Book Notice: "Separation of Church and State: Founding Principle of Religious Liberty"

Since everyone is (hopefully!) enjoying a well-deserved three-day weekend, I'll use today's post to note a recent book release that has not received much attention. Last month, Mercer University Press published Separation of Church and State: Founding Principle of Religious Liberty by Frank Lambert. Adapted from a series of lectures given at Mercer in 2012, Lambert argues that "the testimony of revolutionary evangelicals as well as enlightened statesmen makes a convincing case that the separation of church and state was indeed a vital constitutional principle of 1776." In the process, he works through and argues against the claims and methods of folks like David Barton and John Eidsmoe (who need no introduction here). You can read the full description from the publisher after the break.

Have a great fourth of July weekend!

From Mercer University Press:

Frank Lambert tackles the central claims of the Religious Right “historians” who insist that America was conceived as a “Christian State,” that modern-day “liberals” and “secularists” have distorted and/or ignored the place of religion in American history, and that the phrase “the separation of church and state” does not appear in any of the founding documents and is, therefore, a myth created by the Left. He discusses what separates “bad” history from “good” history, and concludes that the self-styled “historians” of the Religious Right create a “useful past” that enlists the nation’s founders on behalf of present-day conservative religious and political causes. The result exposes the Religious Right “history” as fabrications and half-truths. In fact, one of the foundational principles of the Constitution is that of separation as the key to safeguarding freedom: separation of powers, separation of federal and state governments, and separation of church and state. 


Tom Van Dyke said…
These scholarly polemics against Barton and Eidsmoe are rather a mismatch. Fish in a barrel.

There are a number of credible historians with similar theses such as Daniel Dreisbach, Philips Hamburger and Munoz, and Mark David Hall, without the amateurish sloppiness of a Barton that makes for such easy pickins.

Punking amateurs might be amusement for their ideological enemies and their readers, but rooting out error is far less taxing than seeking truth.