All posts tagged: James Madison

Touro Synagogue

Let’s take a road trip to help understand the history behind religious liberty

In following coverage of the fight over the Supreme Court*, don’t worry if you have become confused about the concept of religious liberty. Those making the most noise either do not understand — or do not want to understand — this fundamental First Amendment right enshrined in the Constitution. People who should know better often sow confusion around the history and meaning of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Before we go all 2020 and take a virtual road trip to visit the places that help us see why the religious persecution faced by earlier generations led to this all-important amendment, let’s begin with a quick summary of why religious liberty is on the radar screen today. Recently two justices on the Supreme Court couldn’t pass up the chance to comment as they joined the court’s unanimous decision not to hear the appeal of Kim Davis, a Kentucky public official who refused to issue marriage licenses because of her personal religious views against same-sex unions. Justices …

Montpelier Restoration Celebrated Amid Praise for Madison

Chief Justice John Roberts (left) was the keynote speaker on Constitution Day at James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange, Virginia.  Under a beautiful late summer sky, several thousand people came together this morning on the front lawn to hear of Madison – the Father of the Constitution and one of the most under-appreciated Founding Fathers – and to celebrate the completion of the restoration of his home, Montpelier.  It was a wonderful day that, as National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe said, doesn’t get any better if you’re in this business. All the speakers rose to the occasion, but I found the remarks of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine especially thoughtful as he highlighted a Madison accomplishment, thought, and character trait.  The accomplishment was his role as Father of the Constitution.  To appreciate that accomplishment, Sir Christopher Wren’s epitaph at St. Paul’s Cathedral was recalled, “If you seek his monument, look around you.” Governor Kaine then referenced Federalist #10, which he described as one of the most influential political thoughts in American history.  This emphasis on the pluralism …

Montpelier’s Restoration and the Importance of James Madison

Many of you know that the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Montpelier Foundation have undertaken a complete restoration of Montpelier, the historic home of James Madison in Orange, Virginia.  The home will be opened Wednesday, September 17th, after a five-year restoration.  Preservation magazine has a terrific story on this work in the September/October 2008 issue.  The Father of the Constitution’s house will be reopened – appropriately enough – on Constitution Day.  The opening also comes three days after the extension for yet another year of the national state of emergency first declared on September 14, 2001. Madison – one of our most underappreciated Founding Fathers – is still very relevant today.  To see Madison’s warnings about “experiments with our liberties” read his Memorial and Remonstrance.  More to come… DJB