ENDORSEMENTS FOR DID AMERICA HAVE A CHRISTIAN FOUNDING?
"I endorse this readable, nuanced, and cogent treatment by my friend, Mark Hall, - so many narratives on this issue, including unfortunately SCOTUS narratives, lack the oxygen of factual support - this treatment provides a needed O2 tank."
Jeffery J. Ventrella, J.D., Ph.D., Sr. Counsel, SVP of Academic Affairs & Training, Alliance Defending Freedom
"After years of reading overstatements from both sides of the Founding debate, I enjoyed Mark David Hall's calm and thorough analysis. Mindreaders and diary extrapolaters may still fight over questions of sincerity and personal faithfulness, but Hall clearly shows what's most important: that Christian ideas profoundly influenced the Founders, and through them all of us."
Dr. Marvin Olasky, World editor in chief and author of Fighting for Liberty and Virtue
"Carefully researched and skillfully nuanced, Mark David Hall’s Did America Have A Christian Founding? challenges the view that America’s founding was more secular than religious. For those who want to understand the influence of the Bible on the American founding, Hall offers a readable and compelling case for the linkages of Christian faith and American liberty. "
Roy L. Peterson, President and CEO, American Bible Society
"Here Mark David Hall shows that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the American Founding was a Christian founding--and that American religious freedom was in the first place a Christian principle."
Kevin R. C. Gutzman, J.D., Ph.D., author of Thomas Jefferson--Revolutionary and James Madison and the Making of America
"Mark David Hall comes to the study of the American founding without…blinders on. The result is a fresh look at the very real extent to which Christian thought and belief played a vital role in the making of our country. A veteran student of the founding with numerous books to his credit, Hall has written his latest book for any interested reader—yet his endnotes will satisfy the most rigorous demands of his fellow scholars. Hall does not counter one myth with another—there is no exaggerated case here for a “pious nation kneeling ’round the altar”—but instead shows that the American devotion to freedom, limited government, constitutionalism, and the rule of law owes as much or more to the Christian character of our founding generation as to any putatively “secular” philosophical sources. For the founders, freedom and faith were compatible, not at odds but mutually supportive. So they can and should be for us."
Matthew J. Franck, Associate Director, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University
"Hall’s beautifully written and immensely thoughtful new book should be read by anyone interested in the role of religion in the founding of the American Republic. Rich in its insight and analysis, Hall’s book brilliantly illuminates the interplay of American politics and religion during the founding era, and explains how and why the Founders’ ideas are still relevant for our understanding of the role that religion should play in American public life today."
David G. Dalin, Senior Research Fellow at Brandeis University, author of Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court, from Brandeis to Kagan: Their Lives and Legacies
"In Did America Have a Christian Founding? Mark Hall grants the modern reader a window into the predominant worldview of our Constitution’s many framers and ratifiers through dozens of original sources, among hundreds of scholarly references. In contrast to the the bias-driven mythologies he exposes, Hall leads his readers to reasoned conclusions about historical truth through objective scholarship in the vein of story-telling. He is humble enough to acknowledge legitimate separationist claims while bold enough to demonstrate how the preponderance of historical evidence begs an affirmative answer to his title question. With many implications for today’s challenges, Did America Have a Christian Founding? is history that is relevant for our time."
Robert Littlejohn, Ph.D., Co-Author, Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning
"In this beautiful book, Mark David Hall fully debunks the pervasive myth that America’s founders were deists. As I turned each page my smile grew larger to know that here, in a single short book, history was being set aright, in a way that should hush the voices of those who have too long declared that our founders were not really men of faith. As Dr. Hall ably demonstrates, America’s founders were driven by a deep sense of religious conscience, founded in their Christian faith, to establish a new nation conceived in liberty."
Rodney K. Smith, Stirling Chair and Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies, Utah Valley University and author of James Madison: The Father of Religious Liberty.
"In Did America Have a Christian Founding?, Mark David Hall debunks widespread secularist myths and provides a lively, illuminating account of the role of Christianity in our nation’s founding. Everyone who cares about our nation’s founding can benefit from this valuable and insightful book."
Luke Goodrich, Vice President of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and author of Free to Believe: The Battle Over Religious Liberty in America
"The American republic was not founded in 1787 as a unitary, confessional, Christian state. But it was founded within the context of an overwhelmingly Christian population, and nearly all of the Founders adhered to, or were influenced by, Christian moral teachings and practices. Most importantly, the Founders recognized that if their new regime of ordered liberty was to survive and prosper, it must be sustained by the indispensable pillars of religion and morality. Professor Hall's lucid volume illuminates these often overlooked influences on the Founders and corrects many modern misconceptions about their political philosophy and achievements."
George H. Nash, historian, lecturer, and author of The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945
"Mark David Hall has provided a decisive, readable and scholarly answer to the perennially debated question, “Did America Have a Christian Founding?” Herein, a distinguished American historian demonstrates far beyond a reasonable doubt that America’s Founders were deeply influenced by the Christian faith. If you have time to read only one book on the subject, this is categorically the one you should choose."
Peter A. Lillback, President, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia and President, The Providence Forum
"Mark Hall offers a bracing corrective to those scholars and writers who have somehow failed to notice the Jewish-Christian moral premises that thread through the Constitution. And he brings the insight that will also come as news to them: that our tradition of religious pluralism did not spring from a "secular" understanding that began simply by denying that any particular religion has a plausible claim to truth. That pluralism, and religious tolerance, sprang rather from our religious tradition. It was anchored in the understanding that creatures of reason should come to an understanding of God through their reflection and reason, not through coercion."
Hadley Arkes, Edward Ney Professor of Jurisprudence emeritus, Amherst College and Director, James Wilson Institute
"In this book, Professor Hall powerfully and thoroughly rebuts -- claim by claim -- the consistently errant assertions of a never ending stream of prominent and popular commentators who report that the American Founding was a wholly secular and enlightenment affair. His work builds from his impressive thirty-year scholarly corpus on how the American Founding was importantly influenced by Protestant Christian theology and institutions; here he convincingly shows that the putative hostility of the American Founders to Christianity and their embrace of a secular philosophy is "unequivocally false" for all but a small handful of men and, in most cases, for only part of their lives and often years before or after the Founding period. Hall demonstrates that these claims about a secular founding are consistently made without convincing (or in some cases any) supporting evidence, in a manner that prevents the formation of an accurate understanding of America, then and now, to the detriment of all."
Barry Alan Shain, Professor of Political Science, Colgate University
"In this engaging book, Mark David Hall revisits the persistent myth that the American founding was a strictly secular, enlightenment project. Among the questions he investigates are: Were the American founders all deists who framed a godless Constitution? Did the founders erect a high wall of separation between church and state, restricting religion’s role in public life? These are not questions of merely academic interest; rather, as Hall shows, they have immediate implications for law and public policy. His insightful, amply documented conclusions will inform the lay historian and seasoned scholar alike."
Daniel L. Dreisbach, Professor of Legal Studies at American University and author of Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation between Church and State and Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers.
"A critically important work, Mark Hall’s latest book demonstrates that a large number of America’s Founders held deep Christian faith and applied their beliefs to the Nation’s foundational documents, speeches and Constitutional provisions. Relying on original sources and texts and written for the academic and the non-academic, alike, this book is for anyone who is interested in answering for themselves 'Did America Have a Christian Founding?'"
Charlie Copeland, President, Intercollegiate Studies Institute
"Professor Hall examines the passionately debated question of whether America had a Christian founding through the lens of honest scholarship for which he is known and respected. The result is a highly readable book for anyone who seeks a thoughtful and fair-minded evaluation of the Founders’ understanding of Christianity and its relationship to the national government that they established through the Constitution and made subject to the First Amendment."
Kim Colby, Director, Center for Law and Religious Freedom, Christian Legal Society
"This is a book we have badly needed for a long time, and Mark David Hall has performed a great public service in writing it. For too long the subject of Christianity’s relationship to the American Founding has been needlessly obscured in a fog of misunderstanding, oversimplification, half-truth, and deliberate misrepresentation. Hall has cut through the fog, producing a work that not only builds on the most careful recent scholarship, but presents its findings in a remarkably accessible and persuasive way. For its clear and penetrating insights into the American past and present alike, this is a book that every thoughtful American will need to read."
Wilfred M. McClay, G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, University of Oklahoma
"Mark’s excellent book is so needed. So many do not understand the basics of religious freedom. Mark’s book, though written by an academic, is a great beginning, helping regular citizens to begin to understand these crucial issues of our first freedom."
Kelly Shackelford, President, First Liberty Institute