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Real Threat and Mere Shadow: Religious Liberty and the First Amendment (Rutherford Institute Report, Vol 5) Paperback – November, 1987

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Rutherford Institute Report, Vol 5
  • Paperback: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway Books; First Edition edition (November 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089107418X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891074182
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,006,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't remember when I have finished reading a book and felt like I learned as much as I learned from this incredible book. As far as I can find, Daniel Dreisbach is a little known author who has written about a half dozen books on religious liberty and the First Amendment. I do not understand why Mr. Dreisbach is not a more acclaimed author, as his writing style is succinct, his research is exhaustive, and his conclusions are infallible.

Dreisbach himself gives an apt description of this book in the opening paragraph of his Conclusion chapter, when he writes;

"If only one conclusion emerges from this study, it should be that history can be, indeed has been, used and misused by strict separationists and nonprefentialists alike. The religion clauses are particularly susceptible prepossessions in the guise of historical interpretation. Sadly, the Supreme Court has been one of the chief abusers of the historical record."

The book first examines the battle of intentialist versus nonintentionalist theories of judicial interpretation. The author gives sound evidence from both Jefferson and Madison, two founders' whose views have been perverted greatly by the judiciary, in defense of the intentialist theory. Here a precedent is set for the author to follow throughout the book, where he continues to use similar instances of how history has been perverted and distorted to support the views of nonintentialists or nonpreferentialist or even strict separationists.

Much attention is given to recorded material, which has been largely overlooked or omitted by the judiciary. For example, Mr.
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Format: Paperback
First, let me just say it's one of those enigmas of life that such a brilliant, scholarly book has gone "under the radar" for so long. I find it hard to believe that as I write this, there is only one other review of the book, and I agree with that review completely. I came across this book while browsing through some books on a table at a debate sponsored, in part (?), by the Rutherford Institute.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Daniel Dreisbach is a Legal Historian and a Rhodes Scholar. He did a masterful job meticulously laying out the history of the First Amendment's [No] Establishment clause.

Dreisbach's thorough research and impeccable logic demonstrate how the Supreme Court has totally distorted Thomas Jefferson's famous phrase, "separation of church and state." The phrase has been turned on it's head to support the opposite position of the framers of the U.S. Constitution. Dreisbach makes a solid case for the original meaning of the phrase, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF."

And then there are the footnotes. You CANNOT pass up the footnotes in this book. They are too important and they are a real treasure. For instance, in one particular footnote, Dreisbach included a canon - rules for interpreting the constitution - by another author. These rules are SO critically important and helpful that I think they should be in the main body of the book. In fact, I printed out the rules and added them to a notebook. You simply MUST read the footnotes in this book. You'll miss too much if you ignore them.

This book is scholarship at it's finest. No matter what side of the issue you take, you will appreciate the reasoning in this book.
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