Friday, March 30, 2012

Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President

One more from Prof. Throckmorton for now. He has co-authored a soon to be released eBook that will fact check David Barton's claims about Jefferson.

Kirk Cameron’s Monumental Revision of Thomas Jefferson

From Warren Throckmorton here.

A taste:

Jefferson extracted the diamonds from the Gospels and left in the dunghill. For Jefferson, diamonds included the Golden Rule, and the Sermon on the Mount, and dunghill included the virgin birth, John 3:16 and the resurrection. Viewers of Monumental might find that surprising. Sounds like Cameron might find that surprising. Cameron’s answer to Thompson dodges the central problem with what I have seen of Monumental:

Yeah, it sure does. I’m not running around waving the Thomas Jefferson flag. Even if Jefferson is a complete infidel—and I’m not saying that he is—he certainly promoted the basic principles of Christianity and funded major Christian efforts to get the principles of Christianity deep into the hearts and minds of people. He understood that it was only those principles that could provide the basis and foundation for a free and just society.

What are the basic principles of Christianity? This is a pretty important question since he said Jefferson promoted these principles. Jefferson believes you get to heaven by doing good works, and sure did many of them. He believed in treating others the way you want to be treated. He also believed that one’s life of virtue is proof enough that one’s religion is personally valuable, no matter what that religion was. Are those the basic principles of Christianity?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Monumental" Lies - Kirk Cameron Visits David Barton, Huffpo

I've already featured this video of Chris Rodda's. However it's now on the widely read Huffington Post.

Throckmorton on Monumental

Its title is Shouldn't a Documentary About History Be Historically Accurate?

A taste:

In one of the clips, Cameron interviews David Barton while looking at some of Barton’s truly impressive collection of old Bibles. Cameron asked Barton about a two-volume, folio-sized Bible, which Barton says was printed in 1798. Barton tells Cameron that “This Bible was funded by about a dozen signers of the Constitution and signers of the Declaration as well as by President John Adams and Vice-President Thomas Jefferson. They’re the guys that put up the financial backing to do this Bible.” Barton also refers to this Bible in his new book, The Jefferson Lies, where he says, “[Thomas] Jefferson personally helped finance the printing of one of America’s groundbreaking editions of the Bible.” There he repeats the same claim about the signers financing the 1798 Thompson Hot Press Bible.

It is not true that a dozen Founders went together to put up the “financial backing” for the Thompson Bible. John Thompson and Abraham Small announced in the Gazette of the United States on April 25, 1796, the completion of the first section of their Bible which they described as “the most beautiful production of its nature hitherto seen.” They offered their Bible to the public with a plan to print the Bible in 40 sections to be delivered “every two weeks.” Subscribers paid 50 cents a section, totaling $20 for the completed Bible. After the subscribers received their printed pages, they still needed to get them bound at additional cost.

Barton told Cameron that the Bible was the product of the Founders who “wanted the Word of God out to every family.” In truth, over 1270 people subscribed, including about a dozen Founders (but not including Adams on any of the three subscribers’ lists that I have seen) to purchase a Bible for their own use. Jefferson did buy one but he didn’t finish paying for it until 1799, months after the Bible was completed; hardly a great way to help finance a printing effort.

Barton then shows Cameron a copy of the very rare Aitken Bible, the first Bible printed in English in the United States. Barton says that Congress printed the Bible, which is simply not true. Robert Aitken printed the Bible at his own expense and when he was nearly finished, wanted Congress to sanction it. The extent of Congressional committee action was to ask the Chaplains to verify the accuracy of Aitken’s work which they did. Barton told Cameron that Congress said the Bible was “a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use in schools.” However, Congress did not say that. ...

Friday, March 23, 2012


Over at my home blog, this post on Alexander Hamilton's religion, for some reason, is generating a lot of views.

It summarizes the scholarly consensus on Hamilton's religion. While he may have had a conventionally religious youth (as did virtually all of the Founders) and died a Christian death, in between he was not identifiably a "Christian" as defined by orthodox standards. But he was something. What was it? Most scholars would use the term "deism." Dr. Gregg Frazer says no, "theistic rationalism" is better. Dr. Frazer has a book coming out soon that I hope we all get. If things go according to plan I am going to be involved in an "event" this summer with Gregg on the book.

Some interlocutors at American Creation object to the term "theistic rationalism." I didn't use it in my above linked piece on Hamilton. As a courtesy to them when discussing what a particular Founder believed, I try not to load the writing with terms to which they would object, but rather find a denominator.

So this is the term I used, in context:

... I'm not so sure how seriously to take Hamilton's crack on "purgatory." That's certainly part of Roman Catholicism, an orthodox faith; but most reformed/evangelical Protestant creeds of the Founding era, like those today, reject purgatory. The more "enlightened" Protestant Christian unitarian-universalists, however, did believe in Protestant Purgatory, where good people went to Heaven, bad people were temporarily punished there.

"Enlightened" Protestant Christian-unitarian-universalism. Both with small "u's" on purpose (so as not to confuse with official denominations). I think it's without question an accurate description of what Jefferson, J. Adams, and Franklin clearly believed. AND what Hamilton probably believed during the time in which he did his work "Founding" America, until his son died. Though that term is too cumbersome. It is important to note, this creed DID usually present itself as a form of "Christianity" -- "rational Christianity."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It Begins

Chris Rodda Begins to Deconstruct "Monumental":

I think Rodda identifies a new logical fallacy. I too have witnessed an argument Barton's followers make: Because Barton OWNS these documents, as a collector, that somehow means he can't lie or make an erroneous report about them. You don't OWN these documents like Barton does, therefore you are wrong and he is right!

Father Neuhaus on Mormonism as Christianity

A little old but recently recycled by First Things.

His summary:

“If Christian doctrine is summarized in, for instance, the Apostles’ Creed as understood by historic Christianity, official LDS teaching adds to the creed, deviates from it, or starkly opposes it almost article by article.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Norway Finally Disestablishes

Get the news here.

One More From Rev. Terry

I can't resist. Here is an article from the Daily Beast.

To a cheering crowd, Terry shouted that ours is a “Christian nation,” that “we don't worship Buddha, we don't worship Mohammad, we don't worship Allah,” and that anyone who doesn’t like “the way we do things” should “get out.”


... But he went further when he said that we–“Americans,” presumably–are Christians who worship “one God, and his name is Jesus Christ.” ...

I won't touch the Rev.'s personal theology. It certainly is a central tenet of Christianity that there is one God and that Jesus is God. But it's precisely NOT what the American Founding was all about. The key Founders believed all monotheists, including Muslims, worshipped the same God.

And here is John Adams on the notion that Jesus is God:

"An incarnate God!!! An eternal, self-existent, omnipresent omniscient Author of this stupendous Universe, suffering on a Cross!!! My Soul starts with horror, at the Idea, and it has stupified the Christian World. It has been the Source of almost all of the Corruptions of Christianity."

-- John Adams to John Quincy Adams, March 28, 1816.

Monumental Question: Did Signers of the Declaration and Constitution Finance a Bible for Every American Family?

From Warren Throckmorton here.

David Barton on Glenn Beck's Mormon Christianity

Since I've blogged about this issue, I thought I'd let Barton testify for himself as to why Glenn Beck can be both a Christian and a Mormon at the same time.

Let me note I don't have a dog in this fight. On a personal matter an ecumenical universalistic theology appeals to me more than orthodox evangelical Christianity. Though the latter faith, as I often observe it, is quite narrow and exclusive in its truth claim.

And here is Beck, Barton and some other guy on the Christian Nation question.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rick Santorum Disagrees With Christian Nation Idiot

The story is here.

A taste:

“I don’t care what the naysayers say. This nation was founded as a Christian nation. The god of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. There is only one God. There is only one God, and his name is Jesus. I’m tired of people telling me that I can’t say those words. I’m tired of people telling us as Christians that we can’t voice our beliefs or we can’t no longer pray in public. Listen to me. If you don’t love America, and you don’t like the way we do things, I’ve got one thing to say, get out!” Terry proclaimed loudly at the Greenwell Springs Baptist Church Sunday evening. “We don’t worship Buddha, we don’t worship Mohammed, we don’t worship Allah. We worship God. We worship God’s son Jesus Christ.”

After an event in Moline Monday evening, Santorum was asked repeatedly by reporters if he agreed with the pastor’s words.

“If the question is, do I agree with his statement that America shouldn’t do that? No, if he was speaking for himself he’s obviously allowed to believe what he wants to believe but, obviously I believe in freedom of religion and all religions are welcome and should be. I think I’ve made that pretty clear throughout my campaign that I believe very much in freedom of religion, and folks should be able to worship whoever they want to worship and bring their thoughts in the public square and have at it and give them the opportunity to make their faith claims, and make their claims to reason and any other claims. That’s what America’s all about. As far as I’m concerned they should be here and make their arguments the best they can,” said Santorum.

Video clips here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Barack Obama, Man Of Faith

Andrew Sullivan picks up on the recent battle over President Obama's Christianity involving David Barton. He links to an article of Paul Harvey's that references John Fea's recent "experience" discussing Obama's Christianity.

From Harvey's:

Given Obama’s frequent Christian testimony—explicit enough to make most founding fathers uncomfortable with its public expression of private matters—how can this view be so widely held?

Is it because, like Thomas Jefferson, Obama has been sitting in his office, snipping away with his scissors and cutting out the relatively few passages of the Bible that he has deemed worthy of inclusion in his own expurgated text of trustworthy Gospel sayings? Is it because, like Andrew Jackson, he has opened the White House doors to the huddled masses, yearning to sip some “cider” with the POTUS and his crew? Is it because, like Abraham Lincoln, he avoids any explicit mention of Jesus, and confesses that the ways of the Almighty are unknowable to humans?

No, of course not. Rather, it boils down to this: because Chuck Norris, Franklin Graham, and the American Family Association ... say so. And because David Barton has 47 footnotes that say so.

Obama is a "Christian" in the sense that he professes to be one and has also professed his belief in certain "minimums" like putting his faith in a divine resurrected Jesus. Granted, the liberation theology thing makes his faith a bit "unconventional"; and I'm not sure whether he'd pass CS Lewis' "mere Christian" test that, at a minimum Christians believe Jesus 2nd Person in the Trinity (he might).

But I do know that President Obama's professed faith is closer to "mere Christianity" than either Jefferson's, John Adams' or that of the Mormons.

But, according to Barton, Glenn Beck gets to be a Christian (and a Mormon at the same time) because his politics better match up with Barton's?

I'm not sure if that's a fair charge; but it's how Barton comes off "smelling" to me.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Catholics, contraceptives and John Locke

By Michael Gerson, here.

A taste:

One tradition of religious liberty contends that freedom of conscience is protected and advanced by the autonomy of religious groups. In this view, government should honor an institutional pluralism — the ability of people to associate, live and act in accordance with their religious beliefs, limited only by the clear requirements of public order. So Roger Williams welcomed Catholics and Quakers to the Rhode Island colony, arguing that a “Church or company of worshippers (whether true or false) . . . may dissent, divide, breake into Schismes and Factions, sue and implead each other at the Law, yea wholly breake up and dissolve into pieces and nothing, and yet the peace of the Citie not be in the least measure impaired or disturbed.”

There is another form of modern liberalism that defines freedom of conscience in purely personal terms. Only the individual and the state are real, at least when it comes to the law. And the state must often intervene to protect the individual from the oppression of illiberal social institutions, particularly religious ones.

This is the guiding philosophy of the American Civil Liberties Union. But as Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, pointed out to me, this approach has roots in the Anglo American tradition of political philosophy. John Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration” urges legal respect for individual conscience because “everyone is orthodox to himself.” But Locke offered no tolerance for the institution of the Catholic Church: “That Church can have no right to be tolerated by the magistrate which is constituted upon such a bottom that all those who enter into it do thereby ipso facto deliver themselves up to the protection and service of another prince.” In Locke’s view, Catholics can worship as they wish as individuals, but their institution is a danger to the liberal order.

In American history, the treatment of the Catholic Church has often been the measure of institutional religious tolerance. It is amazing how Lockean (unconsciously, one assumes) recent actions by the Obama administration have been. Catholics individuals are free to worship. Catholic institutions must be forced to reflect liberal ideals and values.

American Civil Religion, Religious Liberty, Interposition, and the Mormons

By Lee Trepanier and Lynita K. Newswander here.

A taste:

At the time of Tocqueville’s visit, the Mormon religion was just one year old. Membership was small, and those who practiced Mormonism were a notable exception to the general feeling of religious pluralism which Tocqueville had experienced. Yet, the religion itself – its doctrines, structures, culture, and social practices – had much in common with the more mainstream values of the era in which it was founded. In this sense, the story of Mormonism is, in many respects, a story of America itself. In recent years, scholars have called Mormonism “the American religion”; and some have even argue that the Mormon faith is more American than other more commonly practiced faiths in the US, with its particular combination of spiritualism and patriotism that makes Mormons “American nationalists of a peculiar sort.”6 Others have said that Mormonism was “the first American religion” because the religion “was brand new, with a new identity,” like America itself.7

An American Faith

In many ways, Mormon theology reveres America in a way no other religion does. First, according to LDS doctrine, America was the original home of Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden.8 Later, it became a promised land for God’s chosen people – a branch of Israel who was warned by God to leave Jerusalem around 600 B.C. before its destruction.9 Like the God in the Old Testament, the God in The Book of Mormon warns people if they forgot Him, they will be removed from the promised land of America. This message is interpreted by current members of the LDS Church as a personal warning to themselves as well as a more general admonition regarding the Lord’s expectations for the United States.

Mormons also believe that the founders of this nation were inspired to create a government based on principles of freedom and agency. The Constitution is a “heavenly banner” and a divinely inspired document which created a social, religious, and political environment which allowed Joseph Smith to bring forth his teaching.10 During the early years of the church, members sought to establish Zion in various locations as they travelled west, ultimately choosing the Salt Lake Valley as their own portion of the Promised Land and the modern-day headquarters of the Church. Mormons also believe that at the end of time, Christ will return to earth to rule his people from the New Jerusalem, which will be built in what is now known as Jackson County, Missouri.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

John Jay on politics in the pulpit

John Jay is an often-overlooked Founding Father when it comes to questions of religion in the public square.  An orthodox Protestant Christian with a strong aversion to Roman Catholicism, Jay was nonetheless a proponent of religious liberty as a general proposition who believed that while religion should have a role in guiding the moral development of society, it should also refrain from stating positions on every political issue.  This is evident in one of Jay's letters to Jedidiah Morse, where Jay wrote as follows:
Although the mere expediency of public measures may not be a proper subject for the pulpit, yet, in my opinion, it is the right and duty of our pastors to press the observance of all moral and religious duties, and to animadvert on every course of conduct which may be repugnant to them.
Letter dated January 1, 1813.

Jay is far from advocating a naked public square in his work, but his statement to Morse demonstrates a concern that pastors not address political issues beyond the specific competency of religion to address -- those issues that directly impacted on moral and religious duties.  This active though restrained role was, to Jay, one that was supported by the witness of the Old Testament.

As we move through the political season this year, John Jay's sage words regarding the proper role intersection of politics and the pulpit are salutary ones to keep in mind.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Christian Nation Nonsense in Oklahoma Legislature

Ed Brayton has the story here. I know I/we have for years beat the dead horse; but the fake quotations, most infamously spread by David Barton live on.

Patrick Henry didn't say it. And history is more complicated. I know Henry wasn't always such a militant anti-Federalist, but even the most pro-Federalist types didn't speak of the United States as ONE "great nation." They tended to speak of the United States in a plural sense (as in the United States "are" as opposed to "is"). That notion smacks of post Lincolnian centralization.

But this is how Henry really felt when he opposed the ratification of the United States Constitution:

And here I would make this enquiry of those worthy characters who composed a part of the late Federal Convention. I am sure they were fully impressed with the necessity of forming a great consolidated Government, instead of a confederation. That this is a consolidated Government is demonstrably clear, and the danger of such a Government, is, to my mind, very striking. I have the highest veneration of those Gentlemen,--but, Sir, give me leave to demand, what right had they to say, We, the People. My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask who authorised them to speak the language of, We, the People, instead of We, the States? States are the characteristics, and the soul of a confederation. If the States be not the agents of this compact, it must be one great consolidated National Government of the people of all the States.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jonathan Israel Enlightenment

The other day at Princeton I picked up Jonathan Israel's A Revolution of the Mind published by Princeton University Press. Israel is at the Institute for Advanced Study located in Princeton. It is not, as some believe, and I first thought when learning about it, part of Princeton University. But if you read up on the history of the Institute, it has some very notable figures cut from the same cloth (for instance, among others Albert Einstein and Alan Turing).

The book's thesis is that there were two wings of the Enlightenment, the radical wing and the moderate wing. The radical wing more dominated France's revolution. And although the radical wing was well represented in the American Revolution (by among others Jefferson and Paine) the moderate wing more dominated.

Israel, as a British writer, focuses on Enlightenment as it relates to Western Civilization in general; as it were, the American Enlightenment is just a particular focus in a general movement. He has to deal with grasping a great many figures and Israel sometimes overstates his case or otherwise contentiously analyses historical facts; but on balance he grasps them well.

Regarding Enlightenment and religion, I was happy to see Israel notice (as I have) the special place "providential Deism" and "Christian Unitarianism" had among the Enlightenment thinkers. The book stresses Richard Price and Joseph Priestley to represent radical Enlightenment in England. And also for equal gender representation (an Enlightenment idea!) Mary Wollstonecraft and Catherine Macaulay.

Here is how he deals with Benjamin Rush, that American Enlightenment "Christian":

[H]e had been a fervent Evangelical as a young man. Yet his radical libertarianism stemmed not from this religious background (which he soon abandoned for a highly unconventional kind of Christianity), but from Enlightenment ideas that he avidly absorbed as a student in Edinburgh and in London and Paris in the years 1766-1769, when he met Hume, Ferguson, Diderot, ... Macaulay, and other Enlightenment figures. He switched to radical ideas because skepticism, having destroyed his confidence in conventional political notions, led him to suspect, as he put it, "error in everything" he had previously been taught in America.

... Rush became an advocate of liberty, equality, and fraternity in which all men would share. ... After returning to his homeland, Rush became a famous medical and political reformer, and in religion, from 1780, for some years an advocate of "Universalism" -- that is, the doctrine of universal salvation of souls irrespective of belief or behavior, the only theology that renders all souls equal and considers union between all the Christian denominations a necessity if "corrupted" Christianity is to be eradicated and mankind's interest promoted. Like the Unitarians, to whom he was close, Rush stressed one's obligations to the entire human race, opposing all theology dividing Christians into separate denominations. Aspiring to unify reason with religion, he proposed stripping away practically all traditional theology. (pp. 42-43.)

My biggest disappointment with the book is its, at times, abstruse prose. This is a problem from which many academic book suffer. Parts of the book could use a rewrite.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Throckmorton on Monumental:

Read it here.

Apparently Herb Titus is in the movie. Herb and I have a mutual friend in Jim Babka. I once debated/discussed this issue with Herb on radio with Jim Babka moderating. He seemed like a nice enough guy. I think Providence was on Herb's side that day because my mic wasn't always clearly coming through. I don't think the show is online any more. But from what I remember, Herb knew that Jim and I, whatever differences between us, were pretty live and let live on what we valued about America's Founding political theology and he stressed those points of agreement: Roger Williams, and then the evangelical Baptists like Isaac Backus and John Leland who supported Jefferson and Madison's religious liberty/separation of church and state/government non-cognizance of religion "Virginia" project, etc. I wonder whether that shows through in his appearance on "Monumental."

Friday, March 9, 2012

America as an Almost Chosen People

To counter the Mark Noll et al. narrative. Tom Van Dyke sends this over. The article was written by Paul Johnson.

JMS on "The Search For Christian America"

At American Creation commenter JMS noted the following:

I thought the Search for Christian America was a great book. As Dr. Rowe noted and as the book's authors explain in the Afterword, "this book was originally prepared early in the Reagan era when for many evangelicals, hopes were high for restoring America's Christian heritage." (p. 156)

But those hopes (or delusions)were not realized, and the author's noted that, "starting with Christian principles is no guarantee of achieving Christian political results. Or, to put it in terms that theistic founders of this nation understood well, 'power corrupts'."

Historians like Mark Noll or John Fea are such faithful historians in the sense that, as stated by Noll et. al. in reference to the "Christian nation" thesis they were rebutting, "we hope to correct the mistaken assumption that the American past offers an adequate Christian blueprint for our lives today. We must agree with Roger Williams that no nation since the coming of Christ has been uniquely God's chosen people" (pp. 24-25)

Update: I have JD, MBA, and LL.M. degrees (all from Temple University). Technically the "JD" is a doctorate; though there is great debate whether it's appropriate for JDs to be termed "Dr." I generally don't go by "Dr.," but folks are free to call me that if they'd like. I do thank JMS for the respect though!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Niall Ferguson, Christianity and Civilization

He sees a connection.

"But what are the foundational texts of Western civilization, that can bolster our belief in the almost boundless power of the free individual human being?" His own answer to this question begins: "I would suggest the King James Bible …."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Brannon Howse on Kirk Cameron's Monumental

Here is Brannon Howse with the less eccumenical evangelical-fundamentalist perspective on Kirk Cameron's Christian America project. A taste:

Let me first begin by saying that I want to be gracious with people on this topic because for many years I was committed to the fallacy of moralizing, Americanism, Christian activism and the need to "reclaim America". I even pulled one of my own books which was published in 2005. I have pulled several Worldview Weekend DVDs that promoted the reconstructionism or "reclaiming America" message. I have asked my radio and television audience to forgive me if my example caused them to take their focus off our ultimate calling which is the proclamation of the gospel.

I called my friend Kirk Cameron and left him a voice mail in the early summer of 2011 to warn him of the Americanism trap that had ensnared me for a time and I wanted him to learn from my mistakes. If Kirk had returned my call I would have shared some of the information contained in this article concerning America's founding. This article and movie grieves me because Kirk has been a friend for several years and has stayed in my home and traveled and spoken for many Worldview Weekends. In addition to asking him to privately examine this evidence with me, I also invited him to be a guest on my radio program for February 27, 2012 to discuss his film and his appearance on the TV program of Mormon Glenn Beck to discuss his Christian film; but that did not take place.

Therefore, even at the risk up upsetting friends, I must now turn my attention to warning the church of the trap of uniting the things of God with the ungodly things of this world and believing that God will bless our nation when such actions will only hasten God's judgment on our land.


In addition, the trailer of the film reveals an interview with Dr. Os Guinness one of the signers of Evangelicals and Catholics together. Reports are that David Barton was also interviewed for this film. This is troubling as David Barton has declared that Mormon Glenn Beck can wear the title Mormon and be a Christian.


Christians seeking to "reclaim America" or "get back to the founding fathers" will not invite God's blessing by holding up men, institutions, traditions, and symbols that are not honorable to God. Christians will not invite God's favor but God's judgment when they disobey His Word and mix pagan beliefs, a pagan statue, and worldly symbolism with our worship and service to Him. Such activities regardless of how well intentioned is a monumental mistake.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Kirk Cameron's Personal Journey

As John Fea titles it. I've "discovered" a lot about history too. And, like Cameron I've noticed a lot of "rewriting" -- a lot of it from HIS side. I'll be watching his documentary very carefully and reporting on it. Now, we should understand that poisoning the well is a logical fallacy (the genetic fallacy). So if a fervent non-Christian secular leftist like Chris Rodda or PZ Meyers accurately points out an error from David Barton or Kirk Cameron, they accurately point out the error. Though orthodox Christians may have serious issues with the ultimate worldview of the "sources," facts are facts and logic is logic.

But even if evangelical orthodox Christians look for "trustworthy" sources (that is humoring the genetic fallacy that dismisses anything secular leftists say), smart, indeed brilliant, scholarly sources of the orthodox Christian bent whose "biblical" and "fundamentalist" bona fides are beyond reproach dispute Cameron's "Christian America" narrative. Indeed, according to an orthodox biblical perspective, arguably "Christian Americanism" is a heresy not unlike Mormonism. "Christian Americanism" adds a third sacred holy book -- Americanism -- to the Old and New Testament. A "Holy Book" -- like the Book of Mormon -- that purports to perfectly comply with what is written in the OT and NT, but arguably contradicts or inappropriately adds to them.

Numerous valuable scholarly sources written from the perspective of orthodox Christianity exist to keep "Christian Americanism" is check; but I'll name three that I think we should use when "testing" Cameron's argument. In order dated earliest published: First, "The Search For Christian America," by Mark Noll, Nathan Hatch and George Marsden; second, "Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction," by John Fea; and third, "The Religious Beliefs of America's Founders: Reason, Revelation, Revolution," by Gregg Frazer.