Christian America : settlers try to plant Protestantism as the official faith, and fail Benjamin Franklin : the Puritan new ager The evangelical revolution : a cross-eyed preacher fuels the drive for independence and religious freedom John Adams : the angry Unitarian The godly roots of rebellion : fear of Anglicans and Catholics helps cause the American Revolution George Washington : protected by God Holy war : George Washington uses religious tolerance, and appeals to God, to win the War of Independence Thomas Jefferson : the pious infidel Nature's God meets the supreme judge : the Declaration of Independence and the God compromise James Madison : the radical pluralist "A diabolical persecution" : a wave of bigotry in Madison's backyard changes history The mighty current of freedom : after independence, the states begin wrenching themselves from the old church-state models Forgetting the "powerful friend" : the founders reject 150 years of history The First Amendment compromise : building a wall that looks good from all sides Practicing what they preached : the first presidencies bring inspiring rhetoric, dirty politics, and sharp disagreement among the founders Friends in heaven : the founders end their spiritual journeys and prepare to continue the conversation in the next life They were right.
The culture wars have distorted the dramatic story of how Americans came to worship freely. Author Waldman, cofounder of Beliefnet.com, argues that the United States was not founded as a "Christian nation," nor were the Founding Fathers uniformly secular or Deist. Rather, the Founders forged a new approach to religious liberty, a revolutionary formula that promoted faith--by leaving it alone. His narrative begins with early settlers' stunningly unsuccessful efforts to create a Christian paradise, and concludes with the presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison, during which the men who had devised lofty principles regarding the proper relationship between church and state struggled to practice what they'd preached.--From publisher description.
Bibliography, etc. Note
Includes bibliographical references (pages -216) and index.