Another 4th of July Suggestion

Last year we suggested [re-]reading the Declaration of Independence to celebrated the 4th of July.

This year we have a book to suggest: Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty.

I finished the book a few days ago. I could not put it down. Roger Williams was in the right place at the right time throughout his life in England and New England. At great risk he took advantage of the situations to our benefit. He risked his life to preserve his own independent ideas and to create a colony based on freedom of ideas, which led to the freedom we are guaranteed in the First Amendment. From the book description:

For four hundred years, Americans have wrestled with and fought over two concepts that define the nature of the nation: the proper relation between church and state and between a free individual and the state. These debates began with the extraordinary thought and struggles of Roger Williams, who had an unparalleled understanding of the conflict between a government that justified itself by “reason of state”-i.e. national security-and its perceived “will of God” and the “ancient rights and liberties” of individuals.

This is a story of power, set against Puritan America and the English Civil War. Williams’s interactions with King James, Francis Bacon, Oliver Cromwell, and his mentor Edward Coke set his course, but his fundamental ideas came to fruition in America, as Williams, though a Puritan, collided with John Winthrop’s vision of his “City upon a Hill.”

According to the Author:

[Roger Williams] was saying that when one mixes religion and politics one gets politics.

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