Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vincent Phillip Muñoz's "God and the Founders"

Vincent Phillip Muñoz is Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion & Public Life in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and Jefferson, and reported the following:
Page 99 is revealing indeed! It is where I begin my critique of Thomas Jefferson’s duplicity on the matter of church and state.

God and the Founders attempts to explain the church-state positions of three of America’s most important Founders: Madison, Washington and Jefferson. The book articulates each Founder’s church-state philosophy, applies those competing philosophies to actual religious liberty Supreme Court cases, and then evaluates each Founder’s position.

The book aims to show how the Founders agreed and disagreed (a point that prior studies have failed to understand). In doing so, I also attempt to reveal how the Founders have been used and misused by members of the Supreme Court, left and right. I contend that if we are going to consult the Founders to guide contemporary jurisprudence, we ought to: A) interpret the Founders correctly, and B) evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each Founder’s position. God and the Founders attempts to provide the foundation to do just that.
Read an excerpt from God and the Founders, and learn more about the book at the Cambridge University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue