Jon Meacham op-ed echoes Lincoln's logic from Cooper Union speech
Jon Meacham, the editor of Newsweek and serious scholar of America's Founding Fathers, wrote a terrific op-ed in Sunday's New York Times. His essay, titled, "A Nation of Christians is Not a Christian Nation," poked lethal holes in the old-line evangelical belief that the United States was founded as an expressly Christian country. When I think of that claim, this famous painting of Gen. George Washington praying at Valley Forge comes to mind. But Meacham, following the logical pattern of Abraham Lincoln in his anti-slavery Cooper Union speech of 1860, explodes the myth of Christian origination by citing numerous examples of how the Founding Fathers left out overt Christian references from the classic documents they wrote, and in their personal communications. He also cites chapter and verse how the Old and New Testaments advocate the division of authentic personal worship and the state. The language of the Christian God, as Meacham wrote, as well as the persona of Jesus, are purposefully, and perhaps surprisingly, absent from the origins of the United States. The Christians (and sometimes deists) who founded our nation were wise enough to leave them out.