Despite the secular basis of our government and the constitutional separation of church and state, religion has exerted an enormous influence on American life, from the importation of Puritan theocracy in the seventeenth century to the growing influence of evangelical religion in the twenty-first century.
This course investigates the historical development of religion in America. It examines the influence of religion as an institution and religious ideas in the culture. By assessing the impact of religion on American politics and law, it highlights throughout how religion has acted to erode both capitalism and political freedom. The course evaluates the claims that America's Founders were religious, that religious ideas helped ameliorate various social ills and that religion is uniquely a phenomenon of the political right. Dr. Daniels further illustrates how the modern religious landscape in America can only be understood in light of its historical development.
Without an understanding of how religion has featured in American life historically, one cannot fully defend America today from those who would revive a religious government, or worse, a modern theocracy.
This course was recorded at the 2009 Objectivist Summer Conference in Boston, MA.
(MP3 download; 4 hrs., 35 min., with Q & A, 188 MB)