Founding Faith How Our Founding Fathers Forged a Radical New Approach to Religious Liberty

ISBN-10: 0812974743

ISBN-13: 9780812974744

Edition: 2009

Authors: Steven Waldman
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Description: 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 Faithvividly 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 religionhatred of the Church of England and Roman Catholicsstoked 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 Madisonthe tactical leader of the battle for religious freedomwho 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. Praise for Founding Faith "Steven Waldman, a veteran journalist and co-founder of Beliefnet.com, a religious web site, surveys the convictions and legacy of the founders clearly and fairly, with a light touch but a careful eye."New York Times Book Review "Waldman ends by encouraging us to be like the founders. We should understand their principles, learn from their experience, then have at it ourselves. "We must pick up the argument that they began and do as they instructed use our reason to determine our views." A good place to start is this entertaining, provocative book."New York Times Book Review "Steven Waldman's enlightening new book, "Founding Faith," is wise and engaging on many levels, but Waldman has done a particular service in detailing Madison's role in creating a culture of religious freedom that has served America so well for so long...."Founding Faith" is an excellent book about an important subject: the inescapablebut manageableintersection of religious belief and public life. With a grasp of history and an understanding of the exigencies of the moment, Waldman finds a middle ground between tho

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Book details

List price: $17.00
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 3/10/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 5.00" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.440
Language: English

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