The Huffington Post has published the second of a 4-part series by Richard Hughes based on his book Christian America and the Kingdom of God.
“The Second Great Awakening ran for roughly 30 years, from 1800 to 1830, and by the time it had run its course, it had thoroughly protestantized the American nation. Now, Catholics, Jews, Muslims and members of other non-Christian religions — not to mention atheists — were widely regarded as distinctly second-class citizens. In fact, many now viewed allegiance to the Christian faith, embodied in a Protestant denomination (it made no difference which one) as part and parcel of American patriotism.
But to its great credit, the Second Great Awakening also launched a variety of significant social reforms. They clearly based those reforms on the biblical vision of the kingdom of God, a vision that enjoined feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and standing in solidarity with people who were marginalized and oppressed.”
Richard T. Hughes is Senior Fellow in the Ernest L. Boyer Center and Distinguished Professor of Religion at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, and author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Myths America Lives By and How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind.