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New York, NY – March 11, 2008 – Beliefnet, the leading online community for faith and spirituality, unveiled today its Founding Faith Archives, an online repository which brings together for the first time in one location, hundreds of historical documents and seminal writings by and on the Founding Fathers, separation of church and state, and the birth of religious freedom in the United States. Featured in the archive is the first complete online version of “The Jefferson Bible” in which people can see Jefferson’s edits as well as his key deletions. The indexed and searchable archive is available at http://www.beliefnet.com/foundingfaith/.
The Founding Faith Archive grew out of Beliefnet Editor-in-Chief, Steven Waldman’s research for his new book, FOUNDING FAITH: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America, published and released today by Random House. The archive reflects the emphasis of Waldman’s book, which explores the religious beliefs of America’s Founding Fathers: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and vividly describes how America came to worship freely. Read more about the book here.
“Religious freedom is one of America’s greatest achievements,” said Waldman, Editor-in-Chief of Beliefnet. “Activists routinely misquote the Founding Fathers and distort their true views on this profoundly important topic. Now you can read the documents yourself and see how Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Washington and the other Founders wrestled with these difficult topics.”
The Founding Faith Archive is searchable by Topic or Author and includes, in addition to “The Jefferson Bible,” moving personal letters, dissertations, prayers and devotionals, transcripts from the Constitutional Convention and more—literally hundreds of documents—that may now be conveniently accessed online at Beliefnet.com. A “Related Topics” button links to documents touching on similar themes such as God’s Support for America; Greatness of Christianity; Declaration of Independence; Corruption of Christianity; Science and Religion, Nature of God and the Afterlife.
Highlighted selections from the archive include:
- Franklin’s Request for Prayer at the Constitutional Convention
- Madison’s Argument for Entire Abstinence of State from Religion
- George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation
- Jefferson’s Stirring Condolence Letter to John Adams at Abigail’s Death
- Memorial and Remonstrance for Religious Freedom
- Congressional Prayer Proclamation about America’s Punishment
- Jefferson’s Controversial Letter to the Danbury Baptists
- Adams on the “Brightness and Glory” of Christianity
- Jefferson to Adams, Mocking the Virgin Birth
- Franklin’s edit of the Lord’s Prayer
- Washington’s Praise of Free Masons
- The Jefferson Bible
The Founding Faith Archive area also serves as the doorway for other new features related to the Founding Fathers, separation of church and state, and religious freedom, including: a Founding Faith Book Group, hosted by Waldman, a gallery of paintings and illustrations depicting key moments in the history of religious freedom, a quiz on Founding Father religious trivia, and a new blog by Waldman on church-state issues, politics and other topics and themes in the history of religious freedom.
Excerpts from FOUNDING FAITH and a host of additional features will round out an ongoing celebration of the birth of American religious freedom at Beliefnet.com. The book is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and Random House.
Beliefnet, winner of the 2007 National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online, is the largest online community for spirituality and inspiration. Its mission is to help people find and walk a spiritual path that instills comfort, hope, clarity, strength and happiness for people who are exploring their own faith or curious about other spiritual traditions. Beliefnet offers a wide variety of resources including social networking tools, articles, quizzes, devotionals, sacred text searches, photo galleries and intimate interviews with noted politicians, celebrities and spiritual leaders. Beliefnet has approximately three million unique visitors each month and a daily email newsletter readership of nearly 11 million subscribers. The company, which is a subsidiary of Fox Digital Media and Fox Entertainment Group, is not affiliated with any spiritual organization or movement, and has partnerships with TIME magazine, Yahoo! and Chicken Soup for the Soul.