I just posted my monthly piece to the Religion in American History Blog.
In this one, I spring-board off of discussions of George Marsden’s new book (read my quick review here) to raise the larger point about about the dilemma of religious authority in America.
As I demonstrate in a brief sketch, religious authority has been something Christians in America have been wrestling with for a long time–at least back to Jonathan Edwards, although one could make the argument it goes back to Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams.
To my mind, understanding Tocqueville is an important piece of this dilemma. Tocqueville saw with great insight the challenges confronting any authority, including religious authority, in a society whose first passion was democracy.
Take a look at the piece, and let me know what you think.