Thomas Jefferson and the Meaning of Religious Freedom — Historian, Author Dr. John Ragosta

Smithsonian Associates Art of Living Interview Series

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The Not Old Better Show, 2019. Image courtesy of Smithsonian

Welcome to The Not Old Better Show, I’m Paul Vogelzang and this is episode #358. Today’s show is brought to you by AutoSlash. As part of our Smithsonian Associates Art of Living author Interview series, we are joined today by historian, best-selling, award-winning author Dr. John Ragosta. Dr. John Ragosta will be appearing at the Smithsonian Associates program, June 17, 2019, and the title of his presentation is Jefferson and the Meaning of Religious Freedom.

Jefferson’s expansive vision — including his insistence that political freedom and free thought would be at risk if we did not establish a strict separation of church and state — enjoyed a near consensus of support at the Supreme Court and among historians until 1985 when Justice William Rehnquist called reliance on Jefferson “demonstrably incorrect” as a matter of history. But, the Statue for Establishing Religious Freedom is quite powerful, persuasive and even, as Dr. Ragosta points out, “Poetic.”

Dr. Ragosta’s new book, Religious Freedom: Jefferson’s Legacy, America’s Creed is about why Thomas Jefferson felt that freedom of religion is so essential to establishing a functioning American republic.

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