Why the Founding Fathers Spoke the King James Bible

One of the besetting problems of “Christian America” history writing is that it often interprets biblical quotes from the Founders as evidence that they were personally devout. Sometimes personally devout Founders did also speak in the language of the King James Bible, of course. But a broader range of Founding Fathers – including the skeptical [Read More…]

Christmas in 1776

From the Patheos archive: ‘Tis the season to argue about religion. Or more specifically, to feud about whether to say Merry Christmas or Seasons Greetings…to call it a Christmas Village or a Holiday Village…or to allow a crèche or menorah to stand on public property. What would Americans at the time of our nation’s founding [Read More…]

The Most Evangelical Founding Father?

In spite of some Christian revisionist attempts to cast them all as evangelical believers, the Founding Fathers’ faiths ran the gamut from traditional Christianity to outright skepticism. I wrote my biography of Patrick Henry because I was interested in how Henry, a traditional Anglican, sorted out the challenges raised by the Revolution, slavery, and other [Read More…]

“Woven into the fabric of our country”? Islam in Early America

President Obama created controversy in a recent speech when he asserted that “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.” He followed this statement with rather generic statements about Muslim immigrants coming to America and finding economic opportunity and freedom. The point of the president’s comments is, of course, that [Read More…]

The NSA Controversy, the Founding Fathers, and the Fourth Amendment

My latest post for The Federalist Papers reflects on the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and requires that warrants be justified by “probable cause.” What was the historical context of the Fourth Amendment, and why were the Founders so concerned about what they called “general warrants”? More [Read More…]

“Great Pillars of Human Happiness”: How Religion Frames American History

In February I spoke at Regent University’s annual Reagan Symposium. This year’s theme was religion and presidential rhetoric, and C-SPAN has posted video of the event, with lectures by others including historians Daniel Dreisbach, Richard Gamble, Paul Kengor, and Gary Scott Smith. In my lecture, titled “Great Pillars of Human Happiness”: How Religion Has Framed [Read More…]

Christmas in 1776

From the Patheos archive: ‘Tis the season to argue about religion. Or more specifically, to feud about whether to say Merry Christmas or Seasons Greetings…to call it a Christmas Village or a Holiday Village…or to allow a crèche or menorah to stand on public property. What would Americans at the time of our nation’s founding [Read More…]

David Barton, Civil Religion, and Patriotic Idolatry

Guest Post by Miles S. Mullin, II, of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s J. Dalton Havard School for Theological Studies A few weeks ago, popular Christian history writer David Barton presented his standard two-hour presentation at a church in my area.  At the urging of colleague John Wilsey, who has written against the concept of Christian America [Read More…]

A Balanced Evangelical View of America’s Founding

I recently reviewed David Aikman’s excellent book One Nation Without God? for Christianity Today. As I note in the review, Aikman’s book takes a balanced view of America’s Christian heritage: In the chapter on history (the longest section of the book), Aikman reviews modern Christian providentialist literature, led by books such as Peter Marshall and David Manuel’s The Light [Read More…]

The Founding Fathers, Barack Obama, and “Taking Care of Our Own”

Here’s a piece that I wrote after Obama’s acceptance speech at the DNC.  It originally appeared at The Way of Improvement Leads Home, but I thought Anxious Bench readers might be interested in it as well.   For those who have already seen it, I apologize for the cross-post. — The Founding Fathers would have been [Read More…]


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