Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Constitution or the Bible? Navigating the quagmire of Christian fundamentalism in twenty first-century America
by Smith, James Paul, M.A., University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2013, 215; 1541779
Abstract (Summary)

My thesis is a rhetorical exploration of the historical and contemporary struggle in America regarding the relationship between government and religion in the public square. It begins in the nation's infancy with the first settlers, who, realizing that as Christians they were a religious majority, and no longer a persecuted minority. They then decided that being in control of religion and government was not such a bad thing after all. Ultimately, they reversed their thinking and became staunch advocates of a confluence between Christian religion and government.

Other early patriots, who had witnessed the atrocities of such an entanglement on the European continent, became staunch advocates of a separation between the role of church and the role of government. The latter, today commonly called the Founders, were charged with the task of determining how to approach the colonies' newly found independence, the development of a system of government, and the nature of the governing documents. These leaders were resolute that religious persecutions of any kind, especially those carried out by government officials, would not be the defining characteristic of American society. This is the story of the rhetoric of that struggle and the subsequent Constitutional provisions for protection of freedom of religion and freedom from religion, both then and now.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cox, Earnest L.
Commitee: Crisp, Sally C., Harris, Cheryl L.
School: University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Department: Rhetoric and Writing
School Location: United States -- Arkansas
Source: MAI 52/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Religious history, American history, Political science
Publication Number: 1541779
ISBN: 9781303249884
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