Thursday, June 20, 2013

"Religion and the American Founding" Seminar: Day 2

I love doing these seminars for (and with) teachers!!  Unlike many traditional undergraduates, high school and middle school teachers come to a seminar like this wanting to learn.  They are full of questions about the material and are always thinking deeply about how they can connect the content to their classrooms.

The second full day of my "Teachers as Scholars" seminar on Religion and the American Founding covered the role of religion in the United States Constitution and the various state constitutions.  We read relevant parts of seven state constitutions written between 1776 and 1780 and examined how each of the documents treated the issue of religious freedom, religious establishment, and religious tests for office. 

After lunch our discussion turned to Christian Republicanism and Benjamin Rush's Of the Mode of Education in a Republic.  We focused on how all the founding fathers thought religion should be promoted as long as it helped to produce virtuous republican citizens or, as Rush described it, "republican machines." 

The two days went by way too fast and I think all of us left yesterday afternoon wanting more.  Here's wishing Don, Wayne, Krystal, Rodney, Stephanie, and Jake a great summer.  I hope our two days together was informative and useful.