As I have noted here before, I am looking forward to the release of John Wilsey's book American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea. Wilsey, a professor of history at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes from the perspective of his own Christian faith, but I think his arguments will resonate with just about anyone interested in making sense of this topic.
If you want a taste of what you can expect from the book, check out Wilsey's latest post at his blog, "To Breathe Your Free Air" (a quote from James Madison, I might add).
Wilsey's post was timely for me. Tonight I am teaching the Puritans in my Gilder-Lehrman online graduate course and the students are reading Winthrop's "A Model of Christian Charity." I hope to reference the way Winthrop's phrase "a city on a hill" has been used by Reagan and other politicians over the years.
Here is a taste of Wilsey's post: