The American Gospelliterally, the good news about Americais that religion shapes our public life without controlling it. In this vivid book, New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham tells the human story of how the Founding Fathers viewed faith, and how they ultimately created a nation in which belief in God is a matter of choice.
At a time when our country seems divided by extremism, American Gospel draws on the past to offer a new perspective. Meacham re-creates the fascinating history of a nation grappling with religion and politicsfrom John Winthrops city on a hill sermon to Thomas Jeffersons Declaration of Independence; from the Revolution to the Civil War; from a proposed nineteenth-century Christian Amendment to the Constitution to Martin Luther King, Jr.s call for civil rights; from George Washington to Ronald Reagan.
Debates about religion and politics are often more divisive than illuminating. Secularists point to a wall of separation between church and state, while many conservatives act as though the Founding Fathers were apostles in knee britches. As Meacham shows in this brisk narrative, neither extreme has it right. At the heart of the American experiment lies the God of what Benjamin Franklin called public religion, a God who invests all human beings with inalienable rights while protecting private religion from government interference. It is a great Ameican balancing act, and it has served us well.
Meacham has written and spoken extensively about religion and politics, and he brings historical authority and a sense of hope to the issue. American Gospel makes it compellingly clear that the nations best chance of summoning what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature lies in recovering the spirit and sense of the Founding. In looking back, we may find the light to lead us forward.