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Posted July 5, 2009
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A good book for anyone interested in Church and State issues.
I agreed with his overall points that the wall of separation exists for the protection of religion, not the state, and that while religion should have a role in public policy debates, religions should be wary of immersing themselves in electoral politics lest they lose their prophetic voice. His analysis ultimately falters though and he relies more on anecdotes to make points than critical analysis. His solution to religion in politics is as elegant as it is simplistic: Accommodation. His theory groups all religions together and glosses over the vast differences between them as well as between non-religion. When you start applying his ideas to real world situations his theory collapses like a house of cards. "Strict Neutrality" is the legal standard not because it is 'right' in some empirical sense, but because it has historically been the only workable approach to the thorny church/state issues. He also makes the incredibly stupid assumption that science presents any kind of religious worldview (as anti-religion) and naively confuses Philosophical Naturalism with Materialistic Naturalism. With this faulty foundation some of his statements about religion in schools becomes absurd very quickly. Overall though, it was a decent book that had many thought provoking insights on a very complex issue.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2002
Doesn't understand the full reality...
This book will certainly add fuel to the fire, and it does raise some good points. But I think Carter does not fully understand the reality of the conflict. He describes one side as those who believe religion per se shold not be considered at all in determining public policy, and the other side as those who believe religious principles should be at the heart of public policy. He submits that 'separation of church and state' should not be envoked to bar religious values and principles from public policy. The truth, however, is that separation of church and state is NOT envoked to bar REAL religious values and principles. It is used merely to try to stop the Christian Right from further imposing their extremist beliefs upon all of us. This is explained very well in a book titled Real Prophecy Unveiled, which thoroughly exposes the hypocrisy of the Christian Right. It gets to the reality of the conflict, and it suggests how we can put an end to it and come together following values and principles held by good people of all faiths.
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