So Help Me God
The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State
By Forrest Church
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151011858, 544pp.)
Publication Date: September 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Today’s dispute over the line between church and state (or the lack thereof) is neither the first nor the fiercest in our history. In a powerful retelling of the birth of the American body politic, religious historian Forrest Church describes our first great culture wara tumultuous yet nearly forgotten conflict that raged from George Washington’s presidency to James Monroe’s. On one side of the battle, the proponents of orderFederalists, Congregationalists, New Englandersbelieved that the only legitimate ruler of men is God. On the other side, the defenders of libertyrepublicans, Baptists, Virginianscheered the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, and believed that only the separation of church and state would preserve man’s freedom. Would we be a nation under God, or with liberty for all?In this vigorous history, Forrest Church offers a new vision of our earliest presidents’ beliefs, reshaping assumptions about the debates that still reverberate across our land.
FORREST CHURCH is currently serving his thirtieth year as minister of All Souls Church in Manhattan. He earned his doctorate in church history at Harvard and has written or edited twenty-two books, including The Separation of Church and State. He lives in New York.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR SO HELP ME GOD
"A wide-angled view of the whole history of the early republic. Solid and scintillating." --Edwin S. Gaustad, author of Sworn on the Altar of God
"Magnificently combines a comprehensive knowledge of the history of the American presidency, a sophisticated appreciation for the intricacies of American politics, and a surpassing understanding of the role of religion in American life." --Senator Gary Hart, author of James Monroe