Faith and the Founders: The Past and Future of Church and State

University of Oklahoma

Andrew Porwancher is the Wick Cary Professor at the University of Oklahoma, where he teaches constitutional history. Professor Porwancher previously held the May Fellowship at Harvard, the Horne Fellowship at Oxford, and the Garwood Fellowship at Princeton. Porwancher also is the recipient of the Longmire Prize for innovative teaching. His newest book, The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton, was published by Princeton University Press and won the Journal of the American Revolution Book-of-the Year Award.



In our country’s earliest years, the founders debated the proper role of faith in American civic life.  Which rights should be extended to religious minorities?  What is the appropriate relationship between church and state?  Does the Establishment Clause require their separation, or can religious liberty flourish alongside government support for faith?  In this lecture, Professor Andrew Porwancher will explore how the towering figures of the founding period grappled these questions—and how their answers can help us navigate the challenges of faith and freedom in modern America.



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Engaging, fascinating presentation!

Thank you, Professor Porwancher, for such an engaging, enlightening, and stimulating presentation. You beautifully brought to life the genesis of the ongoing debate regarding separation of church and state, including a wonderfully structured overview of the prevailing, and often conflicting, perspectives of our Founding Fathers. Thank you, as well, for your candid response (which came as no surprise) to the viewer’s question about the influence of faith on justices. (I’m always “struck” by the words “In God We Trust” in the courtroom . . .) Thank you again for a great class!!

10 months ago
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