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'''Do we still have a “religious nationalism?”'''
It’s the floor. Liberals and conservatives, leftists and reactionaries, stand on it. In some ways it is necessary. The US is a big and odd and unnatural and discordant nation. How would Americans talk to each other without standing on the founding fathers? It also, I think, limits debate and inhibits thought.
John Fea calls Jefferson not a Christian, but a follower of Jesus. There’s an old saying that sometimes the truth is a long road from the facts. It’s a fact that Jefferson was a follower of Jesus. But it’s misleading to call him that precisely because of what happened when Fea did. Gordon-Reed said “Yes, Jesus the Redeemer!” And, if we’re to believe the Christians, there’s two whole words of difference between that and “Yes, Jesus the secular ethicist!”
For Jefferson it was pretty simple. Jefferson meant the United States would be, and should be, Unitarian. It was quixotic then too.