Thursday, January 20, 2011

Do We Learn Both Sides of Our Country's Founding?

I learned in school about a few of our nation's religious roots. At that time public schools taught about the religious motivations of the Pilgrims, for example. But a lot of the religious underpinnings of our founding were not mentioned. That's probably appropriate, given the sheer amount of data that had to be covered to catch me up on all those years between Columbus and the 20th Century.

There is more to the story, and my reading in more recent years has been very educational. It filled out a lot of the color of our history. I have seen where our first Congress met. I stood in the room and had a sense of awe at the history that room held. Now that I know the Founders opened their first Congress with prayer and a Bible reading, it colors it in a bit more, not so much as a religious story, but to show the importance the Founders gave to their tasks. The work was too much for the minds of even these smart folks. They needed God's help.

Dr. William Bennett, former Secretary of Education, has written several books about the country and its history. One of his recent efforts is the American Patriot's Almanac. In the revised edition he added a section titled "Faith and the Founders." Here is a nice summary from that a paragraph in that chapter:

"The Founders or this country were mostly Christians. They drew deeply from the wellsprings of the Judeo-Christian tradition for the underlying philosophy of the republic. Histories that ignore this side of the American story leave out a crucial part. As the scholar Michael Novak has written in his book On Two Wings, 'a purely secular interpretation of the founding runs aground on massive evidence.'"

Read more in the book shown here. It is a good value.

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