Encouraging scholarship, strengthening faith identity, and interpreting contemporary issues in Baptist life.

by J. Brent Walker
Baptist Joint Committee
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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.


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.”


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.  


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.


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”


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.


Flowers, Ronald B., That Godless Court?.  Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994.

            This book offers an introduction to the first amendment’s religion clauses. It discusses most of the courts’ church-state decisions through 1993.


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.


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’s Puritan roots and then tells how Williams would come to be an important figure in future American life.


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. 


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, Massachusetts:  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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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


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.


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.”


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, Virginia: 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.


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.”


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. 


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.”


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.


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.”


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.


Witte, John, Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment, 2d editionBoulder: 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.” 


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.


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