Thomas Kidd on Religious Freedom and the Founding Fathers

Thomas Kidd on Religious Freedom and the Founding Fathers May 8, 2010

Governor McDonnell of Virginia recently issued a decision that police chaplains can be permitted to say the name of Jesus Christ in public prayers.  Is this discriminatory?  Does it amount to a state endorsement of a particular religion?  Or is it merely allowing ministers the freedom to exercise their faith in their own particular forms — and refusing, in fact, to enforce a stripped-down civil religion that is more politically correct?

Thomas Kidd, whose material we have published at the Evangelical Portal before, is a former protege of George Marsden and a rising star in the field of American religious history.  He takes up the question here, and strongly agrees with McDonnell’s stance.  This is actually similar to the issue at hand in the recent CLS v. Martinez case argued before (and not yet decided by) the Supreme Court.  I will explain the similarity later.

In the meantime, read the whole of Kidd’s piece at The Washington Post here.


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