Jana Riess gives a nice endorsement of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation at her Beliefnet blog, Flunking Sainthood.” (BTW, Westminster/John Knox is now offering the book at a whopping 60% off! Get it here for $12.00 + shipping).
Today is Presidents’ Day, and while we’re debating key points like where to put the apostrophe in Presidents’ Day (I vote for the plural form, as we are celebrating many presidents), we can also take a moment to think about religion and the Founders of the United States.
All this week, historian John Fea will be writing for Newsweek’s “On Faith” site abut his new book, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction. I love the book, which takes up the perennial questions of our nation’s founding and attempts to determine whether it was intended to be a Christian state.
Short version: secularists will be dismayed to discover that one of the reasons that the U.S. Constitution is so silent about religion is that the various state constitutions had so very much to say. Many states required religious oaths for officeholders, including declarations of Christian belief; and many had established churches as their official, tax-supported religions. Even Vermont, which prides itself on nonconformist independence, had in its first constitution provisions to grant full civil liberties only to those who “profess the protestant religion.”
However, Tea Party folks can’t start dancing just yet…
Read the rest here.