Here is snippet. You can read the rest over at Patheos.
In last week’s column, I argued that Americans, since the earliest days of the Republic, have believed that they were living in a Christian nation. But were they right? Was the United States founded as a Christian nation? Did the Christian nationalism espoused by educators and politicians, Unionists and Confederates, fundamentalists and modernists, and civil rights activists and the members of the Christian Right, reflect the spirit of the founding era or, perhaps more importantly, the spirit of Christianity?
The answers to these questions are complicated. How we answer them will depend on how we define our terms. What do we mean when we use terms such as “Christian,” “founding,” and “nation”? A close examination of these words and their relationship to one another in the context of early American history suggests that the very question, “Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?” does not do justice to the complexity of the past. When we think about the many ways in which the words in this sentence can be defined, we come to the conclusion that the question itself is not very helpful.
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