Book Review: "Faircloth lays waste to... canard" of "a Christian nation."
By EDWARD MORRIS - FOREWORD REVIEWS
Added: Fri, 02 Mar 2012 13:57:53 UTC
On December 19, 2011, a Nashville newspaper carried a story about the construction of an all-faiths chapel at the nearby Fort Campbell military base that will cost taxpayers $8.4 million. A smaller article in the same issue noted that a much-used juvenile detention center in the area will be shut down because of a shrinking state budget. The irony of neglecting real-world needs while lavishly supporting speculative otherworldly ones would almost certainly enrage the author of this book. It also poses the question: what does religion have to do with enhancing military preparedness?
Sean Faircloth's Attack of the Theocrats! is both an analysis of religion's intrusion into the public sphere in America and a list of suggestions for rolling it back. A former Catholic and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Faircloth served as Maine's assistant attorney general for three years, then went on to spend ten years in the state legislature, where he eventually rose to the position of majority whip. It was during his years of public service that he concluded fundamentalist religion was a distinct social menace.
Note: Sean Faircloth was an Assistant Attorney General (there are numerous Assistant Attorneys General) and, though a Notre Dame graduate, Faircloth wasn't Catholic.
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At no time in American history has the United States had such a high percentage of theocratic members of Congress-those who expressly endorse religious bias in law. Just as ominously, at no other time have religious fundamentalists effectively had veto power over one of the country's two major political parties. As Sean Faircloth argues, this has led to the crumbling of the country's most cherished founding principle-the wall separating church and state-and presages yet even more crumbling. Faircloth, a former politician and current executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, moves beyond the symbolism to explore the many ways federal and state legal codes privilege religion in law. He goes on to demonstrate how religious bias in law harms all Americans-financially, militarily, physically, socially, and educationally. Sounding a much-needed alarm for all who care about the future direction of the country, Faircloth offers an inspiring vision for returning America to its secular roots.
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