In Roger Williams's Little Book of Virtues, religion writer Becky Garrison delves into the life of her eleventh/twelfth great-grandfather to uncover the untold story behind this forgotten pioneer of religious liberty. Employing a format reminiscent of How Proust Can Change Your Life and The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality, Garrison examines Roger Williams's work through the lens of the four classical virtues, which, as she observes, define values that have an almost universal consensus regardless of one's particular belief system.
How can Roger Williams's life and ministry shed light on the role of the citizens in a global pluralized world? Garrison asks why this conversation focusing on the role of religion in public life got relegated to moralists like William J. Bennett, who crafted a fundamentalist rulebook that views these virtues through a very strict black-and-white lens.
In this age of horizontal social media, what prevents people from standing up to these modern-day Goliaths and taking away their media megaphone? Here Garrison sees hope in the rise of the "nones" who, like Williams, follow their own spiritual path and create spaces that embrace women, POC, LGBT folks, and others marginalized by the institutional church.