Did America Have a Christian Founding?: Separating Modern Myth from Historical Truth
By Mark David Hall
In 2010, Mark David Hall gave a lecture at the Heritage Foundation entitled “Did America Have a Christian Founding?” His balanced and thoughtful approach to this controversial question caused a sensation. C-SPAN televised his talk, and an essay based on it has been downloaded more than 300,000 times.
In his new book, Hall expands upon this essay, making the case that America’s Founders were not deists; that they did not create a “godless” Constitution; that even Jefferson and Madison did not want a high wall separating church and state; that most Founders believed the government should encourage Christianity; and that they embraced a robust understanding of religious liberty for biblical and theological reasons. In addition, Hall explains why and how the Founders’ views are absolutely relevant today.
This compelling book will convince skeptics and believers alike to defend the idea that Christian thought was crucial to the nation’s founding–and that this benefits all of us, whatever our faith (or lack of faith).
Essay: “Did America Have a Christian Founding?”
By Mark David Hall
“The role of religion in the American republic has been a source of controversy since the nation’s inception. Debates are particularly fierce when they concern religious liberty and the proper relationship between church and state. Arguments on these questions are often framed in the light of the Founders’ intentions, but unfortunately, their views are often distorted.
Did America have a Christian Founding? Two popular answers to this query—“Of course not!” and “Absolutely!”—both distort the Founders’ views. There is in fact a great deal of evidence that America’s Founders were influenced by Christian ideas, and there are many ways in which the Founders’ views might inform contemporary political and legal controversies…”
Mark David Hall is the Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics at George Fox University and the Director of the John Dickinson Forum for the Study of America’s Founding Principles, a JMC partner program. Professor Hall’s primary research and writing interests are American political theory and the relationship between religion and politics. He has written or co-edited several books besides Did America Have a Christian Founding? and is the author of more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, reviews and sundry pieces. In addition to teaching at George Fox University, Hall is Associated Faculty at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, Senior Fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, and an Affiliate Scholar at the John Jay Institute.
Professor Hall is a Jack Miller Center faculty partner.
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