As I noted in my Monthly piece, the one group that would surely oppose the approach taken by many 21st evangelicals is 18th century evangelicals. They were eloquent and fierce supporters of separation of church and state. I know many people will read that Monthly article as further evidence of the hypocrisy of modern evangelical conservatives.

But I would also like to point out that the history also challenges the liberal notion that religious Christians are inherently backwards, regressive and opponents of liberty. The evangelicals were the true religious freedom fighters of that era and names like Isaac Bachus and John Leland ? Baptists who fought for separation of church and state ? should be counted among the great American heroes.

Steve Waldman

Steven Waldman, a Washington Monthly contributing editor, is the co-founder of Report for America, a national service program for journalists.