- Dec 5, 2013
Dear Ms. Adair: To the extent that your reference to the revolution being "populated" is limited to the European population (and excluding both indian tribes, and people of african descent - two very big "ifs"), British America was overwhelming Christian.
How Pious or active - Certainly not the "bible belt" that some suggest, and by no means united in its interpretation of Christ's message.
However, churches were an integral part of the social fabric of the colonies (and in some colonies "established" by the government), the Bible is widely read, religious tracts are common, men of the cloth are recognized leaders of the community, and newspaper and literature are peppered with Biblical references. The system of higher education in the United States was started by Christian sectarians, and enormous sums of money are invested to convert Native American Indians. Dead Preacher George Whitfield is disentombed by Revolutionary Officers, and bits of his garments kept as talismans; the British Army establishment talks of the "damned Presbyterians" and the "black Regiment" (referring to the clerical clothing of ministers) when addressing the motiviations of the rebelling colonists. To ignore it is to place a 21st century gloss that defies historical fact.
The more nuanced story is that during the late colonial period, the course of the war and thereafter, our country's leaders concluded that it was best to let such things be a matter of private conscience rather than public obligation, and hence the adoption of the First Amendment to the Constitution.
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