Customer Reviews: Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on February 16, 2002
This book is a hard book to write a review about mostly because the book itself is in dire need of an editor to help the author organize his thoughts and have them flow in a logical though pattern. The books presentation of information is very disordered however, it becomes crystal clear after only a few chapters that rather than being a scholarly critique this book is a vitriolic attack against Judeo-Christian values and their perspective religions. I for one was hoping for a book that showed factual presentations and coherent argument either for or against the separation of church and state instead I got an opine of the author. While this book may appease `the choir' it does nothing for those who are seeking intelligent discourse in a prickly argument.
I brought this book because I was interested in Mr. Boston's interpretation of Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists where he penned the metaphor "separation of church and state". Although the book, whose title suggest this would be the main issue, does touch on the subject it is definitely one that the author has much interest in writing about. Yes Mr. Boston gives you a brief background, one that seems to be lacking in historicity of the event, and then Mr. Boston gives you his interpretations of the letters but he never provides you with the original letters. I wondered why a book whose main thesis is built up on "the separation of church and state" never reproduced the famous documents? It wasn't until I looked them up myself and read them in the original form that the context became crystal clear.

The main reason Mr. Boston dare not include them in his book is that the original letters destroy Mr. Boston's interpretation and therefore his credibility.

I suggest that anyone who has been duped by this carefully laid out propaganda, and many have just look at the reviews, they need to go back and reread the letters in question.
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on June 15, 2001
I must first declare my bias. I am a person who has some sympathy with the ideas of the author and I am in fact a non-believer. Despite that I did not particularly enjoy it. The author has written a number of books on related topics and is active in a political way. Towards the end of the book he describes how the religious right is politically active and how they provide pamphlets and information and become involved in local and school politics. He encourages people with a liberal outlook to do the same. This book is basically a fact list for that purpose rather than being a book which stands on its own as a dispassionate study of an interesting phenomena.
In reality the book is quite short. It is 218 pages but the type face is quite large. It can be read quite quickly. It has a brief history of the rise of the separation of church and state and talks a little about early American history. The initial settlement of America was by religious groups who did not show much tolerance. He refers to the execution of some quakers by one colony. There is a discussion about the reasons for the development of constitutional separation which would seem to be that although America was a Christian country there was enormous division within the various sects and there was not a clear consensus about the real elements of religious belief.
The book then discusses issues around the operation of rights clauses and a history of some litigation. The book is readable and is a good introduction but is short and superficial. However the reality is that the aim of the book is to be a primer more than a scholarly work so that my complaints are probably minor quibbles
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on July 4, 2001
I am stunned that Mr. Boston was able to find a publisher for this, but then again, self-publication is simple if that is what is happening. Citations are things which are too simple to look-up, yet too simple for people to fog readers -with. So-called "facts" are citations from people who have persecuted the faithful in both Euorope and the U.S. for more than a century. ACLU citations are erroneous and call-outs from Norman Thomas, a self-admitted Communist and Nazi sympath from earlier this century (and ACLU founder) must be discounted because of their utter hatred for people who simply wish to keep some moral sensibilities about their families.
The idea portrayed that only potentially a Leftist revolutionary replicate of the murderous French hierarchy of the 18th century was intended by the founding fathers is in itself probably a treasonous thought.
Josef Goebbels would be proud, very proud. This book deserves a second star only because it took time to write it and because there is an art to crafting hateful and potentially murderous propaganda.
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