racy. For Carter, the purpose of religionsrnis to secure and promote democratic pluralism,rnand their moral legitimacy isrnjudged accordingly. Religions are in servicernto the democratic state, and thisrnstate, in turn, is good for the right kind ofrnreligions. The wrong kind of religionsrnwill either have to tough it out in a politicalrnculture that condemns themrn(rightly. Carter thinks) or conform theirrnbeliefs to the proper liberal ones. Thus,rnRoman Catholics may persist if theyrnwant in their immoral condemnation ofrnhomosexual acts, but the state is legitimaternto condemn them for it; “The staternhas a perfect right to send a messagernthat it is verv wrong to discriminate onrnthe basis of sexual orientation.” But howrndoes the state “send a message” otherrnthan through legal or political sanction?rnCarter wants a robust religion that willrncondemn some acts of the state, butrnonlv those acts that show a flagging commitmentrnto rigorous liberal democraticrnpluralist morality. “Democracy needs itsrnnose-thumbers, and to speak of the religionsrnas intermediaries is to insist thatrnthe’ play important roles in the properrnfunction of the republic.” But every concreterninstance in which “the religions”rnare applauded for such nose-thumbing isrnone in which they condemn anythingrnthat smacks of “division” or “intolerance”rn—in short, any that is not so reactionaryrnas to suggest that democraticrnpluralism might not be an unqualifiedrngood.rnThis leads directly to the third manifestationrnof Carter’s Lockean religion:rnthe chimerical assertion that Americanrnlegal and political institutions of religiousrnfreedom are designed to protectrnreligion from the state, rather than thernstate from religion. Now it is probablyrnunarguable that the broadly popular sentimentrnat the time of the AmericanrnFounding was that the state ought tornprotect religious freedom. Nor is it arguablernthat the First Amendment, asrnoriginally envisioned, does not preventrnthe various states from establishing religionrn(which Massachusetts did untilrn1835). Moreover, I prescind from judgingrnthe propriety of including the statesrnunder the Bill of Rights through thernagency of the 14th Amendment. But tornclaim that the intention of the Constitutionrnof the United States is to protectrnreligion from the state rather than thernstate from religion is simple legal fiction,rnand Carter swallows it feathers and all.rnIn endorsing this fiction Carter firstrninvokes not one of the Founding Fathersrnbut Roger Williams, who died some 100rnyears before the First Amendment wasrnwritten. (Carter is either unaware of thisrnor uninterested in informing the readerrnthat he is aware of this; he discussesrnWilliams in a paragraph about “mostrnmembers of the Founding Generation.”)rnCertainly Williams’s theory is a rigorousrncall for the protection of dissenting religionrnfor the sake of religion, but hisrntheory is not that of James Madison or ofrnThomas Jefferson, both of whom werernpreoccupied with protecting the staternfrom Williams’s kind of religion ratherrnthan in protecting that religion from thernstate.rnJefferson, for instance, sought to underminernthe “monkish ignorance” of traditionalrnreligion, and he explicitly saidrnthat he hoped the political institutionsrnhe helped to erect would eradicaternChristianity from America. “I confidentlyrnexpect,” he wrote in 1822, “thatrnthe present generation will see Unitarianismrnbecome the general religion ofrnthe United States.” He clearly belieedrnthat the religious-political institutions ofrnthe American Founding were in largernpart, if not exclusiveh’, the instrument forrneffecting this conversion.rnAnd Madison was of the opinion thatrnthe state needed safeguards against religionrnsince, as he wrote to Jefferson inrn1787, “even in its coolest State, [religion]rnhas been much oftener a motive tornoppression than a restraint from it.” Ofrncourse a cursory reading (which is allrnCarter gives it) of Madison’s Memorialrnand Remonstrance Against Religious Assessmentsrnand Federalist No. 10 and 51rnmight leave the impression that Madisonrnis benign toward religion. But one mustrnnote why he wanted to encourage thernproliferation of many sects: to diffuserntheir concentrated ability to influencernpublic policy—that is, to protect thernstate from them. Madison’s hope wasrnthat the political institutions of thernFounding would contribute to an eventualrnbenign secularism, in which religiousrnorthodoxy would be consigned tornits proper place on the lunatic fringe ofrnAmerican society.rnIn short, Michael McConnell’s essayrnin the Eastland book could well be describingrnMadison and Jefferson when itrncriticizes modern thinkers whose positionrnamounts to “a demand for freedomrnfrom religion, not freedom of religion.rnAnd the society they would create is onernnot of religious diversity but of a dullrnand conformist secularism.” Importantly,rnMcConnell implicitly recognizes thatrnthis secularism is not necessarilyrnachieved by direct legislation against religion,rnbut rather by a secular legal conceptrnthat gradually crowds out the religiousrnones that once shaped men’s livesrnin a more salutar) way. As he explains,rnAmerica’s descent into secularism “mostrnoften . . . comes in the form of mores,rnsometimes reinforced by law, that makernit uncomfortable or costly to put one’srnreligious principles into practice in public.”rn(McConnell’s analysis, here as elsewhere,rnis deficient insofar as he exemptsrnthe Founders from this charge of aggressivernsecularism.)rnWhat is even more damaging is thatrnthese legal mores—the historical idea ofrna secular legal culture—have been sornpowerful that Christians have forgottenrnthe example of a truly countercultural religion,rnwhich does not miraculously conformrnto every principal of enlightenedrnliberal democracy, whether in its Republicanrnor Democratic party forms.rnStephen Carter, despite his best intentions,rnis a living example of just such forgetfulness.rncrnLET USrnKNOWrnBEFORErnYOU GO!rnTo assure uninterrupted delivery ofrnCHRONICLES please notify us inrnadvance. Send change of address onrnthis form with the mailing label fromrnyour latest issue of CHRONICLES to:rnSubscription DepartmentrnCHRONICLESrnP.O. Box 800rnMount Morris, Illinois 61054rnMrnOrnVrnIrnMARCH 1994/35rnrnrn