So my problem with much of the political debate over the role of religion in public life, especially when that debate invokes history, is that the various parties are simply enacting the culture wars rather than using history to frame their arguments in a meaningful way. As a result, the history is bad on all sides. Liberals are too tendentious when they claim a separation of church and state in the past. To them, I say that Christianity was so thoroughly entwined with law and government that Protestant Christianity had significant power through its connection with the state. And I have to say that when conservatives claim that the United States was a Christian nation in the past, in a certain sense they are right. But I also have a problem with religious conservatives, because the past was not the Christian utopia that some of them claim. Christians relied upon law to protect their religion. And what law involves, above all else, is the coercive capacities of the state. So if we say that the United States was a Christian nation in the past, we must also say that it was a coercively Christian nation.