Jackie Gingrich Cushman’s new book The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own, which highlights the great documents and speeches in our nation’s history, shows the role of faith in the public lives of American leaders.
“When you look through these documents and speeches, there’s a theme of faith. There’s a theme of faithfulness. And that faithfulness gives people optimism because it lets you believe in something greater than yourself,” Cushman said about The Essential American.
An author and nationally syndicated columnist, Cushman writes an introduction to each speech and document to explain the historical context and the enduring lessons about America.
I asked Cushman how these documents illuminate how our Founding Fathers viewed the concept of separation of church and state.
“What we have is freedom of religion in our country. We don’t have a state religion. And that was very deliberate because we had a state religion in England. But but we don’t have freedom from religion, which is very different,” Cushman responded.
The daughter of the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Cushman said that the words of the great American leaders in The Essential American show that, “our core character as a nation comes from from this optimism, this belief in God, that we are just part of a brighter future.”