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Happy July 4th: But Was the American Founding a Religious Event?

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There are many reasons to question the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom,” not least its failure to capture the imagination of Catholics, which may have something to do with its unfortunate name. But, surely, the greatest problem is that it feeds a trend in Americans’ understanding of our nations’ founding, an effort to baptize the founding. In short, it dabbles in the tropes, and more than the tropes, of Americanism.

The Hinge of Fate

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History is the interplay of large, tectonic forces – demographic, social, cultural, economic, political – with discrete human actors. As an academic discipline, history has come to better appreciate those tectonic forces, and how they shape events and the “great man” approach to history has faded from the landscape. This change is welcome to be sure not least because it is true.

The Hobby Lobby Decision

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The Hobby Lobby decision was greeted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and others as a great victory for religious freedom, a defeat for the forces of secularism in the “war on religion.” Women’s groups filled email boxes across the land with fundraising appeals, adding the Hobby Lobby decision to their list of grievances in the purported “war on women.” But, the truth be told, the Supreme Court’s decision reflects the muddled quality of these supposed “wars,” does little to assuage them, and the reactions all-around indi

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In This Issue

July 4-17, 2014

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