" . . . Form and Limit belong to the Good."
Liberals in the United States have lately gathered around the standard of pluralism in the hope of stalling the movement toward private Christian education. Yet Americans, historically indifferent to such objections, have been the last to censure a church—especially a reformed or an evangelical one—for its forays into schooling. Essentially we are a religious people. Our traditions, symbols, and character carry the stamp of the pulpiteer. Listen to almost any group of Americans conversing on a topic that requires taking sides (and, given the American character, few topics don't), and you will pick up first the high moral tone, second a trace of righteous anger, and finally the hammer of condemnation. When an American thinks he's right, he stands on the mountaintop with a thunderbolt in hand and challenges all comers. Such an attitude must perplex and irritate foreigners—notably Western Europeans—just as the lack of it in them galls us; yet an American without it would hardly seem worthy of the name.
We are all preachers at heart The New Englander finds himself alternately haunted and inspired by images of the glorious City on the Hill; and the Southerner surely sees nothing strange in the offshoot of the Great Awakening, the revival. But whether we trace our origins to Plymouth...