Monday, June 9, 2014

New Review of "Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?"

This review comes from Father Peter Preble, pastor of St. Michael's Orthodox Christian Church in Southbridge, Mass., at his blog Shepherd of Souls.  Here is a taste:
It is my understanding that the book was designed to be a textbook of sorts to be used in schools as well as churches, for discussion around the topic.  It is broken down into several different chapters that walk us through the development of the idea of America and the founding documents.  The author did clear up many of my ideas about the religious thought of our early founders but he also left me with many questions as any good book on this topic does...
...The interesting thing for me was to read what the founders thought of non-Evangelical Christians.  If the intent of the founders was to found a Christian nation it was a nation that would not include Roman Catholics and although the Orthodox were all but unknown at the time, my guess if they would feel the same about us, not truly Christians.
The book uses an amazing amount of primary documents and the footnotes and suggested readings alone are worth the price of the book for any serious student of America’s religious history.
I don’t want to give anything away but for me anyway, the answer to the question is a complex one and to say America was or was not founded as a Christian nation does a disservice to the founders.  I believe that America was founded on Judeo Christian Ideals but that what the founders had in mind was a place where everyone could come and be free in mind and in spirit, and eventually in body.  America is complex and to try and whittle it down to sound bites, again does a disservice to the founders.