Videos & Podcasts

What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?

September 28, 2017
The Founding

Religious Freedom:  The First Experiments in Freedom of Belief and Religious Tolerance in America were based on the Bible and changed History

While the idea of freedom of conscience—freedom of belief and conviction—was advanced by the Reformation and existed in Europe in the 1500s and 1600s, it was not embraced by everyone and was very restricted in actual practice, manifesting in only partial, contested, temporary ways.  However, the Bible-based arguments made for it by reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin were quite similar to those later made by individuals who directly impacted American thought and settlement in the 1600s and 1700s.

AHEF President and author Angela Kamrath speaks on religious tolerance in early America at HBU-AHEF Teacher Workshop, “The History and Foundation of Religious Freedom in America”

American Puritan dissenter Roger Williams, Quaker William Penn, Catholic colonizer Cecil Calvert, and British philosopher John Locke played important roles in advancing freedom of conscience and religious tolerance in America during this time.  Their arguments for freedom of belief and religious tolerance were strongly rooted in the Bible.  Their tolerance writings and colonies would significantly influence future views and practices in England and America.

Williams, Penn, Calvert, and Locke would be the first movers to defend and experiment with greater freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America.  Their first experiments in religious tolerance took place in the colonies of Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Carolina: 

Houston Baptist University Professor of Government Dr. John Tyler speaks on John Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration at HBU-AHEF Teacher Workshop, “The History and Foundation of Religious Freedom in America”

Based on conviction, these movers attempted to practice and experiment with freedom of belief and tolerance by forming new, tolerant colonies.  Their experiments were notable and real, if imperfect and incomplete, testimonies for the world in this largely unpracticed idea.  These colonizers and colonies brought the issue of freedom of conscience to the forefront of the American mind.

America’s unique, free environment and new colonies made such experiments feasible.  According to Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner in their text, Never Before in History: America’s Inspired Birth, “The Protestant Reformation in Europe and in the American colonies forced people to reexamine the traditional merger between church and government.  America in particular was to become the test case for resolving the tension between religious freedom and social conformity.”  The arguments for and experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America significantly advanced American and Western thought and practice on this issue and laid the groundwork for future religious freedom in the United States.

From AHEF, Dr. John Tyler, and Angela E. Kamrath.

—–

Source info:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Additional Reading/Handout:  Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath, American Heritage Education Foundation.  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.

Activity:  Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 4, Part 1 of 2, Activity 5:  Williams, Penn, and Locke:  Arguments for Religious Tolerance and Freedom Emerge in the 1600s, p. 147, 349.  MS-HS.

Williams, Penn, and Locke:  Arguments for Religious Tolerance and Freedom Emerge in the 1600s…

To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

What led to religious tolerance in early America? The Two Kingdoms Doctrine

September 21, 2017
The Founding

Reformers in Europe Recognize Two Kingdoms–Civil and Spiritual

Before and during the 1500s in Europe, countries were ruled by church states, and men had little religious freedom.  Religious tolerance did not widely exist.  The church and the civil state were combined and worked together to rule over the people and to regulate people’s religious beliefs and practices.  People were forced to conform to the official state church of their country and monarch or else suffer persecution and punishments.

The idea of freedom of conscience—freedom of belief and conviction—was advanced by the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s and existed in Europe in the 1500s and 1600s.  During the Reformation, reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin called for religious reform in the church but, in doing so, touched on political matters.  They broached ideas of freedom of conscience, and thus tolerance, and greater distinction between church and civil state.  In the spirit of Augustine of Hippo who wrote about two cities, earthly and heavenly, in his The City of God (c426); Luther and Calvin recognized two kingdoms by which God rules—civil and spiritual—that concern the life of man.  The civil kingdom is the earthly, temporal realm of man and concerns man’s physical life and relationship to others.  Man under God has some authority in this kingdom.  The spiritual kingdom is the heavenly, eternal realm and concerns man’s beliefs and relationship with God.  God alone has authority in this kingdom.  To the reformers, these two kingdoms have distinct jurisdictions.

Houston Baptist University Professor of Government Dr. John Tyler speaks on the Two Kingdoms Doctrine at HBU-AHEF Teacher Workshop, “The History and Foundation of Religious Freedom in America”

In his 1520 Appeal to the Ruling Class of German Nationality as to the Amelioration of the State of Christendom and 1523 Secular Authority:  To What Extent It Should Be Obeyed, Luther of Germany says that…

To be sure, freedom of conscience was not embraced by everyone and was very restricted in actual practice in Europe at this time, manifesting in only partial, contested, temporary ways.  Yet the Bible-based ideas of Luther and Calvin in favor of freedom of belief were asserted by later European and American political thinkers who impacted American thought and settlement in the 1600s and 1700s.

From AHEF, Dr. John Tyler, and Angela E. Kamrath.

—–

More source info:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Activity:  Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 4, Part 2 of 2, Activity 3:  History and Current Events:  Religious Regulation and Persecution, p. 161.  MS-HS.

History and Current Events:  Religious Regulation and Persecution…

To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

AHEF Pioneers Innovative History & Civic Education Initiatives

June 8, 2017
The Founding

The American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF) (americanheritage.org) is pioneering new programs to strengthen and promote the understanding and teaching of America’s founding history and principles/philosophy among citizens and students.  These exciting programs include the American History & Western Civilization Challenge Bowl (AHWCCB) and The Miracle of America.

From AHEF.

More info:  AHEF website at americanheritage.org and
Kamrath, Angela E.  
The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015. 4.0-4.22.

 

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

Religious Freedom: The Two Kingdoms Doctrine

April 27, 2017
The Founding

Dr. John Tyler compares the two kingdoms–earthly and heavenly–as described by Saint Augustine and Martin Luther:

Dr. John Tyler, J.D., Professor of Government and Pre-Law, Houston Baptist University, HBU-AHEF Teacher Workshop, Oct 2016:  “The History and Foundation of Religious Freedom in America

From AHEF and Dr. John Tyler.

More info:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Activity:  Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 4:  Details, Questions, and Conclusions (DQC), p. 56.  HS.
This unit is available to download from the Member Resources at www.americanheritage.org.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

American History & Western Civilization Challenge Bowl™ (AHWCCB) Video

February 17, 2017
The Founding

The American History & Western Civilization Challenge Bowl™ (AHWCCB) is an academic competition and scholarship for college/university student teams who compete in their knowledge and understanding of Western Civilization and of America’s history, founding philosophy, and civil institutions in order to determine America’s top colleges in educating students on these subjects.

American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF) started AHWCCB™ to address a growing problem—the increasing deficiency in and need for strong civic education in our nation’s schools, culture, and society.  Americans of all ages and backgrounds are increasingly uninformed about America’s founding history, principles, and civic institutions.  Further, many schools and colleges no longer teach or require students to take civics, American history, or Western Civilization—though such education is a fundamental responsibility of schools.  Studies and reports in the last 20 years confirm these trends.

For more information, see also this article on AHWCCB™ 2017.

Below is a brief video from the inaugural AHWCCB™.

For more information about the AHWCCB program, please visit the info blog about AHWCCB.  You may also visit our website at americanheritage.org.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

American History and Western Civilization Challenge Bowl™ (AHWCCB)

February 3, 2017
The Founding

Challenge Bowl 2017 026 - Copy

The American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF) has designed and implemented a new program, the nation’s first college-level academic competition and scholarship, named The American History and Western Civilization Challenge Bowl™ (AHWCCB)AHEF successfully kicked-off its first Challenge Bowl on January 27-28, 2017, in Houston, Texas, with four Texas universities competing: Sam Houston State University, Texas State University, Texas Southern University, and Houston Baptist University. Teams competed in their knowledge and understanding of American history, government, and philosophy and of Western Civilization. Cash scholarships were awarded to teams based on performance and judging by professional historians and scholars. The runner-up team was HBU, and the winning team was SHSU.

Topics covered in the competition are significant to America’s founding as a nation. Topics span ancient and modern history—from Greek, Roman, and Israelite history and the Bible to the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment to America’s history, foundations, and documents.

AHEF started the Challenge Bowl to address a growing problem—confirmed by many studies in the last 20 years—which is that Americans of all ages and backgrounds are increasing uninformed about America’s history, founding principles, and civil institutions. Furthermore, many colleges no longer teach or require students to take American History or Western Civilization.

The goal of AHEF’s Challenge Bowl are: 1) to encourage college programs and students to teach and learn these subjects; 2) to improve understanding, appreciation, and love of the United States of America; 3) to ignite excitement, engagement, humor, fun, and youthful appeal in the learning and understanding of America’s founding principles and Western Civilization; and 4) to develop an educated citizenry essential to our self-governing republic. The program aims to motivate and improve students’ intellectual and practical understanding of the American idea so that students may become engaged citizens and leaders who perpetuate America’s founding principles and values.

We thank the coaches for their work to prepare and teach their school teams, and we commend all the teams for their participation and commitment to learning about American history and Western Civilization. Congratulations to all the teams for qualifying, and to HBU as the runner-up and SHSU as the winning team in 2017!  AHWCCB™ Video

Challenge Bowl Friday 017 (3)

Judges left to right:  Dr. Stephen Balch, Director of the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, Texas Tech University; Founder of the National Association of Scholars. Dr. Robert Koons, Professor of Philosophy and Co-Founder of the Western Civilization and American Institutions program, The University of Texas at Austin

Challenge Bowl Friday 014 (2)

Semi-finalist team Texas State Univeristy left to right – Evan Dominguez, Molly Williams, Miguel Carandang

Challenge Bowl 2017 026 - Copy

The two finalist teams, HBU and SHSU and their coaches.  In order left to right: Dr. Gary Hartenberg (HBU coach), Paul Hoyt (HBU), Kenneth Peters (HBU), Jacob Phillip (HBU), Chase Miller (SHSU), Scarlet Bolivar-Castillo (SHSU), William Bailey (SHSU), and Dr. Brian Domitrovic (SHSU coach)

Challenge Bowl Friday 007 - Copy (2)

Semi-finalist team Texas Southern University left to right – Sam Godswill, Amber Brown, Sarah Smith Challenge Bowl 2017 1k (3)

Jack Kamrath, Co-Founder of American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF), and moderator Dr. John Tyler, Professor of Governmente and Pre-Law at Houston Baptist University

AHWCCB™ Video

AHWCCB I in the news:
SHSU Team Wins First History Challenge Bowl, Sam Houston State University, Feb 15, 2017
Culture Influencers:  John Tyler, Gary Hartenburg, Houston Baptist University, Feb 3, 2017
HBU places second, American History & Western Civilization Challenge Bowl™, Houston Baptist University, Jan 31, 2017
American Liberty and Principles of Western Civilization: Texas State team revives 70’s quiz show format, San Marcos Daily Record, Jan 24, 2017

For more information about AHWCCB, please visit americanheritage.org.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

The Coming Crisis in Citizenship: Higher Education’s Failure to Teach America’s History and Institutions

January 26, 2017
The Founding

“For the second year in a row, America’s elite universities and colleges have failed to rise above a ‘D plus’ on tests of basic knowledge about civics and American history, maintains a study commissioned by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).”

“ISI’s final report entitled, ‘The Coming Crisis in Citizenship:  Higher Education’s Failure to Teach America’s History and Institutions,’ presented four pivotal findings:

  1. The average college senior knows very little about America’s history, government, international relations, and market economy.  Their average score on the civic literacy test was 53.2 percent.  ‘No class of seniors scored higher than 69 percent, or D plus.’
  2. Prestige doesn’t pay off.  ‘An Ivy League education contributes nothing to a student’s civic learning.  .. .There is no relationship between the cost of attending college and the mastery of America’s history, politics, and economy.’
  3. Students don’t learn what colleges don’t teach.  ‘Schools where students took or were required to take more courses related to America’s history and institutions,’ says the ISI, ‘outperformed those schools where fewer courses were completed.  The absence of required courses in American history, political science, philosophy, and economics suggests a negative impact on students’ civic literacy.’
  4. Greater civic learning goes hand-in-hand with more active citzenship. ‘Students who demonstrated greater learning of America’s history and its institutions were more engaged in citizenship activities such as voting, volunteer community service, and polticial campaigns.'”

“In 1777, John Adams wrote to his son about the importance of education.  He said it was necessary to teach the next generation about America’s founding principles in order to preserve the freedom and independence so many of his fellow countrymen sacrificed to achieve.  Only when we know and embrace those principles can we pass on to a new generation that which we inherited from the past.  The ISI study reveals severe cracks in that foundation; cracks that need immediate attention and repair.”

2017-03-01-CalThomasQuote-Cal Thomas, “Colleges are cheating their own students,” 2007. https://www.americancivicliteracy.org/2006/summary.html
More on AHEF addressing the need for civil education:  http://www.americanheritage.org/problem

HBU-AHEF Teacher Workshop: Exploring the Influence of Judeo-Christian Principles on the American Founding – The Miracle of America

December 8, 2016
The Founding

Angela E. Kamrath, President of American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF), Author of The Miracle of America: The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  HBU-AHEF Teacher Workshop, October 25, 2014.

Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Maitland, FL/Houston, TX:  Xulon Press and American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Receive Blog Updates

Please leave this field empty.