Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cheese & The Infidel-Evangelical Alliance

Photo Credit: TIME

Post From Pilgrim:

This is the best article on the early American Baptist and evangelical views I have seen.

These views are often distorted by Falwell and Dobson and Charles Colson, as mentioned in the article.

I was amazed to see such an accurate reading and what I think is good contemporary application.

The book mentioned by George Marsden and Nathan Hatch, the two leading evangelical church historians in America today, is excellent.

Excerpts from Beliefnet, On Belief by Steven Waldman -
A version of this article is also appearing in the Washington Monthly.

Jefferson, Madison & Their Evangelical Pals
Religious freedom resulted from an unlikely alliance: evangelicals and skeptics

Thomas Jefferson stood, dressed in a black suit, in a doorway of the White House on Jan. 1, 1802, watching a bizarre spectacle. Two horses were pulling a dray carrying a 1,235-pound cheese—just for him. Measuring 4 feet in diameter and 17 inches in height, this cheese was the work of 900 cows.

More impressive than the size of the cheese was its eloquence. Painted on the red crust was the inscription: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” The cheese was a gift from religious leaders in western Massachusetts.

It may seem surprising that religious leaders would be praising Jefferson, given that his critics had just months earlier attacked him as an infidel and an atheist. In the 1800 election, John Adams had argued that the francophile Jefferson would destroy America’s Christian heritage just as the French revolutionaries had undermined their own religious legacy. Adams supporters quoted Jefferson’s line that he didn’t care whether someone believed in one god or 20, and they argued that the choice in the election was: “God—and a religious president…[or] Jefferson—and no God.”

But in a modern context, the most remarkable thing about the cheese is that it came from evangelical Christians.

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