Messiah College history prof John Fea recently authored a history of the American Bible Society. In it, he describes the efforts of certain founding fathers (e.g., Elias Boudinot) to make sure the new United States would be a Christian nation. The American Bible Society was one of those efforts.
In the minds of the ABS founders and supporters, some of their fellow patriots were a threat to their Christian nationalist aims. One such founder was Thomas Jefferson. And yet, Fea notes in a History News Network article, David Barton and today’s Christian nationalists want to make Jefferson one of them.
According to Fea, the ABS founders would not recognize the Jefferson conjured up by Barton. Fea writes:
In the early nineteenth-century, the building of a Christian republic meant opposing Thomas Jefferson. Today, this no longer seems to be the case. In fact, some Christian nationalists believe that Jefferson and his legacy are actually useful in their ongoing argument that the founding fathers of the United States set out to forge a Christian country.
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