The Separation of Church and State

Front Cover
Beacon Press, Jun 1, 2011 - Religion - 176 pages
Now in paperback, a primer of essential writings about one of the cornerstones of our democracy by the original authors of the Constitution, edited by preeminant liberal theologian Forrest Church.

Americans will never stop debating the question of church-state separation, and such debates invariably lead back to the nation’s beginnings and the founders’ intent. The Separation of Church and State presents a basic collection of the founders’ teachings on this topic. This concise primer gets past the rhetoric that surrounds the current debate, placing the founders’ vivid writings on religious liberty in historical perspective. Edited and with running commentary by Forrest Church, this important collection informs anyone curious about the original blueprint for our country and its government.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Selected pages


In Defense of Religious LibertyPatrick Henry
The Rights of the ColonistsSamuel Adams
Baptist Appeals for Religious LibertyIsaac Backus
Colonial Declarations of RightsGeorge Mason and John Adams
Memorial of the Hanover PresbyteryCaleb Wallace
Notes on the State of VirginiaThomas Jefferson
Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious AssessmentsJames Madison
The Landholder No 7Oliver Ellsworth
The Rights of ConscienceJohn Leland
Letters on Religious LawsGeorge Washington
Farewell Address SelectionsGeorge Washington
The Treaty of Tripoli Article 11
A Wall of SeparationThomas Jefferson
A Detached MemorandumJames Madison
Of Liberty of Conscience and Civil Establishment of Religion Richard Price

Virginia Statute for Religious FreedomThomas Jefferson

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Forrest Church (1948–2009) served for almost three decades as senior minister and was minister of public theology at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City. He wrote or edited twenty-five books, including Love & Death.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Bibliographic information