Berlinerblau passionately defends the virtues of secularism, reminds us what it is and what it can protect, and urges us to mobilize around its cause, which is for all Americans to continue to enjoy freedom for--and from--religion. This is an urgent wake-up call for progressives in and out of all faiths.
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Publish Date:||Sep 2012|
|Number of Pages:||306|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||1.19|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||5.9 x 1.3 x 9.1|
|Introduction: Is Secularism Dead?|
|What Secularism Is and Isn't|
|What Is Secularism? (The Basic Package)|
|Were the Founders Secular?|
|Does Secularism Equal Total Separation of Church and State?|
|Does Secularism Equal Atheism?|
|How Not to Be Secular|
|The Very Peculiar "Rise" and Fall of American Secularism|
|The "Rise" of American Secularism and the Secularish|
|The Fall of American Secularism|
|Are Democrats Secularists?|
|The Christian Nation and the GOP|
|Reviving American Secularism|
|Who Could Be a Secularist?|
|How to Be Secularish (In Praise of "Secular Jews" and "Cafeteria Catholics")|
|Tough Love for American Secularism|
Separation of church and state has fallen on hard times, not only due to well--orchestrated "Revivalist" campaigns to return America to God, but also to secularists allowing anti-theists and strict separationist's to control the secularist message. Writing for general readers, Berlinerblau (director, Program for Jewish Civilization, Georgetown Univ.; The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously) gives a concise history, and description of the contours, of secular political philosophy. He advocates a pragmatic approach to helping restore secularism's fortunes, an approach that stresses the need to broaden secularism's appeal and engage "secularish" (religious but open-minded) allies.
Verdict: It is refreshing to read a secularist who understands religion and religious people. Berlinerblau is fair to his Revivalist opponents, and concedes (sometimes too much) the force of their arguments. Berlinerblau's pragmatic approach and fair tone keep his book from being a rousing call to arms, but he is correct that militancy alienates many potential allies. Martha Nussbaum's Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America's Tradition of Religious Equality is recommended for those seeking more academic heft.
-Steve Young, McHenry Cty. Coll., Crystal Lake, IL
(c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
—Randall Balmer, author of Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts Faith and Threatens America
Weary of religious conservatives urging “defense of marriage” and atheist polemicists decrying the crimes of religion? Sick of pundits who want only to recast American life in their own image? Americans are stuck in an all-or-nothing landscape for religion in public life. What are reasonable citizens to do?
Seen as godless by the religious and weak by the atheists, secularism mostly has been misunderstood. In How to Be Secular, Berlinerblau argues for a return to America’s hard-won secular tradition; the best way to protect religious diversity and freedom lies in keeping an eye on the encroachment of each into the other.
Berlinerblau passionately defends the virtues of secularism, reminds us what it is and what it can protect, and urges us to mobilize around its cause, which is for all Americans to continue to enjoy freedom for—and from—religion. This is an urgent wake-up call for progressives in and out of all faiths.
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