There have been two “Great Awakenings” in America since the signing of our Constitution in 1787, a document with only one mention of religion until December 1791 when the first ten amendments were approved and the first of these declared: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Even the passage in the body of the Constitution — in Article VI — contains “negative” wording, much like the First Amendment: “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification for any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
There have been three pronounced Christian religious revival periods in America’s colonial and national periods, called by historians “The First Great Awakening” (circa 1730 – 1775), “The Second Great Awakening” (circa 1790 – 1840), and the Third Great Awakening (circa 1850 – 1920). Some religious historians and others claim a Fourth period, somewhere in the middle of the 20th Century. If this latter group is onto something, they were a bit premature. The Fourth is happening today and it’s an estimate at best when it started but nothing but certain that it is in full swing today in 2021.
This fourth religious revival is in part responsible for some of the extremists in today’s U.S. Armed Forces — active duty, National Guard, and Reserves — perhaps even for one or two of those at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
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