Friday, June 16, 2006

Our Forgotten Founder

Roger Kimball of the New Criterion has written a nice review essay on the Rev. John Witherspoon, a neglected force in the founding of the American experiment. Witherspoon also figures prominently in Michael Novak's study of the religious and metaphysical roots of the American experiment, On Two Wings. Kimball says just about the nicest thing you can say about an American figure: "He radiated what his contemporaries called 'presence': a personal dignity and charisma that transcended ideological differences and commanded respect." The only comparable figure I can think of in our own time is Billy Graham, who was a friend to every president no matter the party.