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This book examines the famous Jefferson document that foreshadowed the Constitution's guarantee of religious liberty, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Jefferson wrote the Virginia Statute and shepherded it through a decade-long struggle for adoption. The statute reflects two key Revolutionary principles: absolute freedom of religious conscience and the separation of church and state.
Editors' preface; The statute of Virginia for religious freedom; 1. The Virginia statute two hundred years later Martin E. Marty; 2. Colonial religion and liberty of conscience Edwin S. Gaustad; 3. Religious Freedom and the desacralization of politics J. G. A. Pocock; 4. The political theory of Thomas Jefferson Thomas E. Buckley, S. J.; 5. James Madison, the statute for religious freedom, and the crisis of republican convictions Lance Banning; 6. 'The rage of malice of the old serpent devil': the dissenters and the making and remaking of the Virginia statute for religious freedom Rhys Isaac; 7. 'Quota of imps' John T. Noonan, Jr; 8. Jeffersonian religious liberty and American pluralism Cushing Strout; 9. Religion and civil virtue in America: Jefferson's statute reconsidered David Little; 10. The priority of democracy to philosophy Richard Rorty; 11. Madison's 'detached memoranda': then and now Leo Pfeffer; 12. The Supreme Court and the serpentine wall A. E. Dick Howard; Index.