History Politics

The Old “Christian Nation” Debate

I read this op-ed piece by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham in the New York Times online recently. Meacham, an Episcopalian, became the editor relatively recently. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with him – I’ve read the piece on Billy Graham that he wrote in the magazine not long ago, and I think that I saw him alongside Rick Warren on “Meet the Press” once. From that limited experience, I know that I don’t entirely agree with everything that he says.

Nevertheless, I do enjoy this piece. Take a look at it. What I like in particular is that he doesn’t simply argue that the United States is not a Christian nation because our founding fathers and founding documents are not uniquely Christian; he also uses the Bible to argue against the desire of Christians to portray the United States as a Christian nation.

There is a cottage publishing industry that has sprung up around this topic. I’ve not ready any full length books, but from what I can tell, Greg Boyd’s The Myth of a Christian Nation might be a good book to read from the religious side, and David Holmes’ The Faiths of the Founding Fathers might be a good read from the historical side.

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By Elliot

Elliot was born in Michigan and raised in North Carolina. He has studied at Regent College and the University of Richmond, worked at newspapers in St. Petersburg and Los Angeles, taught ESL in eastern Europe, given tours in Alaska, and driven a school bus. Now he lives in western Washington and works as an editor at Lexham Press, the publishing arm of Faithlife Corporation.