« William Treanor on Gouverneur Morris and the Constitution
Michael Ramsey
| Main | Nicholas Kahn-Fogel: Property, Privacy, and Justice Gorsuch's Expansive Fourth Amendment Originalism
Michael Ramsey »

08/09/2019

Mark David Hall on Andrew Seidel on the Founders and Religion
Michael Ramsey

At Law & Liberty, Mark David Hall (Professor of Politics, George Fox University): Unlearning The Founding Myth (reviewing [harshly] Andrew L. Seidel, The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American).  From the introduction:

Andrew L. Seidel, an attorney with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, is an atheist, and an angry one at that. His recent book, The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American, is, in his own words, “not a work of academic history but an argument, an attack. Specifically, it is an attack on Christian nationalism.” There is nothing wrong with attacking something that needs to be attacked, but if an author hopes to convince the unconvinced, he or she needs to use evidence fairly, make persuasive arguments, and perhaps even do these things in a winsome manner. Seidel’s book will make no converts.

Apparently believing that ridicule is a persuasive rhetorical strategy, Seidel offers a steady stream of it throughout his work. Two examples will suffice to make this point. In a discussion of the Torah, he likens the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to a chest-slapping gorilla who issues that First Commandment because he is insecure. Turning to the Gospels, he suggests that the “whole of Christianity may be predicated on Mary’s adultery.” One does not need to be a person of faith to be put off by such depictions, and it is puzzling that a self-described “forward-thinking” press like Sterling would publish them.

(The next section is titled "Misusing Sources," and the essay does not get any more complimentary after that).