In his piece for today’s On the Square , James R. Rogers discusses an early argument over the proper roles of Church and Stateone involving Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison:
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison squared off against Patrick Henry and his bill for Establishing A Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion for Virginia in the mid-1780s. Jefferson and Madison won the day, and the Virginia legislature did not enact Henrys bill.
This was no simple anti-religious victory. In an ironic twist, Henrys argument in support of religious establishment breathes more of secular modernity than Jefferson and Madisons arguments. Jefferson and Madison made extensive appeal to theological principlesprinciples largely consistent with Anabaptist claimswhile Henry limited his argument in the bills preamble to the temporal benefits the policy would generate for civil society.
Read the rest here .
If you are anything like me, you probably wondered if you can pitch this story to Sherman Edwards , the songwriter who brought us 1776 . Unfortunately, Edwards is no longer with us. Perhaps an enterprising ROFTer can seize on this opportunity.