Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Rachel Unbound and some reality about the American Republic

Posted by Charles II on May 13, 2012

Rachel Maddow had a pretty interesting talk at Mt. Holyoke College, which one can see on Sunday at 10PM Eastern on C-Span’s BookTV, and eventually on their website, probably here. As usual, Rachel is witty and worth listening to.

Another worthwhile talk was by Kevin Gutzman on James Madison and religious liberty. He provides the historical background to why Virginians such as Madison and Jefferson were so intent on separating church and state, on the historical setting within England which shaped the ideas of the Founders, and what “establishment” really means.

Gutzman is, in many ways, a nut (see, for example,this gem which encroaches into intergalactic space previously occupied only by Michelle Bachmann). Because he’s so ideologically driven, one has to be skeptical whether he’s even being honest about basic facts. Still, the talk provides a useful framework to consider what religious freedom is and is not. One of the more intriguing questions has to do with whether, even though Congress may make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, the states retain that power. If so, perhaps we can look forward to the Theocracy of Texas or the Church of Alabama replacing those state governments.

I do think he’s right on what drove Madison and Jefferson to be so skeptical of letting churches get even a toehold into the political arena.

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