Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars

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Overview

After ten years spent riddling over the intricacies of church/state law from the ivory tower, law professor Jay Wexler decided it was high time to hit the road to learn what really happened in some of the most controversial Supreme Court cases involving this hot-button issue. In Holy Hullabaloos, he takes us along for the ride, crossing the country to meet the people and visit the places responsible for landmark decisions in recent judicial history, from a high school football field where fans once recited prayers before kickoff to a Santeria church notorious for animal sacrifice, from a publicly funded Muslim school to a creationist museum. Wexler's no-holds-barred approach to investigating famous church/state brouhahas is as funny as it is informative.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
I've read a lot of entertaining travelogues and informative studies of Supreme Court cases, but never at the same time. Think Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation meets Peter Irons' The Courage of Their Convictions. Thank God for Holy Hullabaloos.—Pamela Karlan, founding director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford University

"Religion and politics are the two things we are not supposed to talk about. Jay Wexler does—with deadpan humor. We need to tone down the anger over these issues, and he shows the way."—Alan Wolfe, author of Does American Democracy Still Work?

"The sharpest, the most insightful, the most side-splittingly funny book on law since—Supreme Courtship!" —Christopher Buckley, author of Supreme Courtship and Thank You For Smoking

"A fascinating and frequently funny journey through many of the sites of the greatest church and state squabbles in modern American history."—Barry Lynn, author of Piety & Politics

Publishers Weekly

Boston University law professor Wexler is also a published humorist. This felicitous combination of talents is put to good use as he visits the towns and cities where the always controversial cases concerning separation of church and state arise. Wexler's lucid explications of difficult constitutional concepts and the vagaries of Supreme Court rulings are superb, providing readers a deeper understanding of the First Amendment and Supreme Court jurisprudence. But that's only half the story. Wexler is laugh-out-loud funny as he narrates his odyssey through battleground sites from rural Wisconsin through Texas to the chambers of the U.S. Senate. Along the way he happily and with a usually generous spirit skewers Supreme Court justices, legislators, educators, law school professors and pretty much anyone else, including himself, who has ever taken a position on the enduring American controversies surrounding prayer in schools, religious displays on public property, or the teaching of evolution. This is a rare treat, a combination of thoughtful analysis and quirky humor that illuminates an issue that rarely elicits a laugh-and that is central to the American body politic. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
07/01/2014
Dunbar-Ortiz's (Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie) polemic is purportedly the first history of the United States written from an indigenous perspective. The book is framed around the theory that America is a "colonial settler state" that endeavors to subjugate its enemies through warfare that ends with the nation demanding that its defeated opponents "surrender unconditionally or face annihilation." With the book's foundation established from the beginning, the author is thus freed to pick and choose the data that supports the predetermined conclusion. Without a doubt, there are some episodes in the history of the United States's treatment of native peoples that rose to the level of genocide, but to say that the government employed mass killings as a consistent policy is debatable. That claim denies the agency that many Native American groups exerted throughout their dealings with the government. Also, the theory-guided narrative strains credulity when the author makes the case that what happened to the native peoples within the boundaries of the present-day United States is the same as what is currently occurring in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places where the U.S. military is engaged. VERDICT Not recommended.—John R. Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807000441
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 969,107
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue to a Road Trip vii

1 Hasidic Hullabaloo: Destination New York State 1

2 Santeria Skirmish: Destination South Florida 29

3 Amish Agitation: Destination the Cheese State 59

4 Religious Display Ruckus: Destination Austin 90

5 Senate Prayer Suspicion: Destination the Nation's Capital 120

6 Funding Religion Fracas: Destination Cleveland 148

7 Ball-Field Prayer Brouhaha: Destination East Texas 177

8 Creationism Commotion: Destination Kentucky 205

A European Epilogue 234

Acknowledgments 240

Notes 242

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