The American Revolution was almost 250 years ago, and yet, ripples are still being felt today as the thought of Hobbes, Locke, and the Framers of our government are just as pertinent to world events today as they were a quarter of a millennium ago. Historiography is essential since it’s only through a broad understanding of what has transpired that we can understand why certain theories have arisen and why they have gained acceptance.

Hobbes and Locke were very much products of their time and they themselves were undoubtedly influenced by what had transpired in their own recent history. The Reformation had taken place, King Henry VIII had lived and died, Catherine of Aragon had lived and died and greatly influenced her daughter Mary in the Catholic traditions, Ann Boleyn had become queen and was executed, but not before being a key player in the rise and spread of Protestantism, which her daughter Elizabeth I had adopted. Had all the dynamics during Henry VIII’s reign not taken place, had the Protestants not been persecuted and heretics not executed by the Crown, and especially by Queen Mary; the Pilgrims night not have been compelled to leave England in pursuit of religious freedom. Had the Pilgrims not left England, there might never have been a Mayflower Compact, which in 1620, constituted an early social contract, the creation of which must have influenced both Hobbes and Locke to some degree as it came into existence when Hobbes was a young man and twelve years before Locke was born—to Puritan parents.

Click to continue reading “Egyptian Unrest is in the Finest American Tradition: Hobbes, Locke and the Founding Fathers”

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Church and StateThis is the first part of a multi-part series on the issue of separation of church and state. With this being the holiday season, it just seemed appropriate to bring this issue up here on this blog considering this is the primary time of the year that we start hearing all the arguments for and against “separation of church and state.” Please keep in mind, while this discussion will attempt to remain as non-partisan and not promoting any single religion, the fact is the topic of this discussion is religion and it might appear there may be some encroachment on the non-partisanship promise of this blog. Please be rest assured, that is not the intent here.

The purpose of this discussion is to look at the historical context from which this idea was born and what it has meant to this country and religion over the past two centuries. The first place to start is the United States Constitution – in particular – the First Amendment as it relates to religion:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

This is also known as “The Establishment Clause.”  The interpretation of this particular line of the First Amendment has caused quite a problem over the last 50 years in the United States.  Secular organizations have used this language to have all forms of religion removed from any public establishment including schools, government buildings, court houses, etc. at all levels of government (local, county, state, and federal).  Their premise is that the First Amendment requires an absolute separation of church and state.  But, there is absolutely no mention of this particular phrase in the entire U.S. Constitution.  So – where did this come about?

Click to continue reading “Separation of Church and State — Part I”

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