by a narrow ideologically-informed Christianity brooks the distinction between religious toleration and religious liberty by foregoing the latter in favor of the former. Thus, delivery of policy objectives acknowledge and lean more heavily toward a narrowly defined, de facto privileged position of Christianity. And, the appearance of judicial court neutrality becomes suspect. In a recent legal challenge to the constitutionality of the Bladensburg Cross being publicly displayed and maintained by the State of Maryland— American Legion v. American Humanist Association (2019)—the US Supreme Court decided that Maryland is not in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.11 The Cross was erected between 1919 and 1925 as a monument to memorialize those local residents of

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Prince George’s County who had served in the military and perished in World War I. Given the passage of time since the monument was erected, the decision of the Supreme Court argued that the Cross’s original purpose may be difficult to identify; even if identified as religious in its origins, the purpose of the monument’s religious symbol often changes overtime; and even if the monument’s purpose had been originally “infused with religion,” its longevity accords it historical or cultural significance.12 More importantly, if it had sided with those who challenged the constitutionality of the State of Maryland’s continued display of the Bladensburg Cross, the Supreme Court stated that it then “may no longer appear neutral.” The containment structure’s simultaneous promotion of democratic politics and political and religious pluralism has paradoxically created an opening for coordinated political or religious movements to challenge the structure’s integrity. Through this opening, collective efforts of movements may successfully precipitate a fundamental shift away from the philosophical foundations of the religious axis and challenge the political legitimacy of American political architecture itself.

Notes 1. Roger Williams, “Mr. Cottons Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered,” in The Complete Writings of Roger Williams, vol. 1 (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2007), 392 (modern grammar and spelling, emphasis original). 2. Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to Danbury, Connecticut, Baptist Association,” January 1, 1802, https://www.loc.gov/resource/mtj1.025_0557_0558/ ?sp=1/ (accessed May 30, 2019). 3. Idem, “Letter to John Adams, May 5, 1817,” in The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, ed. Lester J. Cappon (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971), 512. 4. Washington, “Letter to Sir Edward Newenham,” in The Papers of George Washington, vol. 10, ed. Philander D. Chase (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002), 493. 5. Donald G. Mathews, “The Second Great Awakening as an Organizing Process, 1780–1830: An Hypothesis,” American Quarterly 21, no. 1 (Spring 1969): 27 (emphases original). 6. Ibid., 29.

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7. A similar experience had also occurred during the First Great Awakening (1730s–1740s), in response to the waning of social comportment with the strictures of Puritan morals. 8. James Madison, “Federalist Paper No. 10,” in The Federalist Papers, ed. Alexander Hamilton, Madison, and John Jay (New York: New American Library, 1961), 78. 9. Ibid. 10. Idem, “Federalist Paper No. 51,” 323–24. 11. American Legion v. American Humanist Association, 588 U. S. ___ (2019). 12. Ibid., 2.

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Index

A Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), 103 Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, 47 Adams, John, xi, xviii, 146, 172 Advancement of Learning , 120 Affordable Care Act (ACA), 162 Alfarabi, 85, 86 Al-Ghazali, 85 Al-Kindi, 85, 86 Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), 162 America. See United States (history) American Bible Society, 156 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 2 American Culture and Faith Institute, 14 American Legion v. American Humanist Association (2019), 176 American political architecture, xii, xvi, xvii, 17–19, 21, 22, 27, 28,

43, 91, 92, 94, 96, 98, 103, 104, 107, 136, 155, 158, 160, 165, 171, 177 Anastasius I (patriarch), 81 Anti-Federalists, 99, 100, 150 Aquinas, Thomas, 86, 87, 89, 91, 116–119, 125 Commentary on the Posterior Analytics of Aristotle, 89 neo-Thomism, 96 Summa Theologica, 89 Aristotle causes. See Cause Ethics , 117, 118 First Mover, 125 Logic, 91, 117, 120 Magna Moralia, 120 Metaphysics , 87, 90, 117, 118, 121 On the Soul , 117 Organon, 85, 86, 108 Physics , 88, 90, 117, 120 Poetics , 117 Politics , 118 Posterior Analytics , 87

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020 J. R. Pottenger, Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis, Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33974-6

195

196

INDEX

Prior Analytics , 86 Rhetoric, 117 Topics , 87 Armstrong, Karen, 67 Army of God, 59 Articles of Confederation (U.S.), 48 Assmann, Jan, 72–74 atheism, 158 Averroes (Ibn Rushd), 85–91, 93, 116, 117, 119, 123 Decisive Treatise, 87 Short Commentary on Aristotle’s “Topics”, 88 Avicenna, 85, 86 Axial Age (Period) historical matrix, 75 material, 68–70 moral, 69 Second, xvi, 67–71 spiritual, 66, 68–71 Third, 69–71 axiality, xvii, 73, 74 axial moment, xvi, xvii, 19 breakthroughs, 71, 73 axiological foundation, 20, 124, 127, 147, 148, 155 Azo of Bologna, 82

B Babylonian Captivity of the Church, 117 Bacon, Francis, 62, 115, 119–125, 147 Advancement of Learning , 120, 137 Novum Organum, 120, 122 Beaumont, Gustave de, 113 Behemoth, 57, 77 Belcher, Jonathan, 29 Bible (Christian) Bible War, 102 biblical curricula, 106

biblical law, 7, 97 biblical literacy, 2, 4, 5, 106 biblical worldview, 14, 92, 93, 96–98, 105, 107, 161 Douay–Rheims Bible, 101 Geneva Bible, 3 King James Bible, 156 New Testament, 6, 15, 131 Old Testament, 6, 142 Pentateuch, 97 Ten Commandments (Decalogue), 10 Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion, 43 Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, 46, 47 Bill of Rights (U.S.), 100, 150 on religion, 100, 151 Black, Antony, 72 Bladensburg Cross, 176, 177 Body of Liberties, 32, 33 Bondarenko, Dmitri M., 70 Boy, John D., 72, 74 Bracton, Henry de, 83, 84 On the Laws and Customs of England, 83, 108 Buridan, John, 86, 87, 90, 91, 108, 116, 119, 123, 124 Quaestiones in Aristotelis Metaphysicam, 90, 109 Summulae de Dialectica, 90, 109 Burke, Edmund, 38, 40, 42, 44 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014), 162

C Calvinism Calvinists, 92, 95, 157, 158 Christian Reconstructionism, 7, 16 Christian Reformed Church, 93

INDEX

Dutch Calvinism, 157, 159 Dutch Reformed theology, 94 neo-Calvinism, 96, 97 neo-Calvinist political theology, 94 neo-Calvinist Reformed tradition, 15 Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 7 Presbyterian and Reformed Christianity, 157 Presbyterians, 157, 159 Calvin, John, 31, 94, 96, 119 Institutes of the Christian Religion, 94 Cambridge Platform of Church Discipline, 31 Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940), 102 Capitol Hill Club, 163 Capitol Ministries, 163, 164 Carson, Ben, 164 Catholicism, 38, 113, 117 Roman Catholic Church, 62, 117 Roman church, 118 Cause efficient, 120, 121 final, xiv, xvi, 19, 20, 62, 118–124, 127, 153, 163 formal, 120, 121, 165 material, xiv, 120, 121 Chancey, Mark A., 1, 2 Charles I, 57 Christian amendment, 159, 160 America, 2–4, 9, 14, 44, 96, 104, 105, 158, 161 commonwealth, 3, 14, 17, 27, 31, 35, 84, 94, 104, 129, 154, 155, 173 conservatives, 5, 8, 13–15, 21, 22, 103–105, 135, 161 heritage, 5, 71, 95, 96, 106 holy war, 8

197

nation, 4, 12, 14, 93, 154, 155, 161 nationalism, 13 tradition, 10, 16, 28, 85, 116, 172 values, 3, 14, 92, 98, 118, 129, 135 Christianity Anabaptist, 58 Anglican, 27, 97 Baptist, 27, 28, 35, 156 Calvinist. See Calvinism Catholic. See Catholicism Christendom, 62, 70, 81 Christian Scientists, 128 Church of England, 27, 34–36, 38, 44 Congregational, 31–33, 157 creedal, 129 evangelical. See Evangelical Christianity fundamentalist, 6, 15 Jehovah’s Witnesses, 128 Lutheran, 95 Methodist, 37, 153, 156 Mormon. See Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) Pentecostal, 6 Presbyterian, 35, 44, 50, 152, 156, 160 Protestant, 6, 8, 10–13, 15, 16, 36, 38, 92, 93, 95, 97, 101, 102, 105, 116, 128, 154–158, 176 Protestant Episcopal Church, 44 Puritan, 3, 5, 14, 27, 31, 33, 35, 58, 129, 157, 173, 174 Quaker, 35, 50 Reformed. See Calvinism Seventh-Day Adventists, 128 Shakers, 128 Christian organizations American Culture and Faith Institute, 14

198

INDEX

benevolent societies, 155, 156 Campus Crusade for Christ, 131 Capitol Ministries, 163, 164 Christian Law Association, 161 Evangelical Advisory Board, 141 Faith and Values Coalition, 10 Focus on the Family, 131 New Destiny Christian Center, 141 Christian Reconstructionism, 9, 16, 97 Christian Right, 7–9, 11, 16, 92, 161 Christian theology apologetics, 85, 96, 97, 119 freedom of conscience, 20, 62, 64, 144 God, 13, 16, 97 hermeneutics, 20, 119, 130, 142, 164 liberal, 7, 11, 95 millennium, 15, 16 moral issues, 8 philosophy of life, 96, 97 postmillennialism, 15, 16 premillennialism, 15 speculative, 85, 118, 119 church and state, xi, xii, xvi, 6, 16–19, 21, 28, 29, 32, 33, 40, 42, 57, 59, 61, 63, 76, 77, 81–84, 92, 98–101, 104, 113, 126–128, 132, 143–145, 153, 161, 172, 176 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) Book of Mormon, 131 Mormon Christianity, 129, 130 Mormon Church, 128 Mormonism, 129, 130 Mormons, 130–134 Oaks, Dallin (elder), 132, 133 Smith, Joseph, 128 Young, Brigham, 129 civic, 113, 155, 160

republicanism, 4, 36, 106 virtue, 107, 154 civil society, xvii, 7, 16–18, 21, 30, 33–35, 38, 39, 43, 46–51, 57, 61, 63, 64, 92, 98, 101, 105, 107, 113, 114, 125, 127, 128, 130, 133, 135, 149, 151–153, 156, 157, 173, 176 classical political architecture, 36, 42, 48, 165 College of New Jersey, 40 Collin, Nicholas (reverend) Essay on the Means of Promoting Federal Sentiments in the United States, 56 Colman, Benjamin (reverend), 29–31, 33, 40, 42, 44, 49, 165 Commentary on the Posterior Analytics of Aristotle, 89 Confession of Faith, 32 Congress, 5, 100, 130, 134, 143, 144, 146, 151, 159, 160, 163 Continental, 36 United States, 100, 130, 134, 142, 144, 150, 160 Constitution (U.S.) Article VI of, xi, 49, 50, 99, 151, 173 Bill of Rights of, 100, 150, 151 federalism, 51, 99, 100, 151 First Amendment to, 100, 151, 173 Fourteenth Amendment to, 135 Tenth Amendment to, 100 containment structure, xvii, 17–19, 21, 48, 51, 59, 63, 64, 91, 92, 98, 103, 104, 107, 128, 147, 150–152, 155, 157, 160, 165, 171–175, 177 boundaries, 19, 21, 136, 151–153, 158, 161, 163, 171 bounds, 18, 63 Cotton, John, 6, 126

INDEX

Council for National Policy, 9 Cousins, Ewert, 68–71, 79 Cromwell, Oliver, 59, 157

D Danbury Baptists, 172 Davis, Charles, 13 De Cive, 58 De Homine, 58 Decisive Treatise, 87, 108 Declaration of Independence, 106 Declaration of Rights Article I, 41 Article II-XIV, 41 Article XIV, 41 Article XV, 41 Article XVI, 40, 41, 46 Democracy in America, 113, 119 Descartes, René, 114, 115, 119, 124 Discourse on Method, 114 First Meditation, 124 Detached Memoranda, 144 DeVos, Betsy, 9, 10, 164 Discourse on Method, 114 Disputation Against Scholastic Theology, 118 Drollinger, Ralph, 163–165

E education Christian day school movement, 7 homeschooling movement, 7 public schools, 3, 4, 7, 10, 15, 100–104, 106, 155, 158 Ellsworth, Oliver, 50 Engel v. Vitale (1962), 103 Enlightenment, 4, 27, 67, 154, 155 Age of, 68, 128 rationalism, 27, 36, 95, 106, 127, 128

199

epistemic foundation, 19, 20, 84, 91, 94, 96–98, 107, 116, 118, 119 Equal Rights Amendment, 133, 134 Erbery, William, 59 Essay Concerning Human Understanding , 125 Essay on the Means of Promoting Federal Sentiments in the United States, 56 establishment of religion de facto establishment, 136, 156, 158 deinstitutionalization, 104 disestablishmentarianism, 41, 51 establishmentarianism, 29, 30, 41, 153 Ethics , 12, 14, 92, 102, 115, 117, 119 Europe Andalusia, 85 England, 31, 60, 83 France, 113 Iberian Peninsula, 76 Latin, 116 Evangelical Christianity Christian Right, 7–9, 11, 161 evangelical Protestantism, 2, 155 evangelicalism, 13, 15 evangelicals, 7, 8, 10–12, 14, 129, 130, 161 Everson v. Board of Education (1947), 102 F factional imperative, 17, 19, 20, 149, 151–154, 157, 160, 165, 171, 174, 175 factions, 149, 151, 175 Falwell, Jerry (reverend), 12, 24 family values, 8 Fea, John, 12 federalism, 51, 99, 100, 151, 176

200

INDEX

Federalist Papers , 148, 150 Federalists, 99, 150 feminism, 8 Fifth Monarchists, 58 fires of faith, 17, 20, 48, 51, 59, 61, 92, 100, 107, 149, 165, 171 First Amendment, 2, 12, 103, 141, 151, 161, 162, 173, 176 establishment clause of, 2, 100, 102, 176 free exercise clause of, xi, 100, 102, 162, 172 First Tract on Government , 60 Forbes Magazine, 161 Fourteenth Amendment, 103, 135 due process clause of, 102, 103 Foxe, John, 116

Henry, Patrick Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion, 43 Hobbes, Thomas, 57 Behemoth, 57 De Cive, 58 De Homine, 58 Leviathan, 58, 124 Questions Concerning Liberty, 62 Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 1 Hodge, Archibald Alexander (reverend), 157, 158, 160, 165, 168 Howe, Mark DeWolfe, 17, 26 humanism, 7, 8 Hutchinson, Anne, 34

G Gaius, 82, 83 gay rights, 8 Gelasius I (pope), 81–83 General Assembly (Virginia), 35–37, 40, 43–47 General Court (Massachusetts), 32, 34 Giesen, Bernhard, 66, 74 Goldberg, Michelle, 8 Graham, Billy (reverend), 12 Great Awakenings, 27, 29, 30 First, 28 Second, xi, 152, 155, 173 Great Commission, 13, 15, 164 Greco-Islamic tradition, 84, 85 Green family, 5, 6 David, 1, 5, 161, 162 Steve, 1, 5

I Ibn Khaldun, 85, 86 Ingersoll, Julie J., 8, 23 Institutes of the Christian Religion, 94 International Congress on World Evangelization, 131 intolerance, 35, 52

H Hamilton, Alexander, 148, 150 Hegel, G.W.F., xiii–xvi, 65, 114

J Jaspers, Karl, xiii, xv–xviii, 19, 64–69, 71–75, 78–80 Jefferson, Thomas Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, 47 Judeo-Christian principles, 9, 12 Justinian Code, 82 Justinian I, 82 K Kenney, Jim, 69–71, 79 Kingdom of God, 7, 15, 96 Kuyper, Abraham, 94–97, 109, 110, 160, 165

INDEX

L Lambert, Yves, 67–70, 78 Lausanne Covenant, 131 Law canon, 32, 82, 83, 93 civil, xi, 29, 32, 33, 35, 47, 82, 83, 93, 152, 160 common, 47, 83 jurisprudence, 82, 83 moral, xi, 15, 29, 30, 33, 83, 98, 99, 133, 158, 159, 164, 165 Mosaic, 165 natural, 68, 73, 83 Letter Concerning Toleration, 60, 78, 126 Leviathan, 58, 77, 124, 137 liberal-democratic theory commonwealth, 92, 173 electoral politics, 21, 174 human nature, 58, 59, 63, 67, 124, 148, 149, 175 liberal democracy, 14 police powers, 99, 100, 176 revolution. See revolution rights, a priori individual, 84 statism, 7 liminality, 66 liminal areas, 66 liminal period, xvii, 19, 64–67, 71, 73–76, 84, 86, 91, 93, 119 Lincoln, Abraham, 159 Locke, John Essay Concerning Human Understanding , 125 First Tract on Government , 60, 77 Letter Concerning Toleration, 60, 126, 138 Two Treatises of Government , 61, 126 logic demonstrative, 20, 84, 87, 123 dialectical, 86, 87

201

evidentness, 91 experiential premises, 88, 91 hypotheses, 125 hypothetico-deductive approach, 123 inductive logic, 84, 116, 119 inductive turn, 19, 20, 87, 91, 116, 118 inferential reasoning, 86 presuppositional, 19, 97, 98, 107, 118 syllogistic reasoning, 87 Logic, 117 Luther, Martin, 62 Babylonian Captivity of the Church, 117 Disputation Against Scholastic Theology, 117, 137 Ninety-five Theses, 116 On Secular Authority, 118, 137 Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, 116, 137

M Madison, James, 40, 45 Detached Memoranda, 144 Madisonian paradox, 21, 175 Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments, 45, 55 Mason, George, 40–42, 45–47, 150 Mathews, Donald G., 173, 177 Medieval Era mediaeval political theology, 20, 33 medieval nominalism, 74 Renaissance, 20, 70 scholasticism, 64, 89, 117, 118, 120 scholastics, 93, 119 speculative theology, 85, 118 Melanchthon, Philipp, 119

202

INDEX

Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments, 45 Miller, Samuel (reverend), 143, 145 Modern Era Christian West, 71 French Revolution, 95 German idealism, 65 Great Western Transformation, 67 modernism, 95 modernity, 65, 67, 68, 71, 72, 74, 77, 95 Protestant Reformation, 60, 62, 63, 94, 116 Moore, Jeremiah, 27, 28, 36, 37, 43 moral militia, 156 Mormons. See Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) “Mr. Cottons Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered”, 23, 126, 138, 139, 177 Museum of the Bible, 5, 161 Mustang Public School District, 1 N National Association for the Amendment of the Constitution, 160 National Association of Evangelicals, 159 National Christian Foundation, 161 National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, 2, 22, 106, 112 National Day of Prayer, 130, 141, 146 Task Force, 131, 146 National Reform Association, 159 nationalism Christian, 13 revivalist, 13 Newenham, Edward (sir), 173, 177

New Model Army, 59 New Political Science, 124, 147, 148 New Right, 6 New Science, 91, 119, 123, 124, 155 New York, xi, 101, 102, 148 New Zion, 129 Ninety-five Theses, 116 Novum Organum, 119, 122 O Oaks, Dallin (elder), 132, 133 Obama, Barack, 8 Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), 135 On Secular Authority, 118 On the Laws and Customs of England, 83 Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, 116 P Paradoxes of containment, 21, 172, 174 of democracy, 174 of inverse proportionality, 175 Madisonian, 21, 175 of rationality and irrationality, 175 Parliament (British) Toleration Act of 1689, 34, 35 Perdue, Sonny, 164 Perry, Rick, 164 philosophical foundations axiological, 76, 91, 171 epistemic, 76, 171 political, 19, 91, 171 philosophy American philosophical method, 127 analytical, 76, 116, 121 epistemology, 115 Greco-Islamic tradition, 84 Greek philosophy, 84, 86, 95

INDEX

hermeneutic, 20 of history, 19, 64, 65, 72, 73, 75, 129 natural, 20, 62, 76, 89, 115–117, 119, 122, 123 Newtonian natural, 36 political, 115 rationalism, xvii, 20, 89, 119 scholasticism, 115 speculation, 62 Physics , 90 Pinckney, Charles, 48, 49, 55 Plato, 71, 89 Poetics , 117 political architects, 17, 18, 45, 47, 51, 92, 98, 128, 142, 147, 152, 165, 171 architecture, xvii, 17, 48, 64, 75, 77, 150, 151 foundation, 51 issues, 132, 133, 164 liberty, 37, 151 philosophy, xvii, 75, 95 science, 20 theology, 6, 13, 95 theory, 59, 61 political foundation, 20, 147, 158, 161, 165, 172 political intolerance, 30, 31, 33–36, 47, 51 Politics , 118 Pompeo, Mike, 164 Posterior Analytics , 87, 88, 90 Prior Analytics , 86 Proposition 8, 8, 134, 135 Proposition 22, 134 Protestantism, 2, 4, 38, 113, 154 Protestant Reformation, 60, 62, 63, 94, 116 public education, 3, 4, 7, 15, 96, 98, 103, 104

203

public schools, 1–5, 8–10, 92, 98, 100–106, 156, 176 public square, xii, xvii, 7, 11, 17, 19, 21, 36, 43, 47, 48, 51, 57, 96, 98–100, 130, 133, 135, 149, 152, 154, 158, 161, 173, 175 Putnam, Robert, 130, 138 Q Quaestiones in Aristotelis Metaphysicam, 90 Quaker crisis, 34 R Reagan, Ronald, 13 Reformed Christianity Reformed biblical worldview, 93 Reformed Calvinist, 6 Reformed theology, 7, 9 religion Islam, 72 See also Christianity religious dissent, xii, 38, 39 dissenters, xii, 33, 34, 37, 40, 42–44, 51, 82 liberty, xii, xvii, 5, 7, 11–13, 17–21, 24, 37, 39–49, 51, 64, 133, 141, 151, 153, 154, 158, 161, 162, 165, 171–173, 176 marketplace, 30, 47, 49, 130, 152, 154, 156 movement, 30, 127–129, 135, 136, 147, 173, 174, 176, 177 pluralism, xii, 17–19, 36, 45, 51, 57–64, 70, 76, 100, 101, 108, 114, 118, 128, 147, 153, 154, 165, 171, 174, 177 proclamations, 142, 143, 145–147 question, 17, 19, 57, 59, 61–64, 75, 77, 91, 92

204

INDEX

schools, 100, 104 toleration, 6, 35, 37, 40, 42–45, 47–49, 51, 52, 64, 171, 176 religious axis axiological foundation of, 124, 155 epistemic foundation of, 91, 97, 98, 107, 118 political foundation of, 147, 161, 165 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 162, 169 Religious Proclamations by the Executive, 145 Renaissance, 74, 76, 82, 85 Republican Party, 11 revolution American Revolution, 36, 37, 156 revolutionary movement, 38 Revolutionary War, 143 Rhetoric, 117 Robertson, Pat, 12 Roman Empire, 82 Rushdoony, Rousas John, 7, 8, 23

S same-sex marriage, 9, 11, 132, 134, 135 science anthropology, 99 arithmetic, 124 economics, 99 experience, 90 geometry, 124 mathematics, 67 Scientific Revolution, 67, 68 Scotus, Duns, 108, 117 secularism secularization, 9 Sherman, Roger, 49 Short Commentary on Aristotle’s “Topics” , 88

Smith, Adam, 39, 40 Smith, Joseph (prophet), 128 Smith, Melancton, 150 statism, 7 Summa Theologica, 89 Summulae de Dialectica, 90 Supreme Court of California, 134 of Connecticut, 50 of Hawaii, 134 of the United States, 2, 4, 9, 103, 105, 106, 135, 162, 176 of Utah, 132 T Theology Christian. See Christian theology Judeo-Christian principles, philosophy, 10 political, 6, 13–16, 20, 22, 84, 94, 96, 142, 158, 160, 161, 164 theism, 97 Thomassen, Bjørn, 65, 66, 75, 78, 80 time, xi, xiii, xv, 16, 51, 58, 74, 82, 84, 100, 124, 129, 141, 142, 144, 152, 156, 162, 177 Tocqueville, Alexis de Democracy in America, 113, 119 toleration, 30, 35, 36, 41, 46, 52, 60, 70 Toleration Act of 1689, 35 Topics , 86 Torpey, John, 69–72, 74, 79 Treatise on Codes (Collection of Statutes ), 82 Treatise on Institutes , 82 Treaty of Paris, 48 Truman, David B., 127 Truman, Harry S., 130 Trump, Donald J., 9, 10, 12, 13, 24, 141, 142, 164, 165 Two Treatises of Government , 61, 126

INDEX

U United States (government) Capitol, 163 Department of Agriculture, 164 Department of Education, 9, 164 Department of Energy, 164 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 162 Department of Housing and Urban Development, 164 Department of State, 164 House of Representatives, 158 Senate, 9 White House, 141 United States (history) American Civil War, 15 American culture, 7 American republic, 4 American Revolution, 14 British America, 2 British colonies, 33 Federal Convention, 49 Massachusetts Bay Colony, 5 Mexican-American War, 129 North, South, 15, 156 Oneida Community, 128 Pilgrims, 3 Prince George’s County, 177 Province of Massachusetts Bay, 34 terrorism, 160 Treaty of Paris, 48 World War I, 177 Utah Valley Interfaith Association, 131

205

V Van Til, Cornelius, 96–98, 110, 165 Vidal v. Girard’s Executor (1844), 4 Virginia Bill of Rights, 54 Declaration of Rights, 40, 45, 144 General Assembly, 35

W wall of separation, xi, 6, 11, 126, 132, 136, 172, 176 Washington, George, 143–146, 165, 166, 172, 173, 177 Wealth of Nations , 39 White, Paula (reverend), 141 Wilcox, Clyde, 16, 24, 25, 112 William of Orange, 157 Williams, Roger “Mr. Cottons Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered”, 126 Winthrop, John, 3, 31, 44, 49, 52, 53 Witherspoon, John, 40, 54 worldview, 5, 7, 9, 14, 17, 18, 21, 65, 66, 75, 93–96, 98, 105, 107, 158, 161, 163, 174 Wright, Matthew, 69, 79

Y Young, Brigham (prophet), 129