Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?" at Boston Trinity Academy

It is always very gratifying when I learn that students are reading one of my books. A couple of weeks ago I received a nice letter from my friend Judy Oulund. She chairs the history department at Boston Trinity Academy, a multicultural college-preparatory academy in Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood.  Boston Trinity's American history teacher, Mike Milway, had his students read Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction last semester and write an essay on the book. (The essays are hand-written as if they were done in class as part of an examination).  Judy was nice enough to send along some of the essays with these words: "After you've published something you really have no idea who is reading your work or what they are making of it.  Well--here you have 3 seniors in the heart of Boston.  Enjoy and I hope you will be encouraged."

Here are a few short excerpts:

Paper 1: "Overall, ambiguity reigns at the conclusion of Fea's study, but while it remains a well-researched book, the evidence favors mostly the un-Christian America."

Paper 2: "Fea's book leaves the question hanging in the air.  He does not attempt to outline exactly what one must conclude.  Although he does condemn conservative evangelicals, this is out of a desire for a nuanced approach to historical analysis."

Paper 3:  " is impossible to write completely without a bias, and Fea's bias implies his belief that America was founded as a nation of Christians who did not always hold to their beliefs...."

These seniors are bright.  I don't know how long they had to write these essays, but all of them run about 10-12 pages of handwritten text.  Thanks Ms. Oulund and Mr. Milway for using my book. Good things are happening at Boston Trinity Academy.


Jimmy Dick said...

They are bright. Those are good assessments and based on the evidence from the historical record as cited by you and others, quite correct. It is interesting to discuss this book with others, especially non-historians. The reactions run a very large gamut and the belief structure of people play a large role in that reaction.

John Fea said...

Keep discussing it, Jimmy. Thanks for your all your comments here.