Although John F. Kennedy proclaimed an "absolute" separation of church and state, faithful Catholics have long struggled to maintain a connection between faith and politics.
The intersection between church and state has always been a sticking point for Americans, especially for those in public office. During recent election cycles, we've witnessed spiritual compromise by self-described Catholic politicians and the attack of popular media against socially conservative candidates. This year, the tension between church and state came to a head with the major confrontation between the Catholic Bishops and the Obama administration over policy decisions.
Get to the Source
Dr. Bradley Birzer reaches deep into American history to present a study of the conflict between Catholics, the Church, and the federal government. The Founding Fathers made it clear they believed that personal religion had everything to do with politics - but somewhere in our country's history, we've lost that understanding.
Professor Birzer also highlights the influence Catholics have had in the formation of our country. After all, one of the Fathers was a Catholic named Charles Carroll. Dr. Birzer provides an in-depth look at Carroll's role in the foundation of the United States of America in a dynamic treatment spanning two lectures.
Keeping the Faith Alive
Religion, and Catholicism in particular, continued to influence politics and culture through the great religious revivals of the Second Great Awakening in the late 19th century. In fact, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his 1835 classic, Democracy in America, that the United States enjoyed a "great unity of Christianity. . . . There can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth."
Dr. Birzer explains this great unity, the soaring church membership that occurred during the Great Awakening, and what it meant for both Christianity and the state.
Down, but Not Out
Although Americans might not enjoy the same unity of Christianity we did a century ago, its fundamental principles continue to powerfully influence literature, academia, social issues, and political parties.
Join Professor Birzer for a study in American history and politics, and how Catholics shaped our country in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
About the Author
Professor Bradley Birzer holds a Doctorate from Indiana University in Bloomington. He is the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History and Director of the American Studies Program at Hillsdale College, Michigan. He is the author of Sanctifying the World: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson (Christendom Press, 2007) and American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2010). He is Chairman of the Board of Academic Advisors for the Center for the American Idea in Houston, as well as a board member for Sapientia Press and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Item No: C601 (Grouped)
Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC
Publication Date: 2012
Binding: DVD, CD, MP4 Video Download, MP3 Audio Download and Group Study Edition
8 Lectures (Approx. 30 min. each)
1. Settling North America: Anti-Catholicism in the New World From the very beginning, Catholics and Protestants competed to control the continent of North America.
2. The Colonies: Islands of Intolerance in a Sea of Tolerance Almost no group that came to North America from the Old World desired to have religious freedom - what they wanted was autonomy.
3. Charles Carroll: First Citizen and Catholic Founding Father When he died, headlines across the country mourned: "Charles Carroll is no more," "A Great Man hath Fallen in Israel," and "The Last of the Romans Has Died."
4. The Second Great Awakening and Religious Democracy The Second Great Awakening, in its extreme individualism, became so focused on the individual that it lost almost all sight of community.
5. Alexis de Tocqueville's America Tocqueville believed that American democracy was the future of the world.
6. Progressivism, Nationalism, and the "Greater Good" American Progressives were rarely about the dignity and the sanctity of the individual.
7. The Moral Imagination: Rescuing the Modern Mind The greatest literature of the 20th century promoted the good of the mind and soul.
8. The 20th Century: Ideology, Horrors, and Heroism "For America, the time has come to dare to show to the world that our intellectual and spiritual values are rooted in the source of all strength, a belief in a Supreme Being, and a law higher than our own." - Ronald Reagan, 1981