From Publishers Weekly
As a minister in the United Church of Christ and executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Lynn has a significant stake in the battle for religious freedom, arguing that church-state separation has fostered "religious diversity and vitality"-fundamentalism included. But as a citizen who also respects the sanctity of secular law, he argues against using tax dollars for the imposition of specific religious worldviews on America's diverse peoples, whether through tax-funded, faith-based initiatives or abstinence-only sex-education. Religious freedom, Lynn asserts, means the "right to worship or not worship as you see fit," not a government obligation to boost religion. He grounds his legal arguments not in the Ten Commandments (which, he writes, "attempt to regulate religious behavior" along with civic conduct), but in the Constitution. In this political season, Lynn offers a sound alternative for Democratic leaders, who have sought to bridge perceived "values deficits" with religion instead of what the party ostensibly stands for: "a commitment to civil rights, civil liberties and economic justice."
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An ordained minister now heading an organization aimed at protecting the separation between church and state, Lynn brings passion and a broad perspective to the national debate swirling around this issue. Providing a historical overview, Lynn points out that in the nation's early history, separation of church and state was supported by both religious leaders and politicians as a means of protecting institutions of faith from government intrusion. Lynn examines school prayer, gay rights, the teaching of intelligent design, and faith-based initiatives as leading issues in the current turmoil between concerns about American morality and secular government. Christian conservatives, including Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, show no respect for history and law--or diversity of faith--when they push for a government that reflects their particular brand of religion, Lynn maintains. Only by separating religion and government can the nation truly guarantee religious and intellectual freedom. Whatever readers' religious or political beliefs, they will appreciate Lynn's well-considered examination of this contentious issue. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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