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Download Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America Audiobook, by Steven Waldman Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (316 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steven Waldman Narrator: David Colacci Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2008 ISBN: 9781482977523
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The culture wars have distorted the dramatic story of how Americans came to worship freely. Many activists on the right maintain that the United States was founded as a “Christian nation.” Many on the left contend that the Founders were secular or deist and that the First Amendment was designed to boldly separate church and state throughout the land. None of these claims are true, argues Beliefnet.com editor in chief Steven Waldman.

With refreshing objectivity, Waldman narrates the real story of how our nation’s founders forged a new approach to religious liberty, a revolutionary formula that promoted faith—by leaving it alone. The spiritual custody battle over the Founding Fathers and the role of religion in America continues today. Waldman provocatively argues that neither side in the culture war has accurately depicted the true origins of the First Amendment. He sets the record straight, revealing the real history of religious freedom to be dramatic, unexpected, paradoxical, and inspiring.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Steven Waldman, a veteran journalist and cofounder of Beliefnet.com, a religious web site, surveys the convictions and legacy of the founders clearly and fairly, with a light touch but a careful eye.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Enlightening…wise and engaging on many levels…Waldman finds a middle ground between those who think of the Founders as apostles in powdered wigs and those who assert, equally inaccurately, that the Founders believed religion had no place in politics.”

    Newsweek

  • “[An] engaging, well-researched study…Waldman produces a thoughtful and remarkably balanced account of religion in early America.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Well-wrought, well-written, and well-reasoned—a welcome infusion of calm good sense into a perennially controversial and relevant subject.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrian Carpio | 2/16/2014

    " I use this book in discussing faith and the founding of the country with my middle school history classes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tony | 1/28/2014

    " Good backgrounder on faith in America. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 1/7/2014

    " This book should be required reading in all U.S. high schools. Everybody seems to think they know exactly what the Founders had in mind when it comes to relations between Church and State, but you may find out different if you read this book. Waldman examines the lives, philosophies, and religious beliefs of the Founders most responsible for the Constitution and the First Amendment. What I learned is that both today's Right and Left Wings get some of it correct, but also misunderstand a lot. This is a clear-headed book that doesn't let ideologues get away with pointing fingers at opponents and claiming they're entirely wrong, and I like that a lot! :-D "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 12/17/2013

    " I have been eagerly waiting to read this book since I heard the author Steve Waldman give an interview on "Fresh Air" on NPR. I've only read the introduction and I'm already exicted to read the rest. For anyone who's disillusioned with the Conservative Christian Right in today's politics, I'd highly recommend reading this book. The author takes us back to what the "Founding Fathers" actually meant and their own spiritual beliefs that influenced their decision-making. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Srochat | 12/1/2013

    " A worthwile look at the history of "freedom of religion" in early America, and what it meant to some of the key Founding Fathers. Waldman argues that their intent is often misunderstood by both evangelicals and secularists, in part because the Founders didn't always agree themselves. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 9/23/2013

    " This was a very interesting, very readable look at some of the Founding Fathers' religious view. The take home lesson is that their views were varied, and changed over time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mscout | 9/8/2013

    " Really well-researched look into the Constitutional origins of separation of church and state that goes much further back, looking at the evolution of the thinking of each of the Founding Fathers' attitudes towards issue. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ted | 1/23/2013

    " Somewhat simplistic snapshots of complex beliefs of our founders; still a worthy attempt. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Abdo | 10/29/2011

    " The left and right fight over the founding fathers. This is a great discussion about how neither have it right. Very interesting read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cyndie | 6/5/2011

    " This book details the early legislative struggle for religious freedom in the US. I found it informative and recommend it if you are interested in the issue of separation of church and state. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 5/26/2011

    " Specifically interesting on the topic of religious freedom, but generally interesting with regard to constitutional interpretation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 5/1/2011

    " A thoughtful examination of what the Founding Fathers actually thought about the separation of church and state - and a reminder that they were politicians who had to make compromises, not divinely inspired sages handing down perfect wisdom from a mountaintop... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/28/2011

    " The left and right fight over the founding fathers. This is a great discussion about how neither have it right. Very interesting read.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca | 2/25/2011

    " Refreshingly objective. The most excellent discussion I have ever read on the subject of the faith of our founding fathers and how Americans came to worship freely. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roz | 2/23/2011

    " A very good discussion on the separation of church and state - wonderful!
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 12/28/2010

    " This book is fine. However, it should be about 4 times as long. As it is, this book is a nice survey of the subject. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 11/12/2010

    " Informative information but not a fast read. A book to study and think as you read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 11/10/2010

    " Specifically interesting on the topic of religious freedom, but generally interesting with regard to constitutional interpretation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrian | 5/29/2010

    " I use this book in discussing faith and the founding of the country with my middle school history classes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bauer | 4/11/2010

    " Outstanding! Best book I have read on complicated issues surrounding US Colonial History, Christian influence and religious expression in a pluralistic society. We most likely read it again "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 1/15/2010

    " An interesting review of the religious beliefs of Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison etc. and the importance of religious freedom and religious pluralism to the early leaders. Also a reminder of the terrible religious intolerance that our country was founded on. "

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About the Narrator

David Colacci is an actor and director who has directed and performed in prominent theaters nationwide. His credits include roles from Shakespeare to Albee, as well as extensive work on new plays. As a narrator, he has recorded more than one hundred audiobooks, earned eight AudioFile Earphones Awards, and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His narration of The Suspect was named one of AudioFile’s Best Audiobooks of 2007.