One of the blogs that I frequently check out as a student of American church history is the the Religion in American History Blog. Today, there was a really interesting interview regarding the religious beliefs of Patrick Henry and other founding fathers.
Baylor University professor Thomas Kidd wrote a book on Henry, and is the interviewee in this particular post. He brings up a very important point that people often ignore. Many people today look at the founding fathers as men of great faith and claim that most of them were fervent evangelicals. This is simply not the case. The other extreme is false, as well. People on the other side of the argument try to claim that almost all of the founding fathers were deists like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Both sides of the argument have ulterior motives in trying to sell their position, but they are both wrong at the end of the day. It is safe to say that just about all of the founders were profoundly impacted by the Judeo-Christian belief system, but actual beliefs varied widely. For a previous post on this part of American church history, look here.
One important thing to point out about these people with widely differing beliefs is that they nevertheless came together for a common cause. Then again, it was only a few years before the niceties wore off. We haven't come very far in that regard over 200 years.