What have you learned about the nature of this nation’s founding documents: Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights?
In this week’s reading we discuss religion and the revolution. Although the revolution was not about religion per se, religion did play a role, just as we will see when we begin to look at the Civil War. What was the role? What was the nature of these religions? How similar/dissimilar are they to the religions with which you are familiar?
What were the religious views of the founders, who are discussed at length in our reading? If religion played a central role in the history of the colonies prior to the revolution, why was the US Constitution a “secular” document?
It also discusses what the “Founding Fathers” had in mind when the religion clauses of the First Amendment were amended to the United States Constitution. What were their thoughts? What documents re the separation of church and state preceded the First Amendment?
The documentary discusses the role Thomas Jefferson played in the First Amendment. What was it? What was his thinking about “church and state”? Moreover, the documentary discusses the role “religious minorities” play in the First Amendment’s religion clauses. Are they protected or not? Why?
The documentary also takes us into the 19th Century when religious pluralism in the United States really took off. Not only were Catholics and Jews coming to the United States in vast numbers, but they also brought their religious beliefs and traditions with them, which challenged the Protestant hegemony of the United States. What issues were raised by their presence?
Although some might not approve even today, religious diversity is a given in contemporary culture in the United States, meaning it is accepted by most people. This was not always the case. Not only will this chapter cover the influx of immigrants, especially those who were Catholics–a religion despised by many Protestants at that time, but will also discuss the increasing pluralism among Protestant Christians, primarily the result of evangelicalism.
Therefore, in addition to diversity, another important theme in the study of religion and politics in the United States is ‘encounter.’ What happens when one group of people encounters another group of people who have an entirely different culture, way of life, and worldview? Was this country really founded upon religious freedom, as many people believe?
I want you to begin to devise your own prompts for the discussion. I want you to think about what you think are the main concepts in this material—both the text and the documentary? What have you learned about the nature of this nation’s founding documents: Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights?
*PLEASE write a 300 word summary on documentary God in America: A New Eden. Here is the link https://youtu.be/DODtRQ2Iah8
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