Should prayer be allowed in public schools? Should biology be taught according to Darwin or to the book of Genesis? Why is polygamy against the law? These are just a few of the questions that touch our lives directly and emerge out of the separation of church and state. In this volume, one of the most distinguished scholars of American religious history traces the complicated relationship of church and state from the early colonial period, through the unique American experiment in religious liberty after the Revolution, to the ongoing debate over religious issues in our schools and communities. Edwin Gaustad relates entertaining and edifying accounts of headline-grabbing court trials involving polygamy, witchcraft, and church taxation. He quotes moving passages from the speeches and writings of American Presidents and Supreme Court justices to prove that, to paraphrase Michelangelo, "religious liberty is made up of a series of trifles, but religious liberty is no trifle."
General Editors: Jon Butler and Harry S. Stout, both at Yale University
Religion in American Life explores the evolution, character, and dynamics of religion in America from 1500 to the present day. Written by distinguished religious historians, these books weave together the varying stories that compose the religious fabric of the United States, from Puritanism to alternative religious practices. Primary source material coupled with handsome illustrations and lucid text make these books essential in any exploration of Americas diverse nature. Each book includes a chronology, suggestions for further reading, and index.show more