Denis Lacorne identifies two competing narratives defining the American identity. Associated with the Founding Fathers and reflected in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers, an essentially secular line of reasoning is predicated on separating religion from politics to preserve political freedom from overpowering church interests. The second narrative is based on the premise that religion is a fundamental part of the American identity and emphasizes the importance of New England Puritans in the original settlement of America. Lacorne examines the role of religion in the making of these narratives and how key historians, philosophers, novelists, and intellectuals situate religion in American politics. New material addresses the role of religion in the 2012 United States presidential election.
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