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Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americansby David Niose
Synopses & Reviews
A new group of Americans is challenging the reign of the Religious Right
Today, nearly one in five Americans are nonbelievers - a rapidly growing group at a time when traditional Christian churches are dwindling in numbers - and they are flexing their muscles like never before. Yet we still see almost none of them openly serving in elected office, while Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and many others continue to loudly proclaim the myth of America as a Christian nation.
In Nonbeliever Nation, leading secular advocate David Niose explores what this new force in politics means for the unchallenged dominance of the Religious Right. Hitting on all the hot-button issues that divide the country - from gay marriage to education policy to contentious church-state battles - he shows how this movement is gaining traction, and fighting for its rights. Now, Secular Americans—a group comprised not just of atheists and agnostics, but lapsed Catholics, secular Jews, and millions of others who have walked away from religion—are mobilizing and forming groups all over the country (even atheist clubs in Bible-belt high schools) to challenge the exaltation of religion in American politics and public life.
This is a timely and important look at how growing numbers of nonbelievers, disenchanted at how far America has wandered from its secular roots, are emerging to fight for equality and rational public policy.
"America's secular demographic — those who report 'none' when asked for religious identity — is growing faster than any other religious identification, especially among 18-to-29-year-olds. A lawyer and president of the American Humanist Association, Niose explores secularism's extraordinary rise and shows how it offers hope for more rational, inquiry-based public policy and discussion. Examining the roots of secularism, he notes that the U.S. has never been a Christian nation, though modern secular activism only emerged in the last 10 years in opposition to the Religious Right, whose rise, over the past three decades, remained virtually unchecked. Careful to note that it's not Christianity that's problematic, but the alliance of Christian and political conservatism that has attacked climate science, evolution, contraception, and the separation of church and state, he highlights the ways secularism is gaining traction against the fundamentalist agenda through billboards, litigation, and identity politics. Optimistic about the increase in secular activity — the growth of college and high school groups, humanist chaplaincies, secularity as a course of study — he finds that secularity offers the best hope for the future, and he makes a passionately strong, though at times repetitive, case for why secularism is so beneficial for the U.S. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"This excellent book is simultaneously disturbing and reassuring. David Niose lays bare the whole dismal history of how the Religious Right hijacked America and betrayed the secular intentions of the Founding Fathers." —Richard Dawkins
Today, one in five Americans are nonbelievers—a rapidly growing group at a time when traditional Christian churches are dwindling in numbers. Still we see almost none of them openly serving in elected office, while Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and many others continue to loudly proclaim the falsehood of America as a Christian nation. In Nonbeliever Nation, leading secular advocate David Niose calls for nonreligious Americans from all backgrounds to step out of the shadows and signal their opposition to the long-dominant Religious Right. Exploring all the hot-button issues that divide the country—from gay marriage to education policy to contentious church-state battles—he shows how Secular Americans—a group comprised not just of atheists and agnostics, but lapsed Catholics, secular Jews, and millions of others who have walked away from organized religion—are mobilizing and forming groups all over the country (even atheist clubs in Bible-belt high schools) to challenge the exaltation of religion in American politics and public life. This is a timely and important look at a growing demographic that is flexing it's muscles for the first time.
About the Author
David Niose is president of the Secular Coalition for America and an attorney who has litigated on behalf of secular groups and individuals in church-state and equal rights matters. Author of the popular Psychology Today blog "Our Humanity, Naturally," he has been interviewed on national television and radio including Fox News, the Associated Press, The National Journal, the BBC, Thom Hartmanns show, Alan Colmes Radio Show, and many others.
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