Here at American Creation we tend to get into discussions about the faith lives of the Founders. Were they Christians? What kind of Christians? Devout? Lax? Orthodox? Unitarian? How can anyone even coherently describe whatever Thomas Jefferson happened to believe at any given moment? This kind of questioning also shows up quite a bit in constitutional law scholarship discussing the First Amendment's religion clauses and the role of faith in public life.
Over at The American Conservative online, writer Paul Gottfried argues that that whole line of questioning is mistaken: Was George Washington a Christian? According to Gottfried's approach the relevant question isn't what did Washington believe? rather it is what kind of social and political order did Washington intend to create? Gottfried has some thoughts on both questions, and his ideas are well worth pondering. I particularly am struck by his framing of the debate about religion and the Founding.