This week’s column considers the intent of the American Founders when writing a Secular Constitution that protects all beliefs.
Excerpt from “A Revolution with Revolutionary Religion”
“It’s true that some founders were preparing the way for religion, but what form of religion? In “Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic,” Matthew Stewart argues: “America’s founders did wish to promote religion—but not any and every kind of it that might be drawn [from the history of religion].” Secular citizens, and many believers, might be surprised, even a bit uncomfortable, with the notion that the founders sought a “reformation and containment of popular religion.” They weren’t about to carry forward the old religions of the Old World. They were interested in a new experiment. What if a practice of faith was more about “doing good rather than believing rightly,” something that “builds the bonds of community,” giving room for a wide diversity of beliefs? “In short, they wanted to bestow upon America the blessings of popular deism, or that variety of religion that translates into [a freethinking philosophy] on which the modern liberal state rests.”
Read the whole essay this Saturday in the Asheville Citizen-Times (and posted here)
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