Turned off by Howard Dean’s late overtures to religiously-minded voters, Susan Jacoby complains in today’s New York Times that America needs a new history read as one shaped principally by "the secular convictions of the founders." In "One Nation, Under Secularism", exemplars for her revisionist project are none other than that dynamically secular duo of--drum roll, please--Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
As if that weren’t enough, she goes on to argue for "the secularist contribution to later social reform movements" like abolitionism and even the modern Civil Rights Movement! For those interested in this debate over religion’s influence upon or interference with politics, read her article for an instructive lesson on how not to understand American history, from which I cull her closing paragraph:
Today, many voters, of many religious beliefs, might well be receptive to a candidate who forthrightly declares that his vision of social justice will be determined by the "plain, physical facts of the case" on humanity’s [NB: not "God’s"] green and fragile earth. But that would take an inspirational leader who glories in the nation’s secular heritage and is not afraid to say so.