The Reality of Religious Pluralism in the U.S., Part 2

This second installment of the three-part series on religious pluralism in the United States and conservative Christian attempts at hagiographical historical revisionism to edit this reality out of public awareness deals with an episode that occurred during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 when Benjamin Franklin arose at a moment of impasse and proposed that the body unite in prayer and supplication to God. The real proposal went nowhere, as corroborated in Franklin’s own journal and the official notes of the Convention. However, a variant narrative, with a more pious bias and an entirely opposite outcome, surfaced in an 1825 letter that enjoyed wide circulation in influential periodicals and has been since picked up by ultra-conservative Christian writers intent on misrepresenting America’s religious heritage. This piece provides a deep dive into the sources and motivations behind the controversy. Take the plunge here.

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