At a time when our country seems divided by extremism, American Gospel draws on the past to offer a new perspective. Meacham re-creates the fascinating history of a nation grappling with religion and politicsâfrom John Winthropâs âcity on a hillâ sermon to Thomas Jeffersonâs Declaration of Independence; from the Revolution to the Civil War; from a proposed nineteenth-century Christian Amendment to the Constitution to Martin Luther King, Jr.âs call for civil rights; from George Washington to Ronald Reagan.
Debates about religion and politics are often more divisive than illuminating. Secularists point to a âwall of separation between church and state,â while many conservatives act as though the Founding Fathers were apostles in knee britches. As Meacham shows in this brisk narrative, neither extreme has it right. At the heart of the American experiment lies the God of what Benjamin Franklin called âpublic religion,â a God who invests all human beings with inalienable rights while protecting private religion from government interference. It is a great American balancing act, and it has served us well.
Meacham has written and spoken extensively about religion and politics, and he brings historical authority and a sense of hope to the issue. American Gospel makes it compellingly clear that the nationâs best chance of summoning what Lincoln called âthe better angels of our natureâ lies in recovering the spirit and sense of the Founding. In looking back, we may find the light to lead us forward.
Praise for American Gospel
âIn his American Gospel, Jon Meacham provides a refreshingly clear, balanced, and wise historical portrait of religion and American politics at exactly the moment when such fairness and understanding are much needed. Anyone who doubts the relevance of history to our own time has only to read this exceptional book.ââDavid McCullough, author of 1776
âJon Meacham has given us an insightful and eloquent account of the spiritual foundation of the early days of the American republic. It is especially instructive reading at a time when the nation is at once engaged in and deeply divided on the question of religion and its place in public life.ââTom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation
About: In American Gospel (literally meaning the "good news about America"), New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham sets the record straight on the history of religion in American public life.
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