Encounter Books (August 2001).
The U.S. isn't officially Christian, but Novak demonstrates that the men who created it rooted the country conceptually in the Bible. The characterizations of God in the Declaration of Independence derive from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), probably deliberately, because all Christian denominations accepted them. Faith in God was ubiquitous among the founders, who regarded religion as necessary to maintain a just and equitable society. Only a moral (because religious) society would foster responsible citizens; pursuing freedom without religion, individuals would create a chaos of competing self-interests. Finally, the founders' conception of rights derived more from Acquinas than from Enlightenment philosophers. Quoting so often from the founders and their influences that this is practically a documentary history, Novak is compelling on those major propositions and others. He concludes by answering 10 common questions about religion and the founders, and he appends comments on some lesser-known important founders and the Revolution's great fellow traveler, Thomas Paine, who believed in God despite disapproving all the religions he knew. Hard but invaluably informative reading. [Source: Ray Olson, Booklist]
- Meacham Nods, Odd lapses National Review Online. Dec. 14, 2007. [On Newsweek's John Meacham's misreading of John Adams and George Washington on church and state].
- The Faith of the Founding. First Things 132 (April 2003): 27-32.
- A Nation That Believes: America without religion is not America. National Review. Dec. 31, 2001.
- Who Needs God?. American Enterprise Jan, 2001. Adapted from his chapter in the new collection The Collapse of Communism (Hoover Press).
- The Founders and the Torah. The New York Times. Sept. 4, 2000.
- With Liberty & Prayer for All. The New York Times. June 18, 1999.