Generous Orthodoxy  

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New book about Founding Fathers

Did you know that Sam Adams was the most devout Christian among the American Founders? Neither did I. Patrick Henry was an orthodox believer too, according to a new book called Founding Faith by Steven Waldman, which sounds quite interesting. It takes a middle position between the Christian Right and the "nouvelle atheists" (writes Richard Brookhiser), rightly so, since the pious notion that most of the Founders were traditional Christians is not accurate--certainly not in the case of the "Big Five" (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison).

The most unusual feature of this new book is that it has a chapter on George Whitefield, surely a first among the recent Founders books. Sam Adams heard Whitefield preach. (Parenthetically and unrelatedly, Dr. Samuel Johnson--a devout believer--dragged James Boswell to hear John Wesley.)

Click on the Brookhiser review: