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The article examines the widespread cultural debate in the U.S. regarding whether or not the country was founded as a Christian nation. The author charts the development of right-wing Christian nationalism in the U.S., which sees the country as essentially Christian in origin, noting their belief in American exceptionalism, anti-historical revisionist stance, and belief in the Christian identity of many Founding Fathers. She goes on to argue that many founders actually supported the separation of church and state despite their Christian beliefs, and notes that applying 20th and 21st century religious ideals to the founding moment is anachronistic and erroneous. She also notes various evangelical scholars who refute the tenets of Christian nationalism.


Originally published as:

Fea, John. “Using the Past to ‘Save’ Our Nation: The Debate over Christian America.” OAH Magazine of History 27, no. 1 (January 2013): 7–11. doi:10.1093/oahmag/oas046.