Selected Church-State Bibliography


al-Hibri, Azizah Y., Jean Bethke Elshtain and Charles C. Haynes, Religion in American Public Life: Living With Our Deepest Differences. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001.

This book asserts that American citizens themselves must assume leadership in reuniting and assuring the future of the republic. It concludes with the conviction that “religious liberty is the bedrock value that animates our republic, undergirds our civic morality, and defines us as a people.”

Alley, Robert S., School Prayer:  The Court, the Congress, and the First Amendment. Buffalo: Prometheus, 1994.

Robert Alley offers an examination of the intentions behind the constitutional framers.  He also recounts acts of congress and the courts concerning prayer in the public schools.

Baker, Truett.  Church-State Cooperation Without Domination: A New Paradigm for Church-State Relations. Copyright by C. Truett Baker: 2010.

This book highlights the antecedents that led to the current church-state relations in the United States and addresses the issues that have arisen from balancing “separation and cooperation.”  In terms of cooperation, it focuses on “the use of a business relationship in which the government buys services from the nonprofit, faith-based organization.”  The final chapter presents a new model for church-state separation.

Balmer, Randall. God in the White House: A History: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush. New York: Harper One, 2008.

In God in the White House, Balmer examines the role that religion has played in the personal and public lives of American presidents from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush.  Blamer then seeks to explain the “politicization of religion in the last half of the twentieth century, as well as the ‘religionization’ of our politics.”

Balmer, Randall.  Thy Kingdom Come.  New York: Basic Books, 2006.

Balmer, an evangelical progressive, examines the politicization of conservative Christian ideals through the Republican Party agenda.  He reviews historical and theological information in order to persuade the reader to embrace the true Christian tradition, one that championed the causes of abolition, suffrage, and public education.

Barry, John M. Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State and the Birth of Liberty. New York: Penguin Group, 2012.

Barry examines the origin of two fault lines in America. The first: the proper relationship between the church and state and the second, the balance between the rights of the individual versus the power of the state. He frames the writing around Roger Williams and his fight for religious freedom. Williams’ interactions with Winthrop, Coke, and other leaders in early American history, ultimately guide Barry’s discussion about politics, religion and ideology in America today.

Brackney, William H., A Capsule History of Baptist Principles. Atlanta: Baptist History and Heritage Society, 2009.

Brackney provides a historical context for many major Baptist principles and characteristics and seeks to update Baptist distinctives and adapt them to the 21st century. The book offers continuing education to Baptists who may forget the importance of key principles while leading those new to Baptist life to learn who Baptists are and why.

Breyer, Stephen. Active Liberty: Interpreting our Democratic Constitution. New York: Vintage Books, 2005.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s book argues that promoting active liberty requires judicial modesty and deference to Congress. The needs and demands of the populace also must be recognized. Breyer evaluates the power of our courts while making a case for treating the Constitution not as a static guide, but as principles that can be adapted to unanticipated circumstances.

Brinton, Henry G., Balancing Acts: Obligation, Liberation, and Contemporary Christian Conflicts.  Lima, OH: CSS Publishing Company, Inc., 2006.

Balancing Acts introduces readers to the two major spiritual themes in today’s America– obligation and liberation – and examines how most Americans self-identify with one of those two themes.  Those who identify with obligation seek a moral and religious life, while those who identify with liberation see religion as a freeing presence and stress God’s love for the oppressed of the world.   Brinton’s book contains a chapter wherein he advocates for the abolishment of the senate chaplain position in order to illustrate the harmful effects that church-state mixing can have on the integrity of the church.

Carter, Jimmy. Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

President Carter defends the separation of church and state while considering moral values related to important issues today, which are fiercely debated. Carter argues and attempts to use his involvement to discuss how the changes in society impact the religious and political world. He warns readers of where the nation may be headed while the line between politics and religion is becoming increasingly blurred.

Carter, Stephen L., The Culture of Disbelief.  New York: Basic Books, 1993.

Stephen Carter explains that religion has an appropriate and important role in American public life.  Religion should not be relegated to the periphery of public discourse.  But Carter also asserts that church and state must be separate and he argues against the notion of a “Christian nation.”

Carter, Stephen L., God’s Name in Vain: The Wrongs and Rights of Religion in Politics. New York:  Basic Books, 2000.

Carter argues that those who would cry the “separation of church and state” as an attempt to discourage religious activism are wrong. However, activists should take care not to cause religion “to lose its best and most spiritual self.”

Casey, Shaun.  The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960. New York: Oxford, 2009.

This book examines the election of 1960—specifically, religion’s role in both this particular election but also in American politics today.  His conclusion notes that Nixon’s religious strategy foreshadowed the rise of the religious right and discusses the perils of endorsements and alliances between faith communities and politicians.  Also, there is a mention of Emmanuel Carlson and the BJC (p.136) and how Baptists influenced the 1960 election.

Church, Forrest, ed., The Separation of Church and State:  Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America’s Founders.  Boston: Boston Press, 2004.

Cookson, Catharine, Regulating Religion: The Courts and the Exercise Clause.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Cookson suggests that, in the realm of free-exercise law, examining each case on its own merits and evaluating decisions in the context of specific circumstances would be fairer than the traditional methods of using general precedents.  She uses a plethora of specific examples including Employment Div. v. Smith (1990) and City of Boerne v. Flores (1997).

Cothen, Grady C., and James M. Dunn, Soul Freedom: Baptist Battle Cry.  Macon, Georgia: Smyth and Helwys Publishing, 2000.

Authors have written and compiled several essays on contemporary issues that speak to the Baptist tradition of “soul freedom,” including essays on human rights and religion in higher education.  They also explain why both of these two prominent Southern Baptist expatriates are still Baptist.

Curry, Thomas J., The First Freedoms: Church and State in America to the Passage of The First Amendment.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Thomas Curry has produced a study of the context in which colonial America adopted the idea of church-state separation to ensure religious liberty. His book synthesizes written works predating the first amendment.

Davis, Derek, Original Intent: Chief Justice Rehnquist and the Course of American Church/State Relations. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1991.

Davis provides an analysis of the opinions of Chief Justice Rehnquist and a summary of the Justice’s views on church and state. He analyzes these views against the backdrop of the of the court’s broader church-state jurisprudence.

Davis, Derek and Barry Hankins, eds., Welfare Reform & Faith-Based Organizations. Waco, Texas: J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, 1999.

This book provides scholarly analysis of the debate over Charitable Choice as a part of welfare reform.  Since the book was published in 1999 it does not address the Bush administration’s “Faith-Based Initiatives.” The book concludes that:  “Congress would do better to offer incentives to corporate America for donations to faith based institutions…”

Davis, Derek and Barry Hankins, eds., New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America, 2d edition, Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2003.

Comprises articles from lectures delivered at a 2001 symposium on religious liberty, including an article by Davis on faith-based initiatives that provides insight into problems encountered by churches that accept government funds for their ministries.

DelFattore, Joan, The Fourth R:  Conflicts Over Religion in America’s Public Schools.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2004.

This book reveals America’s meandering path toward genuine religious freedom in public schools showing how the nation has come to recognize its religious pluralism and evolve from a highly majoritarian view of school prayer toward an increasing deference to individual choice.  The author traces the progress made in balancing the government’s responsibility to not advance religion with the individual’s right to free exercise of religion.

Den Dulk, Kevin R., Bryan T. Froehle, Douglas L. Koopman, Stephen V. Monsma, James M. Penning, and Corwin E. Smidt, The Disappearing God Gap: Religion in the 2008 Presidential Election. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2010.

Authors analyze the apparent lack of religious debate within the 2008 election. Countering an argument which claims the role of religion is diminishing in the hearts and minds of voters, this group of scholars sets out to show why our religious beliefs still play an ever important role in American elections.

Dionne, E.J. Jr., and John J. Dilulio Jr., eds., What’s God Got To Do With the American Experiment?.  Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2000.

Dionne and Dilulio have compiled essays from authors representing differing positions. The key message of the book as given by James Wilson, is that religious charities should receive government subsidies.

Dionne, E.J., Jr., Jean Bethke Elshtain and Kayla M. Drogosz, eds., One Electorate Under God?: A Dialogue on Religion & American Politics.  Washington, D.C.:  Brookings Institution Press, 2004.

Provides an entry point into a healthy discussion of the role of relgion in politics.  It is based on a dialogue between Congressman Mark Souder, presenting a conservative evangelical viewpoint, and former governor, Mario Cuomo, presenting a liberal Catholic view.  Articles following the dialogue discuss and critique the opposing views.

Doerr, Edd and Albert J. Menendez, eds., Great Quotations on Religious Freedom. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002.

Doerr and Menendez have produced an extensive compilation of quotes on religious liberty.  The quotes come from a number of diverse sources but all maintain that religion should be kept out of government affairs.

Drakeman, Donald and John F. Wilson.  Church and State in American History. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2003.

These distinguished professors and experts analyze and reproduce the most important historical documents, speeches, and cases dealing with church and state issues in order to address the question, “Is America one nation under God?”

Dreisbach, Daniel L., Thomas Jefferson and The Wall of Separation Between Church and State.  New York:  New York University Press 2002.

Dreisbach examines the historical context and motives for Jefferson’s famous letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. The book offers an “in-depth examination of the origins, controversial uses, and competing interpretations” of the powerful metaphor of “the wall of separation between church and state.”

Edgar, Bob.  Middle Church.  New York, NY: Simon and Shuster, 2006.

Bob Edgar, former House Representative and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, states that while abortion is never mentioned and homosexuality only a few time, the issues of poverty and peace are addressed over two thousand times.  Edgar argues that Christians should return to the unifying message of the Bible instead of focusing on divisive political issues.  He urges progressive people of all faiths to do this by making a stand against the religious right.

Estep, William R., Revolution Within the Revolution. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990.

Estep explains that for some of the early architects of church-state separation, the struggle for religious freedom “became the means by which they became patriots.”  It describes how a revolution of freedom of conscience fueled the revolutionary principles of separation, and the founding of the country itself.

Feldman, Noah, Divided by God.  New York:Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.

Feldman investigates the church-state struggle caused by the desire for a religiously diverse society and the influence of the Christian majority upon politics and culture.  He hopes to provide a solution for this problem through looking into the relationship between church and state in the past and today.

Flowers, Ronald B., That Godless Court? Second Edition.  Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.

This book offers an introduction to the first amendment’s religion clauses. It discusses most of the courts’ church-state decisions through 2004.

Foltin, Richard T., ed., Religious Liberty in the 1990’s. New York: American Jewish Committee, 1994.

Religious Liberty In the 1990’s is an analysis of the Rehnquist Court’s church state jurisprudence. The book takes a close look at the way the court responded to the first amendment under Rehnquist leadership.

Folger, Janet L.  The Criminalization of Christianity.  Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah     Publisher, Inc., 2005.

Folger, writing from a very conservative perspective, asserts that Christians are losing their freedoms worldwide.  Very inflammatory in nature, she argues that Christians should have the freedom to display the Ten Commandments, have school wide prayer, and denounce homosexuality in virulent ways.

Frankel, Marvin E., Faith and Freedom. New York: Hill and Wang, 1994.

Examining the most notable court cases regarding religious liberty, Frankel concludes that the separation of church and state must be maintained.  In the tradition of Roger Williams, he argues that at worst only small concessions should be made to accommodate the role of religion in public life.

Gaddy, Welton C., Faith and Politics: What’s a Christian to do?.  Macon, Georgia: Smyth and Helwys Publishing, Inc., 1996.

Gaddy speaks to the complex issue of how Christians should appropriately respond to public policy.  In his analysis he draws from his personal experience, basic principles and common considerations regarding faith and politics. He concludes by giving a vision of hope for the future.

Gaustad, Edwin S., Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation.  San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1987.

Gaustad, Edwin S., Liberty of Conscience. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991.

Edwin Gaustad writes a biography of Roger Williams that gives insights into his life and his convictions about religious liberty.  This book gives a good introduction to the subject of religious liberty, and provides insight into the influence that Williams’ had in his own time.

Gaustad, Edwin S., Roger Williams: Prophet of Liberty.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Gaustad offers a well-illustrated testament to the life of Roger Williams as a champion of religious liberty and a defender of the rights of Native Americans. He describes Williams’ Puritan roots and then tells how Williams would come to be an important figure in future American life.

Gaustad, Edwin S., Roger Williams: Lives and Legacies.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Gaustad’s second biography on Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island and the First Baptist Church of America, presents a different kind of study of Williams’ life.  The book is organized around the goals of Williams’ life, rather than chronologically, in order to provide a concise, in-depth look into the life of Roger Williams.

Gaustad, Edwin S., Sworn on the Alter of God: A Religious Biography of Thomas Jefferson.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996.

Gaustad writes a biography that speaks to Jefferson’s unique understanding of the new republic. He examines Jefferson’s religious convictions and how they shaped his worldview.

Gill, Anthony, The Political Origins of Religious Liberty. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Throughout history, governments have attempted to control religious organizations and limit religious freedom. However, over the past two hundred years the world has witnessed an expansion of religious liberty. Gill argues that political leaders are more likely to allow religious freedoms if such laws enhance economic well-being or political power of their country.

Goldberg, Michelle.  Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism.  New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2006.

After traveling across the United States leading up to the 2004 election, Goldberg noticed the rising tide of fundamentalism and “dominionism.”  Goldberg explains the increasing polarization between Christians and non-Christians, and explores the gap between the strong “secular republic” of our founding fathers and our present situation of legislators enacting their religion into law.

Goldford, Dennis J. The Constitution of Religious Freedom: God, Politics and the First Amendment. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2012.

Goldford attempts to explain the political meaning behind the two religion clauses in the First Amendment, while bringing the question of whether “We the People” as a whole nation have one religious identity. Goldford argues that the Constitution establishes an environment where people can form their own religious identity and be free to worship whomever one believes is his or her god.

Gourley, Bruce.  A Capsule History of Baptists. Atlanta: Baptist History and Heritage Society, 2010.

This is a broad look at the first 400 years of Baptist life with an emphasis on how Baptists have stood apart from other religious groups because of their emphasis on freedom, including the separation of church and state.  The book underlines the irony that widespread denial of this separation has developed within the ranks of Baptists.

Green, John C., Mark J. Rozell, and Clyde Wilcox, The Christian Right In American Politics: Marching to the Millennium. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2003.

Through the twelve case studies presented here, the reader receives a history of the organizational efforts behind the “Christian Right”. In addition, the reader gains insight into the feasible reasons behind the success and the failure of this movement.

Guinness, Os, The Great Experiment: Faith and Freedom in America.

In this book, Guinness uses biographical sketches and primary source writings to establish the historical context for the writing of the constitution. In doing so, he works to support his general thesis that the constitution is the result of a people of faith and their hope for America’s future to allow such faith.

Hall, Timothy L., Separation Church and State: Roger Williams and Religious Liberty. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1998.

Timothy Hall explores Roger Williams’ dogged insistence on religious liberty and the separation of church and state. Hall holds up Williams as an important intellectual source for understanding today’s debates about the proper relationship between church and state.

Hamburger, Philip, Separation of Church and State. Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press, 2002.

Hamburger attacks the Jeffersonian “wall of separation”.  He attempts to refute the principle by noting the presence of anti-Catholic attitudes in the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth century secularism.

Hamilton, Marci A., God vs. The Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

In this book, Hamilton challenges the view that all religious acts are good and should be protected by the constitution.  She argues that acts which are illegal under the rule of law should not receive special standing through their religious association.

Harris, Lawrence H., The Origins and Growth of Baptist Faith: Twenty Baptist Trailblazers In World History.  Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company Publishers, 2001.

Lawrence Harris details the history and heritage of the Baptist understanding of faith and outlines their legacy.  He describes the lives and contributions of twenty great Baptist figures including, John Smyth and Roger Williams, as well as Jimmy Carter and Martin Luther King Jr.

Harris, Sam.  Letter to a Christian Nation.  New York, NY: Knopf Publishers, 2006.

Harris, a modernist and scientist, believes that either the Bible is the Word of God, or completely untrue.  He argues from this standpoint to state that religion is the cause for most problems.  Arrogantly written, he states that Christians, as well as members of all religions, are wrong, and that their beliefs cause most of the strife in the world today.  Harris uses Bible verses out of context and without any sort of academic exegetical work.

Hasson, Kevin Seamus.  The Right to be Wrong: Ending the Culture War Over Religion in America.  San Francisco:  Encounter Books, 2005.

By focusing on lessons from a series of stories, Hasson tackles the struggle over religious diversity.  Hasson focuses on the views of the extremes and offers a solution that attempts to avoid the problems of both.

Haynes, Charles C., Chaltain, Sam., Ferguson, John E. Jr., The First Amendment in Schools: A Guide from the First Amendment Center.  Nashville, TN:  The First Amendment Center, 2003.

The First Amendment in Schools is a response to the need for general education on the first amendment. The book is not written for legal scholars; it is instead a guide on teaching about the origins and meaning of the first amendment.

Heclo, Hugh and Wilfred M. McClay, Religion Returns to the Public Square:  Faith and Policy in America. Baltimore, MD.:  John Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Heclo and McClay have compiled a collection of essays that describe the longstanding involvement of religion in politics.  A relationship between the two is unavoidable.  Both religion and politics “claim to give authoritative answers to important questions about how people should live.”

Hinson, E. Glenn, Religious Liberty: The Christian Roots of our Fundamental Freedoms. Louisville: Glad River, 1991.

Dr. E. Glenn Hinson traces the principles of religious liberty to the New Testament and the Christian faith. In this updated volume, he seeks to refresh the reader of this fact by studying the historical role Christians and Christianity played in making religious liberty for all a possibility. Each chapter is accompanied by study questions that are useful as a discussion guide.

Holmes, David L., The Faiths of the Founding Fathers. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

In this compact book, Holmes offers a concise look at the spirituality of our founding fathers. Although the founding fathers were religious men, Holmes shows that it was a faith quite unlike the Christianity of today’s evangelicals. He offers an informative account of the religious culture of the late colonial era, examines the individual beliefs of a variety of important men and women in our nation’s history, discusses the role of religion in the lives of the presidents since World War II, and reflects on the modern evangelical resurgence.

Hull, William E., The Meaning of the Baptist Experience. Brentwood, TN: Baptist History and Heritage Society, 2007.

Hull produces a 24-page discourse on the history of Baptists, focusing on the ideas of soul freedom and separation of church and state.  He focuses on Christianity in the post-9/11 world and how religion must be sure not to be co-opted by government in order to ensure freedom for all.

Hutson, James H., Church and State in America: The First Two Centuries. New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2008.

This book describes American ideas about and policies toward the relationship between government and religion from the founding of Virginia in 1607 to the presidency of Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837. Four principles were paramount during this period: the importance of religion to the public welfare; the resulting obligation of government to support religion; liberty of conscience and volunteerism; the requirement that churches be supported by free will gifts, not taxation. The relevance of the concept of the separation of church and state during this period is examined in detail.

Hutson, James, Forgotten Features of the Founding: The Recovery of Religious Themes in the Early American Republic. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2003.

On the heels of Hutson’s previous work, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, this collection of essays further examines the religious influence on the American founding.  These evocative writings draw from primary sources, as well as more recent texts, to challenge traditional assumptions.

Irons, Peter, God on Trial: Dispatches from America’s Religious Battlefields.  New York, NY: Viking, 2007.

Noted constitutional scholar Irons examines key church-state disputes in 20th century America.  By including the writings and statements of plaintiffs, lawyers and others actually involved in these famous disputes, Irons provides a non-traditional look at the most hotly-debated church-state issues.  Irons examines the constitutionality of public religious displays, the pledge, and intelligent design lessons.

Ivers, Gregg, Lowering the Wall: Religion and the Supreme Court in the 1980’s. New York: Anti-Defamation League, 1991.

Lowering the Wall is an appeal to defenders of church-state separation to remain vigilant. Ivers criticizes many decisions in the 1980’s that weakened the traditional interpretation of the First Amendment religion clauses.

Ivers, Gregg, Redefining the First Freedom. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1993.

Ivers’ book warns of the erosion of church-state separation. Ivers speaks of the willingness of the courts and politicians to allow the majority religion to ignore traditional church-state views.

Kennedy-Townsend, Kathleen, Failing America’s Faithful: How Today’s Churches are Mixing God with Politics and Losing their Way.  New York, NY: Warner Books.  2007.

Kennedy-Townsend examines America’s Christian landscape, comparing it to its rich history of involvement and leadership in social justice and civil rights issues, from the revolutionary period to the civil rights era.  She notes that the recent history of American Christianity is dominated by the religious right, and its emphasis on far-right Republican politics, rather than the gospel.  She also examines how in small ways, that landscape is beginning to change, and demonstrates how Christians can reclaim the faith.

Kidd, Thomas S., God of Liberty. New York: Basic Books, 2010.

The Revolutionary War marked a time when evangelical Christians, influenced by the First Great Awakening, and founders of the country, enlightened deists, rallied together in opposition to the British. Kidd provides a historical account of the role religion played in the era, revealing that despite their ability to put their differences aside, the divide between liberal and evangelical Christians was as wide then as it is today.

Kimball, Charles, When Religion Becomes Evil. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

Kimball is direct and compelling in describing the dangers of religion when important principles are either exploited or ignored. He provides warning signs for religious corruption insisting that all religion has the capacity for good and evil.

Kimball, Charles, When Religion Becomes Lethal. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011.

Kimball addresses the dangerous and lethal outcomes of religion and politics becoming intertwined in today’s world. Focusing on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the author presents both historical and current examples of such troubling cases. He also provides an encouraging strategy for avoiding such circumstances in the future.

Kramnick, Isaac and Moore, R. Laurence, The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1996.

The Godless Constitution is a rebuke of the view that the founders did not intend a a religiously neutral state. The book provides a scholarly analysis of John Locke, Roger Williams, Thomas Jefferson and several others.

Kuo, David, Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, New York, NY: Free Press, 2006.

David Kuo, an evangelical and former White House staffer, documents how the Bush administration has exploited the religious right in the last two general elections, and then calls for a “fast” of sorts from politics.  It does not preclude the religious from politics, but instead delivers a cautionary tale about what can happen when religion is exploited for political gain.

Lambert, Frank, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.

Dividing his book into three distinct sections that address religious regulation, religious competition, and religious freedom, the author looks at how the views of colonists shifted from initially desiring the establishment of religion in the New England colonies, to ultimately, as the U.S. Constitution was drafted, adopting a view of distinct separation of church and state.

Lambert, Frank, Religion in American Politics: A Short History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

From the election of 1800, when Federalist clergy charged that deist Thomas Jefferson was unfit to lead a “Christian nation,” to today, when some Democrats want to embrace the so-called Religious Left in order to compete with the Republicans and the Religious Right, religion has always been part of American politics. In Religion in American Politics, Frank Lambert tells the story of the uneasy relations between religion and politics from the founding to the twenty- first century.

Lambert, Frank. Separation of Church & State: Founding Principle of Religious Liberty. Macon: Mercer University, 2014.

Expanding upon his 2012 Shurden Lectures are Mercer University, Frank Lambert conducts a rigorous study of both the founding documents and the historical record. He debunks the assertion that the founding documents do not advocate a separation of church and state. Throughout his study, he exposes “historians” that exploit half-truths and the “usable past” to further their own agendas. Separation, Lambert concludes, is a foundational principle of the Constitution: separation of powers, separation of federal and state governments, and separation of church and state.

Levy, Leonard W., The Establishment Clause: Religion and the First Amendment.  New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986.

This book provides a substantive rebuttal to the suggestion that the Establishment Clause only about prohibits government from preferring one religion to another.  Levy argues that any responsibility not given to the federal government in the constitution rests in the hands of the people and for the federal government to provide aid for religion would be to assume a responsibility it does not have.

Long, Carolyn N., Religious Freedom and Indian Rights: The Case of Oregon vs. Smith. Peter Charles Hoffer and N.E.H. Hull, eds. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2000.

Carolyn Long analyzes the implications of the Supreme Court case Oregon v. Smith that set a new precedent for how the courts would decide cases involving the free exercise of religion. She describes how the treatment of Native Americans is a warning sign of the erosion of our religious liberties.

Lynn, Barry, Marc D. Stern, and Oliver S. Thomas, The Right to Religious Liberty: The Basic ACLU Guide to Religious Rights. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1995.

This book, as its subtitle suggests is a “basic ACLU guide to religious rights.” It is in an easy to read question and answer format addressing a variety of church-state issues.

Maddox, Robert L., Separation of Church and State: Guarantor of Religious Freedom. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1987.

Maddox provides a primer on the importance of the separation of church and state to religious liberty.  He offers critical concerns about the current state of church- state relations as well as historical perspective on the European roots that gave way to the American experience.

Mapp, Alf, Jr., The Faiths of Our Fathers: What America’s Founders Really Believed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003.

Mapp’s book is a collection of biographical sketches of prominent founding fathers and how their faiths informed their political philosophies and public deeds. These essays examine facets of the lives of these men that have until now been ignored or, as Mapp seems to suggest, misunderstood to some degree.

Marsh, Charles, Wayward Christian Soldiers: Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity.  New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Marsh, an evangelical theologian, critiques the current levels of political activism by conservative evangelical leaders.  In decrying the state of American evangelicalism, Marsh explores how the right redefined Christianity in terms of political ideology, rather than scripture and tradition.  In addition, he calls progressive and moderate evangelicals to reclaim the gospel and enter into a time of hospitality, peacemaking, and contemplative prayer.

Marshall, Paul., God and the Constitution: Christianity and American Politics. Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, 2002.

Directed to a more general reader rather than to specialists, Marshall works to present a general approach to deal with current issues associated with biblical teaching as it is related to theological and political reflection. For Marshall, this entire argument is based on the foundation of an understanding rooted and influenced by one’s faith.

Marty, Martin E., When Faiths Collide. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing  Ltd., 2006.

Marty writes that collisions of faith are the most threatening conflicts around the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In these instances, he suggests parties should risk hospitality towards one another as opposed to the traditional plea for tolerance. He focuses his argument on countries which have free, democratic, or open governments such as the United States and United Kingdom.

Meyerson, Michael I. Endowed by Our Creator: The Birth of Religious Freedom in America. New Haven: Yale, 2012.

Meyerson brings his storytelling skills to the fore, as he delves into the deeply debated arena of our nation’s framers and their concept of freedom of religion. Well-researched, Endowed by Our Creator avoids erroneous tendencies by studying the actual writings and actions of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and others. Meyerson’s research tracks the beginnings of the No Establishment and Free Exercise clauses and the philosophies and ideas that influenced their inception. He maintains that the framers believed in the virtue of religion while seeking religious liberty for all as a fundamental American value.

McCollum, Dannel. The Lord Was Not on Trial: The Inside Story of the Supreme Court’s Precedent-Setting McCollum Ruling. Silver Spring, MD: Americans for Religious Liberty, 2008.

McCollum chronicles the battle his mother, Vashti McCollum, brought to the Supreme Court in 1948 over the Champaign, Illinois school district’s on-campus release time program.

McConnell, Michael W., John H. Garvey, and Thomas C. Berg, Religion and the Constitution. New York: Aspen Law & Business, 2002. (Casebook)

Meacham, John, American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation.  New York, NY: Random House, 2006.

Meacham examines the intersection of religion and politics during the founding period and through the 20th century.  Beginning with John Winthrop, and examining figures all the way through Reagan, Meacham takes a fairly centrist view on church-state issues.  He emphasizes the importance of civil religion and preventing to government from interfering with citizens’ free exercise.

Menendez, Albert J. The Religious Factor in the 1960 Presidential Election: An Analysis of the Kennedy Victory Over Anti-Catholic Prejudice. Jefferson, NC: McFarland       & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2011.

This book examines the statistical analysis of state-by-state voting in the 1960 election concerning the affect of Kennedy’s religious allegiance on voters.  The book seeks to debunk the myth that Kennedy inappropriately used his Religion to win the election and that he won the election because of an increase in Protestant tolerance, rather than an increase in Catholic Support. Emmanuel Carlson and the BJC on mentioned regarding Kennedy’s meeting with the Director during his campaign. (Pg. 35)

Micklethwait, John and Adrian Wooldridge. God is Back. New York: Penguin Books, 2010.

This book examines the way in which religion has been revived and remains an force in the world, especially what the authors define as “American-style evangelism.”  The book’s final few chapters propose universalizing the American ideal of separation of church and state, specifically as a way to halt the spread of violence that can occur in the name of religion.

Miller, Robert T. and Ronald B. Flowers, Toward Benevolent Neutrality: Church, State, and the Supreme Court, 5th Ed. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 1996. (Casebook)

Miller, William Lee, The First Liberty. New York: Paragon House Publishers, 1988.

Miller has recreated the early debate over religious liberty by describing the conversations among Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Roger Williams. The book contains many primary sources including the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

Monsma, Stephen V. and J. Christopher Soper, Equal Treatment of Religion in a Pluralistic Society. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998.

This book discusses the emergence of the ideology of “equal treatment,” which has gained popularity in congress and in the courts. The eight contributors in this book analyze the origins and consequences of this position from varying viewpoints.

Moore, R. Jonathan, Suing For America’s Soul: John Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute and Conservative Christians in the Courts. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.

In this book, Moore explores the development of conservative legal activism in America.  He examines how and why these different Christian coalitions came into existence and measures their success in the courts.  He focuses on John Whitehead and The Rutherford Institute.

Noll, Mark A., One Nation Under God? Christian Faith and Political Action in America. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1988.

Noll examines the “history of Christian political involvement.”  He writes unapologetically about the contributions of Christianity to the American experiment although he encourages Christian political involvement. He also warns: “Christian values do the most good for a nation when believers remember the difference between God’s kingdom and their country.”

Noll, Mark A. and Luke E. Harlow, eds., Religion and American Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990 (2007).

Noll and Harlow address how religion and politics interact in America, how that relationship has changed over time, and why American religious and political thought have sometimes developed along a parallel course while at other times moved in opposite directions. For the 2007 edition, Noll and Harlow offer a completely new introduction, and also commission several new pieces and eliminate several that are now out of date.

Noonan, John T.Jr., The Lustre of Our Country:  The American Experience of Religious Freedom. Los Angeles: University of California Press 1998.

Noonan champions the cause of religious freedom considering it “America’s greatest moral contribution to the world.” He details the painful history of religious persecution in the United States.  Noonan’s book is illustrated with photographs and stories.

Noonan, John T. Jr. and Edward McGylnn Gaffney Jr., Religious Freedom: History, Cases, and Other Materials on the Interaction of Religion and Government. New York: Foundation Press, 2001. (Casebook)

Nord, Warren A. and Charles C. Haynes, Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1998.

Nord and Haynes have provided a resource for those teaching about religion in public schools. The book underscores the point that while schools cannot practice religion, religion should be taken seriously and included in the curriculum.

Parry, Pam, On Guard for Religious Liberty: Six Decades of the Baptist Joint Committee. Macon, Georgia: Smyth and Helwys, 1996.

Pam Parry tells the story of the long history and contributions of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs. With a Foreword by Senator Mark Hatfield and with first hand accounts of the victories won for religious liberty, this book provides unique insight and serves as a testament to the work of the BJC.

Pfeffer, Leo, Church, State, and Freedom. Boston: Beacon Press, 1967.

Church, State, and Freedom is an extensive study of the subject of religious liberty. Divided into sixteen chapters and over five hundred pages, the book covers in great detail the origins and “present” understandings of the church state relationship.

Pinson, William M. Jr.  Baptists and Religious Liberty: The Freedom Road.  Dallas, Texas: BaptistWay Press, 2007.

Baptists and Religious Liberty: The Freedom Road is a simple, concise, almost too-easy-to-read statement of why Baptists historically have fought for church and state separation, as well as why Baptists should continue to do so.  While perhaps too oversimplified for religious scholars, the book provides for the layperson a great general overview of the historical Baptist movement, as well as the doctrinal reasons for freedom of and from religion on the part of a government.

Pleasants, Phyllis R., Freedom for the Journey. Richmond, Virginia: Center for Baptist Heritage and Studies, 2002.

Freedom for the Journey is a thoughtful guide to understanding some of the distinguished principles of early Baptists.  The book is structured around four freedoms “Freedom to Assemble, Freedom to Read and Interpret Scripture, Freedom to Follow and Freedom for Religion.”

Posner, Sarah. God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters. Sausalito, CA: PoliPointPress, LLC., 2008

Posner, an investigative journalist, examines the “shady” financial and political activities of prominent prosperity gospel televangelists who use their reinterpretation of the Bible to profit from the hopes and fears of their congregants, thus reaping the means to wield influence within the Republican Party and the Bush White House.

Pullen, Bruce Reed, Profiles in Faith: Discovering Baptist Beginnings.  West Conshohocken, PA: Infinity Publishing, 2006.

Pullen combines history, travel, and photography to offer a guide on exploring the formation of Baptist beliefs.  He recommends places to visit, and examines the contributions of related historical figures such as Roger Williams, Charles Spurgeon, Thomas Helwys, etc, to the emergence of the free church tradition.

Ragosta, John A., Wellspring of Liberty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Ragosta offers a history of the role Virginia played in shaping the separation of church and state present in today’s society. Originally a strict Anglican colony, Virginia needed the support of the many religious dissenters  in the state once the revolution broke out. Having demanded religious tolerance in exchange for men to join the state militia, dissenters in Virginia started a debate that would shape our constitution.

Ramsay, William M., The Wall of Separation: A Primer on Church and State. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1989.

Ramsey offers an introduction to church and state.  He outlines contemporary threat to church-state separation.

Reichley, James A., Faith in Politics. Washington D.C.:  Brookings Institution Press 2002.

Reichley provides a critical look at the practical and philosophical questions inspired by religious involvement in politics.  He examines the historical evolution of church – state debate in the country.  He finally concludes with a defense of the presence of religion in civic life.

Rougeau, Vincent D., Christians in the American Empire: Faith and Citizenship in the New World Order. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Rougeau argues Christianity has been appropriated and distorted to justify American imperialism and the military violence necessary to expand it. Rougeau suggests that it is unwise for Christians to focus on hot-button issues as an appropriate way to actualize faith commitments in the public realm. Ultimately,  Rougeau calls on American Christians to reject the vision of faith or notion proffered by the religious right in favor of a Christian cosmopolitanism.

Schaaf, Gregory, Franklin, Jefferson & Madison: On Religion and the State.  Santa Fe, NM: CIAC Press, 2004.

By addressing the formative views of the founding fathers, this book sheds light on the “original intent” of Constitution and Bill of Rights, and in particular shows that each of these men desired separation of church and state and disapproved of any federal tax dollars being appropriated to favored religious groups or churches.  Franklin is quoted as follows: “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself.”

Schippe, Cullen & Chuck Stetson, The Bible and its Influence. BLP Publishing, 2005.

This is a textbook designed for public high school courses in biblical literacy.  Based on the idea that the Bible has had an undeniable influence on Western culture, the book attempts to demonstrate that influence through a re-telling of scripture.  The body of the primary text of the book traces the narrative of scripture, and the margins are the forum where certain aspects of scripture are shown in some form of pop culture, but without context.  While there may be little direct religious instruction, the book comes off as an attempt to clarify the Bible and Christianity as the source of the all significant culture.

Shoemaker, H. Stephen, Being Christian in an Almost Christian Nation. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006.

Shoemaker looks at a post-9/11 America from the perspective of both a Christian and a minister.  He focuses on how American Christians should act in light of America’s defining mission, religion and politics, religious pluralism, economic globalization, moral “culture wars”, and the separation of church and state.

Shurden, Walter B., ed., Proclaiming the Baptist Vision: Religious Liberty. Macon: Smyth and Helwys, 1997.

Shurden has edited a collection of sermons pertaining to the Baptist contribution to religious freedom. Running through the text is the central theme that the United States has never been a Christian nation and that the principle of freedom of conscience and the separation of church and state defines what it means to be Baptist.

Stark, Rodney, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success. New York: Random House, 2005.

Stark advances the idea that Christianity and its related institutions are, in fact, directly responsible for the most significant intellectual, political, scientific, and economic breakthroughs of the past millennium. Christian theology, Stark asserts,  is the very font of reason: while the world’s other great belief systems emphasized mystery, obedience, or introspection, Christianity alone embraced logic and reason as the path toward enlightenment, freedom, and progress.

Stokes, Anson Phelps and Leo Pfeffer, Church and State in the United States. New York:  Harper and Row, 1950.

Church and State in the United States examines the “foundations of American church-state separation and religious freedom,” “the establishment and adjustment of churches independent of the state,” and what were “modern and contemporary problems and their solution.”

Strauss, David A., The Living Constitution. New York: Oxford University Press Inc.,  2010.

Arguing against those who view the constitution as unchanging and set in stone, Strauss provides historical evidence and analysis revealing the constitution as a   living document. Not only is it subject to change, but there is a judicial precedent of it within the nation’s history.

Suarez, Ray.  The Holy Vote.  New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2006.

Suarez examines the polarization occurring in the realm of religion and politics. He interviews people on both sides of the ideological front about hot button issues like gay marriage and the creationism/evolution debate in public schools, helping the reader to understand why we are a nation divided.

Sullivan, Winnifred Faller.  The Impossibility of Religious Freedom.  Princeton, NJ:    Princeton University Press, 2005.

Sullivan offers that laws protecting religious freedom, once so fiercely defended for the good of all people, are now hindering such liberties.  Using the case of  Warren vs. Boca Raton, she shows how hard it can be to exercise these precious freedoms.

Thames, H. Knox, Chris Seiple, and Amy Rowe, International Religious Freedom Advocacy: A Guide to Organizations, Law, and NGOs. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2009.

This book quips activists and policymakers alike with an intimate knowledge of the governmental institutions, NGOs, and laws that work to safeguard religious liberties abroad. Beginning with an overview of international legal protections, these advocacy veterans explain the intricacies of and resources available within the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, Organization of American States, African Union, and more.

Thomas, Oliver, 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can’t Because He Needs the Job).  New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2007.

Thomas addresses some of the controversial issues facing Christianity — including homosexuality, separation of church and state, evolution v. intelligent design, women in the pulpit – and in so doing emphasizes that religion is not built on certainty, but faith.  Thomas calls Christians to a more authentic and biblical faith, and recognizes the importance of religious freedom to that goal.

Waldman, Steven, Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America. New York: Random House, 2008.

Waldman narrates the story of how our nation’s Founders forged a new approach to religious liberty. Founding Faith vividly describes the religious development of five Founders: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. Waldman reveals the history of religious freedom to be dramatic, unexpected, paradoxical, and inspiring.

Walker, J. Brent, Church-State Matters: Fighting for Religious Liberty in Our Nation’s Capital. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2008.

Walker articulates a cogent Baptist understanding of the importance of the First  Amendment’s religion clauses in protecting our God-given religious liberty. This collection of essays, speeches, sermons, and congressional testimony provides a living history of the modern era of the life of the Baptist Joint Committee.

Walker, J. Brent, The Trophy of Baptists: Words to Celebrate Religious Liberty. Macon GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2003.

The Trophy of Baptists is a collection of sermons and essays on the Baptist heritage of religious liberty.  The sermons and essays were written by Baptists who run the breadth of the political and ideological spectrum. It is a good resource for churches, classes and sermons.

Walker, J. Brent, Religious Liberty and Church-State Separation.  Brentwood, TN:  Baptist History and Heritage Society, 2003

Religious Liberty and Church-State Separation is a short resource for the current debate on the separation of church and state. It gives a brief discourse on Baptist history and an explanation of contemporary attitudes and challenges within the debate.

Walker, J. Brent. What a Touchy Subject! Religious Liberty and Church-State Separation. Macon: Nurturing Faith, 2014.

The levity of Calvin and Hobbes, the source of J. Brent Walker’s title, belies the seriousness of religious liberty and its importance to the principles of our nation. Defending religious liberty as the first freedom of the American people, Walker expertly brings together the historical, legal, and theological principles that undergird the First Amendment. He traces the roots of these principles past our nation’s framers and the enlightenment to religious persons with strong convictions regarding the protection of religious liberty for all.

Wallis, Jim.  God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It.  New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2005.

Wallis critiques recent partisan attempts “to politicize God” by focusing on the religious right and secular fundamentalists.  He discusses his beliefs on what role religion should play and how religion should be regarded in politics and public life.

West, Ellis.  The Religion Clauses of the First Amendment. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2011.

This is an in-depth look at the Religion Clauses of the Constitution—particularly at the formation and intent that led to their inclusion.  It examines the merits of the argument that the religion clauses are included to ensure states’ rights. Ultimately, the book finds that the religion clauses are a protection for individuals’ rights, not those of the states.

Wills, Garry. (2007). Head and Heart: American Christianities. Penguin Press: London, England

The struggle within American Christianity, Garry Wills argues, now and throughout America’s history, is between the head and the heart: between reason and emotion, Enlightenment and Evangelicalism. With eloquence and authority, Wills explains the history of Christianity in America, the importance of the Disestablishment of the Church and State and how religiosity in America thrived only due to the protections of religious freedom. Wills takes the reader through the modern movements of Christianity and the “faith-based” administration of George W. Bush. He examines the political prowess of Karl Rove and his ability to build a vast republican majority on the shoulders of Christian Evangelicals. Finally, Wills provides insight into a way past Rove and the empowerment of the majority of moderates who wish to calm religious extremism in this country.

Witte, John, Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment, 2nd edition.  Boulder: Westview Press, 2005.

Witte argues “The First Amendment…is a synthesis of both the theological convictions and the political calculations of the eighteenth-century American founders.” Witte uses this understanding with key theological and political understandings of the founders to provide a fresh criticism of the recent debates over the first amendment. This new edition analyzes recent court decisions and includes summaries of 161 Supreme Court cases on religious liberty.  He views America not as a “Christian Nation,” but as a nation with the soul of a “sanctuary” of churches and consciences.”

Witte, John, God’s Joust, God’s Justice: Law and Religion in the Western Tradition.  Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 2006.

Witte covers more than 2,000 years of legal history, examining the points at which religion and law have collided.  He discusses many topics — the contributions of religion to historical advances in human rights, the separation of church and state – and provides an effective survey of the history of intersections of religion and law.

Whitten, Mark Weldon, The Myth of Christian America: What You Need to Know about the Separation of Church and State. Macon: Smyth and Helwys,1999.

This book seeks to refute the claims of “conservative Christians” that the founders of the United States established a “Christian America.”  Whitten attacks this myth by pointing to the intentions of the founding fathers and detailing what he feels is the real legacy of the first amendment, church and state separation.

Wogaman, Philip J., Christian Perspectives On Politics: Revised and Expanded. Louisville, Kentucky:  Westminster John Knox Press, 2000.

Christian Perspectives On Politics explores the contributions that Christians have made to civil society, examining the origins of political activity as an essential part of human society.  The book is divided into four parts and ends with an epilogue that reiterates Gods involvement in human affairs through history by way of the Christian community.

Wood, James E., ed., First Freedom: Religion and the Bill of Rights. Waco, Texas: J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, 1990.

James Wood has edited a collection of essays originally composed for a symposium on Church-State issues at Baylor University. The contributions include essays on the theological sources on the religion clauses by David Little as well as analysis on the status of the Bill of Rights and their incorporation.

Wright, Nigel G. (2005). Free Church, Free State: The positive baptist vision. Paternoster Press: London, England.

Nigel Wright attempts to offer as indicated by Paul Avis on the books cover, “An accessible and non-polemical introduction to Baptist ecclesiology.” Wright accomplishes this by offering the historical and theological underpinnings for two Christian traditions: Catholic and Baptist. Wright intentionally does not capitalize the traditions to imply that each represents a larger grouping of Christian faith traditions than those typically associated to the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Baptist denomination. Rather, he defines Baptist as traditions that stem from the radical wing of the Reformation, all valuing the autonomy of the local church, the freedom of conscience, and the believer’s baptism; such as Mennonites, Bretheren, Pentecostals, Disciples of Christ, and in contemporary terms would encompass independent and nondenominational churches. All of these traditions could more commonly carry the terms ‘baptistic’ or ‘Baptist-compatible.’ The term catholic, Wright defines as, the larger grouping of Catholic and Orthodox doctrines, placing greater emphasis on the tradition and governance of the Church.

Wright concludes his book suggesting strategies that clearly demonstrate his hope for the promotion of a pluralistic society and understanding as well as engagement between the two faith traditions. Wright warns against the dangers of habitual fragmentation, so often seen in Baptist traditions. He also highlights lessons from catholic governance that the Baptists could apply to their own conventions, but warns that the organization of Catholics can be viewed as a threat to soul freedom and church autonomy.

J. Brent Walker
Rev. 3/2016