In his latest book, “American Gospel,” Jon Meacham provides an eloquent, yet at the same time, depressing look at the United States spiritual foundation. This well-written book portrays how our Founding Fathers created a nation guided by faith, yet not controlled by it.
To them, belief in God was a matter of choice. At a time when our political system appears dominated by dimwits and charlatans, Meacham surveys the past for a perspective on how this nation has grappled with mixing religion with politics. Unlike today’s extremist views, the Founding Fathers wanted the country guided by what Benjamin Franklin called a “public religion.”
God endowed all human being with inalienable rights, and they should be free to worship Him without governmental interference. Neither today’s secular left nor “evangelical” right articulates this delicate balancing act.
From John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” and Thomas Jeffersons Declaration of Independence to Martin Luther Kings civil rights campaign, the author shows how our leaders struggled to balance their personal religious convictions and its place in their public lives.
At a time when politicians seem more interested in sound bites, Meacham’s portrait shows how inspiring individuals can be when they sincerely struggle with their conscious to determine the religions proper place in their public life. This book should be required reading for anyone in or aspiring to public office.
I highly recommend this work–as it sets the record straight in an objective non-polemical way.
Jon Meacham has done it again. This is a thorough and powerful study of America’s early history and a brilliantly crafted work. Meacham makes his case and proves that America has always championed reason and tolerance in the sticky divide between religion and politics. I love this book.
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