From James Madison to William Lee Miller: John Courtney Murray and Baptist Theory of the first Amendment
Format of Original
Oxford University Press
Journal of Church and State
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.