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Abstract

Our symposium conveners have focused us on "the relationship between liberalism and Christianity and their influence on American constitutionalism."' My objective is to complicate the relationship and reorient the influence. The focus of my inquiry is the liberty of conscience and its implications for navigating the relationship between church and state.' By approaching these issues through the lens of political theology (as distinct from either political or constitutional theory), I hope to show that some of the most significant embodiments of conscience in the American colonies can neither be squared with an individualistic liberalism (as some on the left are prone to do) nor appropriated in the service of arguments that collapse the distinction between church and state (as some on the right are prone to do).

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