Here’s a pithy and penetrating summary of the classic Hamburger argument concerning the true history of religious liberty in our country so far.
In my unwavering effort to be perfectly fair and balanced, I’m adding, at Paul Seaton’s suggestion, Tom West’s positive but critical review of Hamburger--he’s sort of a Hamburger helper. I’m not as sure as Tom is that Hamburger is too hard on Jefferson, because I think Tom puts too much weight on the single ambiguous quotation that talks about our liberties being the gift of the wrathful God from NOTES ON VIRGINIA. I do like the image of Jefferson being caught between manly Lockeanisn and the trendy atheism of the French Enlightenment, although I think Tom underplays Locke’s effort to subvert the creaturely self-undestanding central to Christian faith. No doubt the truth on Jefferson is somewhere in between West and Hamburger.