Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Mar 11, 2008 - Religion - 277 pages
20 Reviews

The culture wars have distorted the dramatic story of how Americans came to worship freely. Many activists on the right maintain that the United States was founded as a “Christian nation.” Many on the left contend that the Founders were secular or Deist and that the First Amendment was designed to boldly separate church and state throughout the land. None of these claims are true, argues Beliefnet.com editor in chief Steven Waldman. With refreshing objectivity, Waldman narrates the real story of how our nation’s Founders forged a new approach to religious liberty, a revolutionary formula that promoted faith . . . by leaving it alone.

This fast-paced narrative begins with earlier settlers’ stunningly unsuccessful efforts to create a Christian paradise, and concludes with the presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison, during which the men who had devised lofty principles regarding the proper relationship between church and state struggled to practice what they’d preached. We see how religion helped cause, and fuel, the Revolutionary War, and how the surprising alliance between Enlightenment philosophers such as Jefferson and Madison and evangelical Christians resulted in separation of church and state.

As the drama unfolds, Founding Faith vividly describes the religious development of five Founders. Benjamin Franklin melded the morality-focused Puritan theology of his youth and the reason-based Enlightenment philosophy of
his adulthood. John Adams’s pungent views on religion–hatred of the Church of England and Roman Catholics–stoked his revolutionary fervor and shaped his political strategy. George Washington came to view religious tolerance as a military necessity. Thomas Jefferson pursued a dramatic quest to “rescue” Jesus, in part by editing the Bible. Finally, it was James Madison–the tactical leader of the battle for religious freedom–who crafted an integrated vision of how to prevent tyranny while encouraging religious vibrancy.

The spiritual custody battle over the Founding Fathers and the role of religion in America continues today. Waldman provocatively argues that neither side in the culture war has accurately depicted the true origins of the First Amendment. He sets the record straight, revealing the real history of religious freedom to be dramatic, unexpected, paradoxical, and inspiring.

An interactive library of the key writings by the Founding Father, on separation of church and state, personal faith, and religious liberty can be found at www.beliefnet.com/foundingfaith.

  

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Review: Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America

User Review  - Bob Price - Goodreads

In light of the culture wars, recent election and all the arguments about the Founding Fathers, Founding Faith is a must read book. It helps clarify the arguments...and raise more questions...about ... Read full review

Review: Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America

User Review  - Jonathan Minnick - Goodreads

Great for anyone on either side of the aisle to see what principles this nation was actually founded on. This book does a great job of reviewing the views of many founders of the United States who had fundamental parts in creating the documents and policies that helped to direct the nation. Read full review

Contents

Christian America
5
Benjamin Franklin
18
ohn Adams
33
The Godly Roots of Rebellion
40
George VVashington
56
Holy Var
64
Iames Madison
94
The Mighty Current of Freedom T107
107
The First Amendment Compromise
141
Practicing VVhat They Preached
159
Friends in Heaven
182
They VVere Right
188
Acknowledgments
207
Notes
217
Index
265
Copyright

Forgetting the Powerful Friend
117

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (2008)

Steven Waldman is co-founder, CEO, and editor in chief of Beliefnet.com, the largest faith and spirituality website. Previously, Waldman was the national editor of U.S. News & World Report and a national correspondent for Newsweek. His writings have also appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Slate, The Washington Monthly, National Review, and elsewhere. He appears frequently on television and radio to discuss religion and politics. He is also the author of The Bill, a book about the creation of AmeriCorps. Waldman lives in New York with his wife, the writer Amy Cunningham, and their children, Joseph and Gordon.


From the Hardcover edition.

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