The Founding Fathers' clever compromise over religion not only allowed God to survive and prosper in America, it also provided a way of living with religion--of ensuring that different faiths can coexist, and of taming a passion that so often turns the religious beast to savagery. This was one of the Founders' greatest gifts to man: getting rid of the established church, establishing a firm distinction between public reason and private faith, and consigning theocracy to the past along with monarchy and aristocracy.But later, in Chapter 3, they write:
By 2000, the country was split just as dramatically over religion as it had been in 1900--but this time the split was not between different denominations (Protestants for the Republican Party and Catholics for the Democrats) but between people who were hot for religion, whether they were Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, and people who were cooler, whether they were atheists, modernists, or infrequent church attendees.Understanding how these quotes can be reconciled will get you a good way to understanding the authors' main arguments. The key is understanding the connection between religious vitality. What is that connection?
You may also want to review my book club posts for the Introduction and Chapters 1-4 from last year.