First Freedom First: A Citizen's Guide to Protecting Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State

Overview

The United States is the most religiously diverse nation in the world, due in large part to the clauses of the First Amendment that guarantee freedom for and from religion. But as we debate displaying Christmas trees at city hall and the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, we must ask: in what other ways is our religious liberty being compromised.

In First Freedom First, with clear language and recognizable examples, two of the most trusted voices on church-state separation ...

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First Freedom First: A Citizens' Guide to Protecting Religious Liberty and the Seperation of Church and State

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Overview

The United States is the most religiously diverse nation in the world, due in large part to the clauses of the First Amendment that guarantee freedom for and from religion. But as we debate displaying Christmas trees at city hall and the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, we must ask: in what other ways is our religious liberty being compromised.

In First Freedom First, with clear language and recognizable examples, two of the most trusted voices on church-state separation address head-on the many areas where religion and politics overlap, with consequences for all Americans. This book is for anyone concerned about such issues as:

* Churches hosting politicians and insisting they give testaments of their faith
* Science teachers questioning the theory of evolution in their public school classrooms
* Public religious debates on private issues involving end-of-life decisions and reproductive choices
* Federal funding for religious organizations, including those that discriminate openly

With religion a constant presence in political discussions, First Freedom First offers practical and easy ways to remind our leaders and our community of the importance of keeping religion and politics separate, for the sake of both institutions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a book for every American. Gaddy and Lynn have provided us with a volume that informs and challenges, as well as inspires and guides us, on issues of vital importance—our founding fathers' vision for religious liberty and their constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state."—Walter Cronkite

"If we forsake our freedom of religion, it's not the kind of thing we can ask nicely to have returned to us when we realize later how much we need it. First Freedom First explains why we ought to avoid this mistake, but, crucially, also how to avoid it—how respect for the First Amendment can unify even the most disparate elements in America's spiritual life."—Rachel Maddow, Air America Radio

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807042243
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 4/15/2008
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,089,539
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy is the president of The Interfaith Alliance and host of State of Belief, a national radio show. He resides in Monroe, Louisiana, and Alexandria, Virginia. Rev. Barry W. Lynn is the executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State; he lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland. First Freedom First is a partnership of their two organizations..
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Table of Contents

Preface: A Personal Perspective: The Freedom That Makes America America   Andrew S. Grove     vii
Introduction   C. Welton Gaddy     xv
A Religious-Political Perspective   C. Welton Gaddy     1
Religious Freedom and the Success or Failure of Democracy     3
The Historical Foundation of Religious Freedom     7
What Now? A Strategy for Strengthening Religious Liberty     28
Strengthening Democracy: Confronting Challenges and Seizing Opportunities     54
Protecting Religion: Integrity and Responsibility     65
Decision Time: A U-turn or Full Speed Straight Ahead     72
A Legal Perspective   Barry W. Lynn     75
A Brief History of Constitutional Law on Religion     77
Current Religious Freedom Issues     107
Resources: A Call to Action
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Our First Freedom     175
Twenty Reasons Why You Need to Protect Religious Liberty and Separation of the Institutions of Religion and Government     179
Ten Things You Can Do to Protect Religious Liberty in Your Community, State, and Nation     184
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