A Nation Under God?: The ACLU and Religion in American Politics

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Overview

A Nation Under God? raises the question of why the ACLU relentlessly attacks public expressions of mainstream religious faith. The answer, according to the book's argument, is that the work of the ACLU is informed by a larger political project-modern liberalism-to transform American government and society into an administrative-welfare state. Modern liberalism requires two decisive changes in American politics if it is to be successful: First, the government of limited powers mandated by the Constitution must become a government of unlimited powers and scope. Second, free, self-reliant, and independent citizens must become dependent on and understand themselves as subservient to government. The ACLU's drive to remove religion and morality from the public square advances both goals. Limited, constitutional government rests on the idea that rights come from God; the power of government should be limited commensurate to the limited purpose of legitimate government: to protect our natural, God-given rights. With God removed from the public square, it becomes much easier politically to argue that government is the source of rights, and that every expansion of government power is tantamount to an expansion of rights. Further, self-reliant citizens are not in need of and are unlikely to support large government welfare programs. But self-reliancy is largely a function of self-control and moral responsibility. Immoral and irresponsible citizens are incapable of providing for themselves and their families. Driving God and morality out of the public square serves to break down public morality, which in turn creates classes of citizens who are dependent on government assistance and regulation. Through endless litigation against public expressions of religion and morality and its distorted interpretations of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses, the ACLU reveals its real agenda and its real allegiance, which is not to the Constitution or Bill of Rights, but to a radical liberal ideology that seeks nothing less than the remaking of American government and society. This book is published in cooperation with The Claremont Institute.

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Editorial Reviews

William A. Rusher
Perhaps no organization has done more to pervert the public understanding of civil liberties and the meaning of the Constitution than the ACLU. Krannawitter and Palm, experts in the political philosophy of the American Founding, expose the real agenda of the ACLU. They explain how the ACLU's relentless assaults on public expressions of traditional religious faith are part of its larger political purpose, a purpose wholly inconsistent with those who framed and ratified our Constitution. A Nation Under God? provides Americans with the intellectual and rhetorical tools to refute the ACLU and reclaim the Constitutional government that is rightfully ours.
Hugh Hewitt
If you want to know why school teachers and principals offer thoroughly secularized Christmas programs for fear of ACLU lawsuits, if you don't understand why the ACLU sues local governments over nativity scene displays yet defends the rights of atheists and Satanists, if you wonder why an organization supposedly dedicated to the Bill of Rights has gone to such extremes to redefine it, read A Nation Under God? The ACLU and Religion in American Politics.
Laura R. Olson
This book should be viewed as a solid contribution to the debate about the future of church-state jurisprudence in the United States.
William J. Bennett
The ACLU has often been at legal and intellectual war with the First Amendment and our Founders' framing of it. That war is joined by Professors Thomas Krannawitter and Daniel Palm who show us where and why the ACLU is wrong. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to understand the compelling debate about religion and the public square.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Thomas L. Krannawitter is a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute and an assistant professor of political science at Hillsdale College. He is the author of An Introduction to Citizenship for New Americans (2002). Daniel C. Palm is a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute and an associate professor of political science at Azusa Pacific University. He is the editor of On Faith and Free Government (1997).

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The ACLU and Religion in American Politics Today Chapter 2 Religion and Politics in Historical Perspective Chapter 3 Religion and the Moral Conditions of Freedom in the Ameican Founding Chapter 4 The Progressive Rejection of the Principles of the American Founding Chapter 5 The Birth of the ACLU and the Rise of Modern Liberalism Chapter 6 Building the Wall of Separation: THe ACLU Takes Religion to Court Chapter 7 Immoral Religion? The ACLU's Select Defense of Religious Free Exercise Chapter 8 Conclusion Chapter 9 Appendix: Documents from the Founding on Religion and Religious Liberty

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