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Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
(931) 393-1500

Motlow Instructor Publishes Book

Bookstore to Host Book Signing at Moore County Campus Feb. 7

January 17, 2012
Instructor David Bowlby

David Bowlby, an instructor of history and political science at Motlow College in Moore County, has recently authored and published his first book, The Garden and the Wilderness: Church and State in America to 1789.

The Motlow College Bookstore will host Dr. Bowlby for a book signing at the Moore County campus, Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 12:30 - 3 p.m. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Bowlby's research interests are in church and state, American religious history, religion and science, and the intersection of religion and a number of social and political issues. To follow up his first book, he has begun research on a second volume to Garden (from 1789-1947) and has plans to make it a trilogy, with the third volume covering the period from 1947 to the present. Bowlby is also working on a survey of American religious history and is planning a history of American education.

The author earned the B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Illinois at Springfield and a doctorate in political science from Idaho State University. He has taught history and political science for 15 years at colleges and universities in Illinois, Idaho, and Tennessee. Bowlby, a native of Ill., and his wife Olwen, who is originally from Wales in the United Kingdom, divide their time during the academic year between their home in Tenn. and their home of 25 years in Virden, Ill., where they spend their summers.

Bowlby examines church and state in the American colonies and the early national period up to the framing of the religion clauses of the First Amendment by the First Congress. He describes the history of the church and state up to that time as one involving the struggle of religious minorities against church establishments, with increasingly vocal calls for the free exercise of religion, liberty of conscience, and disestablishment.

He supports the belief that when the religion clauses were framed, people feared that the establishment of religion would lead to the domination of one particular denomination or sect, resulting in compulsory church taxes, obligatory attendance at religious services, and adherence to orthodox doctrines and liturgy. By focusing on the relationship between religious establishments and free exercise, he makes the case that the establishment clause and free exercise of religion must be taken together as a guarantee of religious liberty. Because where a religious establishment was present, the full and free exercise of religion was not. According to Bowlby's research, it was this concern that prompted the prohibitive language of the clauses - the Founders meant to protect the latter by forbidding the former.

Bowlby's first work is published by Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. Visit the College website for additional information about Motlow.