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The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law…
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The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize…

by Stephen L. Carter

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674221,944 (3.63)3
America, it is often noted, is the most religious nation in the Western world. At the same time, many political leaders and opinionmakers have come to view any religious element in public discourse as a tool of the radical right for reshaping American society. In our sensible zeal to keep religion from dominating our politics, Stephen L. Carter argues, we have constructed political and legal cultures that force the religiously devout to act as if their faith doesn't really matter. This book explains how we can preserve the vital separation of church and state while embracing rather than trivializing the faith of millions of citizens or treating religious believers with disdain. What makes Carter's work so intriguing is that he uses liberal means to arrive at what are often considered conservative ends. Carter explains how preserving a special role for religious communities can strengthen our democracy. The book recovers the long tradition of liberal religious witness (for example, the antislavery, antisegregation, and Vietnam-era antiwar movements), and argues that the problem with the 1992 Republican convention was not the fact of open religious advocacy but the political positions being advocated. A vast array of issues appear in a new light: everything from religion in schools to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's mass weddings, from abortion to the Branch Davidians.… (more)

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The simplest way to sum of The Culture of Disbelief is this, it is the argument that society forces religious devotion to be kept private and should not to be displayed openly. Society discourages us from voicing a religious choice. Right from the beginning you are hit with a sentence that brings it all to light: "More and more, our culture seems to take the position that believing deeply in the tenets of one's faith represents a kind of mystical irrationality, something that thoughtful, public spirited American citizens would do better to avoid" (p 7). ( )
  SeriousGrace | Oct 15, 2014 |
For the religiously devout citizen, faith may be so intertwined with personality that it is impossible to tell when one is acting, or not acting, from religious motive.
  kijabi1 | Jan 2, 2012 |
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