I’ve been doing some reading recently on the early years of our nation and it’s founders. There are entrenched positions on several issues relevant to this area of study, most especially with respect to the founders’ religious convictions and how these were integrated into their political philosophies.
Unfortunately, contemporary opinions concerning these convictions are aggressively leveraged to support competing political agendas, often at the expense of a fair and comprehensive hearing of the historical data. Gregg Frazer notes,”…political and religious thought were not nearly as differentiated in the Founding era as modern sensibilities or modern thinking would make them.” Recognizing this modern tendency to compartmentalize faith and politics will go a long way to better understanding the founders and ourselves. Perhaps it will also help in finding a way forward through the trench warfare of partisanship and party politics today.
For better or worse, “The realms of religion and politics were inextricably linked for the Founding generation.” The question remains: in what ways do you either link or unlink religion and politics? And further, on what grounds do you do so?
*Quotations taken from Gregg L. Frazer, The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders: Reason, Revelation, and Revolution (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012), 5.