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God's Name in Vain: The Wrongs and Rights of Religion in Politicsby Stephen Carter
Synopses & Reviews
America faces a crisis of legitimacy. It's a crisis that dramatizes the separation of church and state. A crisis that, in the messages sent by our culture, marginalizes religion as a relatively unimportant human activity that plays an unimportant role in the national debate. Because the nation chooses to secularize the principal points of contact between government and people (schools, taxes, marriage, etc.), it has persuaded many religious people that a culture war has been declared. Stephen Carter, in this sequel to his best-selling Culture of Disbelief, argues that American politics is unimaginable without America's religious voice. Using contemporary and historical examples, from abolitionist sermons to presidential candidates' confessions, he illustrates ways in which religion and politics do and do not mesh well and ways in which spiritual perspectives might make vital contributions to our national debates. Yet, while Carter is eager to defend the political involvement of the religious from its critics, he also warns us of the importance of setting some sensible limits so that religious institutions do not allow themselves to be seduced, by the lure of temporal power, into a kind of passionate, dysfunctional, and even immoral love affair. Lastly, he offers strong examples of principled and prophetic religious activism for those who choose their God before their country.
Book News Annotation:
Carter, a Yale law professor and author of works including The Culture of Disbelief and Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby, in his introduction writes, "This book argues two interrelated theses: First, that there is nothing wrong, and much right, with the robust participation of the nation's many religious voices in debates over matters of public moment. Second, that religions—although not democracy<-- >will always lose their best, most spiritual selves when they choose to be involved in the partisan, electoral side of American politics." The book sets out in part to address Carter's fear that many Americans have lost sight of "the proper relationship" between religion and politics.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In this sequel to his bestselling "Culture of Disbelief", Carter redefines the role of religion in cultural politics--illustrating through contemporary and historical examples why politics and religion do not mesh well.
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