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Recently on Twitter, a debate broke out between Annette Gordon-Reed, Sam Haselby, and John Fea on the nature of Thomas Jefferson's religious beliefs. The debate centered on the questions of whether or not Thomas Jefferson could be described a Christian and wanted the United States to be a Christian nation. Ultimately, the debate could not overcome the 140 character limitations of Twitter. Fortunately, Michael Hattem preserved that debate at [https://storify.com/michaelhattem/jefferson-christianity-and-twitter Jefferson, Christianity, and Twitter].
Instead of recreating the debate, it made more sense to contact one of the participants, Sam Haselby, whose recent book ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/
022614531X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8 &tag=dailyh0c-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2& creativeASIN= 022614531X&linkId= b9a8926764a9a22b56e58c3b8e0a5618 The Origins of American Religious Nationalism]'' (published by [http://global.oup.com/?cc=us Oxford University Press]) examines the the intersection of politics, national identity and Christianity. ''The Origins of American Religious Nationalism'' was published in 2015 and will be republished in paperback in December 2016. It made sense to get his perspective on the concept of American Religious Nationalism, the broad issues that underpinned the recent Twitter debate, and his understanding of early American Christianity.
Sam Haselby is a visiting assistant professor of history at Columbia University and the editor of [https://aeon.co/ Aeon magazine]. He recently published an article for Aeon entitled [https://aeon.co/essays/why-did-the-secular-ambitions-of-the-early-united-states-fail American Secularism] explaining why the secular movement failed soon after the founding of the United States.