Tuesday, January 29, 2008

John Meacham and American Religion

Author John Meacham discusses his book American Gospel and the role of religion in American history (particularly the American founding).


Lindsey Shuman said...

I really enjoyed this book. I think Meacham was the perfect guy to write aobut the issues he mentions, because historians often downplay religion and its impact on government, people, etc.

I also think that Meacham doesn't sugarcoat the issue of religion's role in shaping American history. Too often we hear ministers preaching that America is Chirst's country or that the U.S.A is bases exclusively on Christianity. Meacham effectively convinces us in his book that such a notion is not only idiotic, but completely wrong.

Very good interview. Thanks for finding and posting it.

Brad Hart said...

I really enjoyed this book and this interview. My favorite part comes at the end when Meacham gives his opinion of which religious figures cross the line and which religious figures act appropriately. He states that Billy Graham is a posterchild of the American religious figure that doesn't cross the line, while leaders like Pat Roberstson and Jerry Falwell became too involved in politics and political allegiance. I couldn't agree more!

Brian Tubbs said...

What a lot of people don't realize is that Jerry Falwell himself realized (in his later years) that he had stepped over the line -- too far into politics. In his last years, he focused more on Thomas Road and Liberty. He enjoyed just being a pastor again.

For my own part, I do NOT think it's wrong for pastors to get engaged on political issues. But I DO think it's a problem when pastors become too closely intertwined with particular parties or candidates.

Brad Hart said...

I agree, Brian. I think pastors, priests, etc. should be involved in politics, but should also let their "flocks" make their own choices. I also agree that pastors, priests, etc. should not be entwined too much with political parties.

I think the best example of this that I've seen is Joel Osteen. He is involved in a lot of political causes, but will not endorse or encourage any of his congregation to vote for a particular candidate. That is good judgement.

I didn't know that about Falwell. Very interesting.

Steve Becknall said...

I havn't read this book yet, but my professor talks about it non-stop. I guess Meacham received a lot of praise (even from historians if you can believe that).