Miller's tracing of the intellectual threads, strings, and ropes of Protestant dissenting thought demonstrates an impressive familiarity with history and theology, and his book is a valuable historic and intellectual review of the influence of the right of private judgment on separation of church and state. John Ragosta, American Historical Review.
It is always a joy to read a book that asserts as one of its major arguments that "ideas and beliefs do matter and that they often explain why people act as they do" and that "religious reasons should be accepted as valid" explanations of choice and behavior. Mark McGarvie, Journal of American History
Miller's volume . . . deserves a place on the shelf of all interested in the development of religious liberty in the Anglo-American tradition. Andrew Murphy, Journal of American StudiesMiller is surely correct that Protestant dissenters, such as the Baptists and the Quakers, have not been duly credited for their intellectual contributions to the development of religious liberty, and he effectively marshals compelling evidence to support his thesis. This volume is a welcome addition to the literature on the pursuit of religious liberty in America. Daniel Dreisbach, The Historian.
"There is compelling reason to keep the founders' Enlightenment principles at the forefront of First Amendment history... Miller's excellent study reminds us... that a dominant Protestant culture processed them on its own terms."
"[A]ttorney and church history professor Nicholas P. Miller argues that religious thought played a much more important role in the eventual development of the religion clauses of the First Amendment than previously recognized."
--Baptist History & Heritage
"Professor Miller's sweeping study makes a compelling case for restoring theology to a prominent place in the complex web of social, political, and intellectual factors contributing to American church-state thinking. Too often, modern scholarship has assumed that the rights of conscience sprung primarily from the Enlightenment, and Professor Miller's impressively clear analysis reminds us that we must take theology seriously if we seek to take the historical actors themselves seriously."--Donald Drakeman, author of Church, State, and Original Intent
"Nicholas Miller carefully and persuasively demonstrates that many of the most ardent and effective American advocates of the disestablishment of religion were people of faith. These Americans argued that government does faith no favors when it seeks to use civil power to advance religion, and that all people must have the liberty to choose or reject God, or faith commitments are meaningless. Miller is exactly right to suggest that it is long past time for us to give the religious case for church-state separation and religious liberty its due."--Melissa Rogers, Director, Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University Divinity School
"Nicholas P. Miller's splendid survey of the distinctly Protestant concept of the right of private judgment makes a major contribution to the debate over the religious origins of the First Amendment. The author traces the idea of the sacred freedom of an individual's conscience through an array of pivotal thinkers and offers compelling evidence that the concept contributed to the understanding of James Madison, a leading framer of the separation clause of the Constitution."--James E. Bradley, Geoffrey W. Bromiley Professor of Church History, Fuller Seminary
"The Religious Roots of the First Amendment
provides a needed counterbalance to the emphasis on the secular origins of American religious liberty. The author promises to take religion seriously and he fulfills his promise. Especially important is his restoration of William Penn to central importance in the emergence of American religious liberty."--Thomas J. Curry, author of Farewell to Christendom: The Future of Church and State in America