Title: Freedom of Religion
Author: Sarah Carpenter-Vascik
Stars: 4 out of 5
Interesting book that tells the founding of the United States and the history behind the men that are considered the Founding Fathers. She starts the book by describing the early pilgrims and puritans and the reasons for their looking for a new land where they could practice their religion unimpeded by the laws and rules of the English kings. She tells the story of Roger Williams, John Winthrop, John Calvin plus the pilgrims, Quakers, the little known Jewish immigrants who settled in Rhode Island. Sarah goes into a lot of the history of the Puritans, their reasons for leaving their homes and country to find a new land free from religious persecution but then turning around and doing the same thing to those who did not believe the way they felt was right.
She goes on to explain how the Founding Fathers were influenced by each of these groups and their English backgrounds.
"By the time of the founding fathers, many of them or their families having immigrated from England, began to recognize the need for a secular government, not because they had a problem with religion, indeed, many themselves admitted holding various religious beliefs......but because they witness first hand the immediate effect and long term aftermath of a state sponsored and supported church. "
In referring to the writing of the constitution of the United States Sarah wants the reader to realize the difference between the constitution and the Declaration of Independence. In the declaration God is mentioned, in the formation of the government that is done with the constitution He is not.
In the chapter "A Christian Nation", she tells the stories from early American history of religious " elitism" where one group tells the other group they are wrong and conform or else such as the hanging of the Quaker women because they would not denounce their beliefs.
Sarah also tells the life stories of some of the American hero's such as George Washington dispelling "myths" from their lives. Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, John Madison, Alexander Hamilton very interesting histories on each of these men.
One criticism I do have of this book is the lack of foot notes. I would liked to have seen the sources that she garnered her information from, are they original sources and where are they located so if the reader wants to see them they can with ease. She does have copies of original letters at the back of the book that are most interesting to read but again does not tell us where she found them and to what source others may go to find them in their original format.
All in all a good history of religion freedom from the Colonies to the modern day, But Foot Note Are Essential when writing a work of this nature. Sarah has put extensive thought and time into this book and helps lead the reader to make their own conclusions as to whether America was intended to be a Christian nation with a secular government, meaning God is kept out of anything to do with public life, or is it a Christian nation under God. I leave it to you the reader to decide!
I give this book four out of five stars removing one for LACK OF SOURCES!
Thank you Eileen for your review.
Lately, we hear more and more about how our Founding Fathers were all Christian, God-fearing men and America is a Christian country. Ministers across the nation proclaim this in sermons and political speeches and politicians continually proclaim it at rallies and events, but is our country really Christian? Was it intended to be? Did the men who founded America and drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights really set out to create a nation by and for Christians, or was our fledgling country meant for people of all faiths and beliefs equally? This book attempts to answer these questions by examining the history and events that surrounded the Founding Fathers, and how this affected them. Only by hearing their own words can we really know what they envisioned as they expressed their ideas and opinions about the impact of religion when it’s interwoven in politics and government. This work makes extensive use of letters and documents written by the Founding Fathers to reveal their personally expressed ideas and feelings about religion, ideas and feelings that may surprise you.
About The Author:
I knew that I was not male from about age five, but I was raised in a conservative, Republican, Pre-Vatican II Catholic household. Both my parents were veterans of WW II and as such, there was little room for anyone who was not M or F. I was married in 1972 and have two children, both girls. My older daughter, aged 36, hasn’t talked to me in almost four years and I have no contact information for her. My younger daughter, aged 28, is closer to me than at any time in our lives. My spouse and I have been legally separated since 2005.
After a life-long struggle with my gender conflict, I started counseling in 2003, began hormone therapy in August of 2004, transitioned and began living full time as myself in June of 2005. I successfully transitioned at my principal job at the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT. in 2005 and also at a part time job I held from 2002 to 2009.
I retired from the university in February of 2012 after 33 years and retired to Cape Cod where I now live. I make earrings and pendants out of sea glass, also known as beach glass, I am an amateur photographer and I make a nuisance of myself by pestering all my elected officials to pass equal rights legislation for the trans community. I have and continue to speak at conferences and conventions, across the country, presenting gender identity / gender expression awareness training.