Posted by: rudyruddell | May 28, 2012

Separation of Church and State Lectures 2012

Here are three links to lectures by Dr. Franklin T. Lambert regarding separation of church and state.

Lecture 1: https://vimeo.com/41254578

Lecture 2: https://vimeo.com/41258740

Lecture 3: https://vimeo.com/41263817

Although he is lecturing in a secular university, he appears to be speaking from a Baptist perspective, as these videos were uploaded by the Baptist Joint Committee. In spite of this religious perspective, he appears very objective in his presentation and I found little disagreement with my secular understanding of the history of church and state in the United States.

My plan is to listen to these lectures again and comment on them all,  but for now, I will comment on the third video since it is fresh on my mind. I was struck by Lambert’s account of Benjamin Franklin’s proposal to resort to prayer in order to help resolve disagreement in the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention about how to pick Congressional representatives. I was surprised that Franklin proposed this religious solution since he was an outspoken deist, but I was almost as surprised by the unenthusiastic response from the Convention members. The consensus was that they should not resort to prayer because  it would convey the message that they cannot solve the problems themselves.

I was also struck by his story of Adam Smith describing how not having established churches is much more effective in spreading the gospel than having established churches since established churches have little incentive to proselytize. How right he was.

I may want to read some of Lambert’s books later: http://www.cla.purdue.edu/history/documents/Publications/Publ-09-10-Lambert.pdf

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