- Despite the protection of free religious practice by the First Amendment (commonly known as the separation of church and state), many in the United States tend to think of their country as being Christian. Indeed a 2007 survey reports that 55 percent of respondents believe the U.S. is in fact a Christian nation — which would be a surprise to the Founders. A revealing article by Kevin M. Kruse (The New York Times, 14-Mar-2015) shows why this is so.
After the Great Crash and the ensuing Great Depression of the 1930s, American business was assaulted by the public, labor unions, and F.D.R.’s New Deal. Business leaders pushed back with a campaign to regain their prestige.
But nothing worked particularly well until they began an inspired public relations offensive that cast capitalism as the handmaiden of Christianity,writes Kruse.
Accordingly, throughout the 1930s and ’40s, corporate leaders marketed a new ideology that combined elements of Christianity with an anti‑federal libertarianism.To see how they did it read A Christian Nation? Since When?
A Christian Nation?
Madison’s enemies came up with a strong opponent [for the House of Representatives in 1789] — his investment partner, James Monroe. Seven years younger than Madison, Monroe was tall, handsome, earnest, vigorous. He had crossed the Delaware with Washington and survived a bullet in his lungs at the Battle of Trenton; after leaving the army he had read law with Jefferson. Jefferson loved Madison, but he loved is other protégé, too. At one point he dreamed of both men moving next to him at Monticello. With such neighbors, he wrote Madison,
I could ... lay myself up for the residue of life, quitting all contentions.