I admittedly I have a bit of a thing for James Madison. In addition to the powerful role he played in advancing religious freedom, I think he was overshadowed by Jefferson because he was short, sickly and not a very good writer. This, believe it or not, is a life mask of James Madison.
No person played a more important role in the creation of religious freedom than Madison. He was heavily influenced by evangelicals in Virginia, having witness horrible persecution of Baptists. He successfully blocked an effort to tax Virginians to pay for the salaries of ministers. He engineered the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, helped shape the U.S. Constitution — and drafted what became the First Amendment. What does a guy after to do to get a monument?
My book devotes a chapter to unpacking his often misunderstood views on the topic. In a nutshell:. He thought that more important than the First Amendment – and other “parchment barriers” – was the proliferation of a “multiplicity of sects” – the creation of a free market for religion.
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