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Rough CountryHow Texas Became America's Most Powerful Bible-Belt State$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159898

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159898.001.0001

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With Liberty of Conscience

With Liberty of Conscience

Defining the Separation of Church and State

(p.88) Chapter 3 With Liberty of Conscience
Rough Country

Robert Wuthnow

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the practice of liberty of doctrine. By the 1920s the opportunity to practice one's faith with liberty of conscience was a theme expressed increasingly by Texas religious and political leaders. Emphasis on liberty of conscience implied freedom from any monopoly over religion by government or of government by a religion. It also favored the right and duty of the individual to make a decision about his or her faith and to relate accordingly to God. In practice, liberty of conscience deterred clergy and lay leaders from bringing their faith in an official or organized way into the political arena. Clergy continued the basic work of saving souls, preaching moral repentance, and holding worship services. They devoted themselves energetically to starting new churches and increasing the size of existing ones. These activities left little time and few resources for anything else. Baptists and Methodists fought on occasion among themselves, but the conflicts were generally over worship, doctrine, church finances, and church publications than about public policy or political campaigns.

Keywords:   Texas, religion, Baptists, Christians, Protestants, secularism, liberty of conscience, Methodists

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