The Restoration of America

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Declaration_independenceBack in October, Franklin Graham devoted his column in the magazine of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to arguing that evangelicals can vote for a Mormon, and that they should do so in forthcoming president election. In doing so, he signaled a deep truth about American politics.

In recent days, President Clinton said that President Clinton said that President Obama “has a plan to rebuild America from the ground up.” But God-fearing Americans have no desire to see America rebuilt–but rather restored. To “rebuild it” would be to create a new nation without God or perhaps under many gods. This was never the intent of those who shed their blood for the freedom to worship as “one nation under God.”

I pray that all Christians and God-fearing Americans will put aside labels and vote for principles–God’s principles–that for many years have resulted in His blessing upon our nation.

Since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the restoration of America has been a central element of Republican Party ideology, finding expression in everything from constitutional originalism to Tea Party costuming. In 2012, virtually every GOP presidential aspirant promised restoration; the 2012 Republican Platform is suffused with the idea.

What Graham did was point to its religious character. In the latest issue of Religion in the News, I make the case that contemporary Republican restorationism derives from the restorationist ideology of both evangelicalism and Mormonism–and that the increased identification of both religious traditions with the GOP over the past 30 years cannot otherwise be explained.

Book to come. Comments invited.