Monday, October 30, 2006

American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation

This book by Jon Meacham covered a subject that is very near and dear to my heart: the role of religion in politics. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and came away feeling a little bit vindicated, a little bit chastened, and a lot enlightened. That is to say that there is something here to offend everyone who is hardened in his or her position on the separation of church and state.

This book goes a long way toward defining, in the words of our founders and everyone who built thereupon, what is meant by "the public religion". The public record is replete with discourses on the place of religion in the making of public policy, but it is seldom brought to light. Jon Meacham unearths these treasures with all their contexts and the personalities of the people involved. It is broadly philosophical that way. It reveals how extremes on both ends of the church-state-separation spectrum have proof-texted their ways to their different conclusions. In the larger view of the Founders' thoughts is the historically accepted middle way.

I got this as an audiobook, but I encourage everyone to get this book in print, and buy a hi-lighter with it. You should also take notes. The audio was narrated by Nelson Runger. He did a great job, and this book gets 4 stars.


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