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Our Non-Christian Nation: How Atheists, Satanists, Pagans, and Others Are… (2019)

by Jay Wexler

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Less and less Christian demographically, America is now home to an ever-larger number of people who say they identify with no religion at all. These non-Christians have increasingly been demanding their full participation in public life, bringing their arguments all the way to the Supreme Court. The law is on their side, but that doesn't mean that their attempts are not met with suspicion or outright hostility. In Our Non-Christian Nation, Jay Wexler travels the country to engage the non-Christians who have called on us to maintain our ideals of inclusivity and diversity. With his characteristic sympathy and humor, he introduces us to the Summum and their Seven Aphorisms, a Wiccan priestess who would deck her City Hall with a pagan holiday wreath, and other determined champions of free religious expression. As Wexler reminds us, anyone who cares about pluralism, equality, and fairness should support a public square filled with a variety of religious and nonreligious voices. The stakes are nothing short of long-term social peace.… (more)
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An easy to read discussion of Establishment Clause cases, and ways in which minority religions have been using the opportunities opened by pro-Christian decisions to leave their own mark on the public square. The author visited with some of the quirky religions (and non-religions) that have begun putting up their own displays and handing out their own material in the public square next to the ubiquitous Christians. He proposes this "cacophony" as he calls it to the domination of the public forum by one religion only, and urges us to look at this as opportunity. He does detail many cases in which this didn't work out. Some of these cases actually had the best outcome - removing religion from the public offices and schools - but some of them had the effect of just sort of silencing the other voices while giving lip service to inclusion. The violence and grief many have suffered for their efforts was downplayed a bit too much for me; I think with his thesis, that the noisy public square is a good thing, is ill served by these cases, and they deserve a better airing. Also no discussion of how much trouble can be stirred up by all this extraneous activity creating distractions from the work that needs to be done in these public institutions, and that the mere act of balancing so many competing claims cuts into the ability of the governmental offices to function. How much I don't know, since I have not seen any studies. Overall, a bit superficial in places, but a worthy book. ( )
  Devil_llama | Nov 18, 2020 |
This is a entertaining, informative read. It presented complex information in an easy to understand way, and was quite funny. If you believe in the seperation of church and state, and in freedom of religion, you should read this book. ( )
  queenofthebobs | Oct 31, 2019 |
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Less and less Christian demographically, America is now home to an ever-larger number of people who say they identify with no religion at all. These non-Christians have increasingly been demanding their full participation in public life, bringing their arguments all the way to the Supreme Court. The law is on their side, but that doesn't mean that their attempts are not met with suspicion or outright hostility. In Our Non-Christian Nation, Jay Wexler travels the country to engage the non-Christians who have called on us to maintain our ideals of inclusivity and diversity. With his characteristic sympathy and humor, he introduces us to the Summum and their Seven Aphorisms, a Wiccan priestess who would deck her City Hall with a pagan holiday wreath, and other determined champions of free religious expression. As Wexler reminds us, anyone who cares about pluralism, equality, and fairness should support a public square filled with a variety of religious and nonreligious voices. The stakes are nothing short of long-term social peace.

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