From James Madison to William Lee Miller: John Courtney Murray and Baptist Theory of the first Amendment

Document Type




Format of Original

23 p.

Publication Date

Winter 1995


Oxford University Press

Source Publication

Journal of Church and State

Source ISSN



This essay seeks a way from factual to collaborative pluralism in church-state relations. It accepts a bold and hopeful prospect outlined by William Lee Miller. "Suppose," said Miller, that "Catholicism needs to be itself affected and modified by its experience in American 'Protestant' democracy, a democracy that, with all its faults, has in it social goods that it does seem unlikely an originally Catholic culture would have produced." This did not pre-judge ecclesiological doctrines as the early John Courtney Murray, S.J. (1904-1967) might have feared. Rather, Miller offered an historically-conscious evaluation of communal practices, a manner of judgment Murray entered into more and more as he examined church-state relations and religious liberty.


Journal of Church and State, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Winter 1995): 15-37. DOI.