Washington's God

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The relationship between religion and government has sparked one of the loudest American debates for more than 200 years.

James Madison argued against the "unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians" who favored government-established religion. Thomas Jefferson wrote of building that wall of separation between church and state.

Most historians accept that these views reflected the founders' personal views on religious matters. They were men of the Enlightenment, who favored the power of reason over blind faith to an all-powerful God.

But Michael Novak's new book about George Washington argues that the father of The American Revolution was a deeply religious man, who believed a benevolent God favored the cause of American liberty. Does this scholarship break new ground, or does it re-write history to push a modern political agenda?

Hear a conversation about religion, liberty and Washington's God.


Michael Novak, author of "Washington's God: Religion, Liberty, and The Father of Our Country"

Gordon Wood, professor of history at Brown University.

This program aired on February 20, 2006.


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