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Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do Paperback – March 4, 2014


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Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do + Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“As a respected authority on church-state separation and culture-war issues, Rob Boston demonstrates an understanding of religious liberty that is sadly lacking among the God-fearing preachers and politicians of today’s religious Right. Taking Liberties is both entertaining and enlightening, a valuable resource for those who strive for sanity and reason in public policy.”   
 —David Niose, author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans

"A valuable reminder of the importance of religious freedom in America’s past and present, and an eviscerating critique of attempts by the religious Right to use a false language of ‘religious liberty’ to undermine the very rights they pretend to support.”
—Katherine Stewart, author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children

“Robert Boston eloquently makes the case for what religious freedom is and what it is not. It is the right for you to promote and try to convince others that what you believe is correct, but it is not the right to have the government do it for you. He backs up his case with many alarming examples of threats to religious liberty in political, cultural, and educational areas, among others. People of all faiths and of none can read and benefit from this thoughtful, well-documented book that shows why ‘live and let live’ on matters of religion can benefit us all.”  
—Herb Silverman, founder and president emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America; author of Candidate without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish 

About the Author

Robert Boston is the director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the editor of Church & State magazine. He is the author of Why the Religious Right Is Wrong about Separation of Church and State, Close Encounters with the Religious Right, and The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition. He is also a frequent contributor to The Humanist, and his articles have appeared in Free Inquiry, The Skeptical Inquirer, Conscience, and other publications.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616149116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616149116
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #521,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Accessible and well-written book.
Book Shark
The term "religious liberty" has been hijacked by the religious right in order to assert a very specific social/political agenda.
Ahadave
Religious freedom gives you the right to make all such decisions.
Rob Penczak

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Knief on March 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I am ardent believer in the separation of religion and government and in right of each person to have religious autonomy. I have long looked for a better way to explain to others why their religious beliefs do not constitute a right to force me to behave as they believe. Rob Boston covers almost every possible situation and explanation eloquently and thoughtfully in "Taking Liberties." It is concise, easy to read, and helpful to those of us who want more arrows in our quiver of logic when combating the idea that religious liberty means denying others their basic freedoms. I highly recommend this book. --Amanda K.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Phelps Gates VINE VOICE on March 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent book about what's happening these days in the culture wars. It gives the lie to the latest spin from the religious right, which claims that Christians are being persecuted because they can't impose their beliefs on others. Boston gives a thorough account of the history of the church-state controversy, and even though I already knew quite a few of the things he talks about, I did learn a lot. My main regret is the "Preaching to the Choir" problem: the people who need to read this book almost certainly won't (and probably won't even learn of its existence). But it's good as a source of talking points for when the subject comes up in conversation, and perhaps for letters to the editor. One thing I didn't know was that vouchers for providing tuition at private, often religious, schools didn't fare well in the Tennessee legislature because of fears that they would be used in Islamic schools. And exactly that has happened here in North Carolina: of the top three religious schools that parents applied for vouchers at, two of them are Islamic madrasas, which was no doubt not what the legislators had in mind! The Law of Unintended Consequences at work.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Richard on March 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The religious right is desperately trying to regain the control and influence it once had in this country. We are fighting battles that were fought and won decades ago, many in my own lifetime.

Full disclosure; I am an anti theist and a proud one. I am occasionally vilified by others including family members but this does not affect my passion about protecting the foundations of true freedom on which this country was founded. We are not, nor were we ever meant to be a theocracy....even a "soft" one. But I believe we are already becoming a soft theocracy unless we put an end to religious bias in our laws and religious privilege in our society.

I highly recommend this book to all who value freedom, religious or otherwise. Even you Mr. or Ms. Mainstream Christian! You have skin in this game too although you might not realize it.

A word of warning: If you suffer from depression or hypertension please be sure you have taken your medication. This book will P**S you off.

But that might be OK as long as it prompts you into action.
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Format: Paperback
About a year ago, I read Rob Boston's Why the Religious Right is Wrong about Separation of Church, a primer that brings all of the key Church and State issues together in a concise, digestible package. Boston's just released follow up - Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Others What to Do - offers the same clear, well-argued style that characterized his last book.

Now, in an ideal world, the opening line of Taking Liberties - "The Term religious freedom means the right to make decisions about theology for yourself."[emphasis mine] - would be enough to put this particular subject to rest.

But we're not living in an ideal world. Indeed, as it happens, Taking Liberties could hardly have arrived at a more critical juncture given the slate of bigoted proposals that are currently rifling around our country under the banner of `religious freedom.'

To paraphrase Boston loosely for a moment: If you're offended by gay sex, by all means, don't have it. Think pork is ungodly? Skip the ribs or stick with beef. And if you think contraception smacks of deviltry and your partner is on the same page, then either adopt the ascetic life or be fruitful and multiply like bunny rabbits. Religious freedom gives you the right to make all such decisions.

But honestly, if America wants to hold itself up as a beacon of democracy as it's done for two centuries, can we really afford to have our laws determined by medieval inquisitors like Antonin Scalia, a black-robed theocrat who openly admits to believing his particular interpretation of a repeatedly mistranslated collection of pre-scientific tales should trump the United States Constitution?
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By T. Washington on March 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Full disclosure: I am a devout and practising Roman Catholic(convert). So why do the claims of "religious liberty" used to oppose both same sex marriage and the ACA by the so-called "religious right" strike me as the crassest type of hyporcitical hogwash, never mind claims of "persecution".
Firstly, i suspect, and as Robert Boston's "Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You The Right To People What To Do"(Prometheus Books 2014) makes clear, what "conservatives"( and I use the phrase advisedly as those who use this phrase to describe themselves have about as much in common with Anglo-Irish philosopher Edmund Burke or the late William F.Buckley as do cannibals with gourmet cooking) really want is not religious freedom per se but virtual theocracy( atheistical dictatorships such as Stalin's Soviet Union, Castro's Cuba, Mao's China and yes, Nazi Germany are bad enough but if there is anything even worse it must certainly be theocracies like present day Iran, Saudi Arabia and Taliban ruled Afghanistan)-whereby one religious group expressly makes its views felt and forces all its citizens to toe the religous line, be it on divorce, family planning or any other view.

As one wag put it, how depressing that quite a few Americans yearn for the very state-mandated religious orthodoxy that has caused Crusades, expulsions of "heretical " groups(such as Jews from Spain and England, Huguenots and Calvinists from France) and the likes of the Inquisition and from which their forefathers fled to the then Colonies to escape!

Terry
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