||Introduction: How to think historically -- Part 1. The United States is a Christian nation: the history of an idea. Evangelical America, 1789-1865 -- Evangelicals, liberals, and Christian America, 1865-1925 -- Christian America in a modern age, 1925-1980 -- History for the faithful: the contemporary defenders of Christian America -- Part 2. Was the American revolution a Christian event? Were the British colonies Christian societies? -- Christianity and the coming of the American revolution -- The revolutionary pulpit -- Nature's God: is the declaration of independence a Christian document? -- Religion in the critical period -- A "godless constitution"? -- Part 3. The religious beliefs of the founders. Did George Washington pray at Valley Forge? -- John Adams: devout Unitarian -- Thomas Jefferson: follower of Jesus -- Benjamin Franklin: ambitious moralist -- What about Witherspoon?: three orthodox founders.
||John Fea offers a thoroughly researched, evenhanded primer on whether America was founded to be a Christian nation, as many evangelicals assert, or a secular state, as others contend. He approaches the titles question from a historical perspective, helping readers see past the emotional rhetoric of today to the recorded facts of our past. This updated edition reports on the many issues that have arisen in recent years concerning religions place in American society -- including the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, contraception and the Affordable Care Act, and state-level restrictions on abortion -- and demonstrates how they lead us to the question of whether the United States was or is a Christian nation. Fea relates the history of these and other developments, pointing to the underlying questions of national religious identity inherent in each. "We live in a sound-bite culture that makes it difficult to have any sustained dialogue on these historical issues," Fea writes in his preface. "It is easy for those who argue that America is a Christian nation (and those who do not) to appear on radio or television programs, quote from one of the founders or one of the nations founding documents, and sway people to their positions. These kinds of arguments, which can often be contentious, do nothing to help us unravel a very complicated historical puzzle about the relationship between Christianity and America's founding."
|Bibliography note||Includes bibliographical references and index.|
|Issued in other form||Online version: Fea, John, author. Was America founded as a Christian nation? Second edition. Louisville, KY : Westminster John Knox Press, 2016 9781611646931|
|ISBN||066426249X paperback alkaline paper|