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on December 9, 2007
While I disagree with R. Laurence Moore's underlying premise that religion is and should be a private matter (he is most interested when it "trespasses" into the public square which suggests that the private is normative and preferred) he does offer some quality insights into the peculiarities of religion and America.

As a secularist, Moore is particularly adept at pointing out the ironies or blurring of Thomas Jefferson's wall of separation. One poignant example is Christmas. All seem to be willing to overlook the Christian roots of this national holiday because of its economic influence. He states, "He suggests that American Protestants had thrown out the holiday of Christmas because it was a Roman Catholic creation. And yet, Christmas slowly eased back into the American consciousness through the practice of giving gifts. Moore states, "American commerce saw a way to make money. American gift giving recalled less the visit of the three magi to the Christ child than the visit of St. Nicholas (later the jolly American Santa Claus)...[which with department stores] transformed Christmas in America into an economic necessity. American prosperity from year to year stands or falls on the success of sales during the holiday season. No imaginable Supreme Court is going to create obstacles to this consumer juggernaut. Nor is any Jewish group or Islamic group likely to finance a test case to bring down Christmas. They too are merchants" (p. 28-29).

Even though I disagree with Moore's private/public divide, he does offer some profound insights in the peculiarities of religion in the American context which the church should be aware of.
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on August 1, 2005
Smart and well thought-out look at the role America's religious community has sought to play (and the role they have actually played) in American history. Very even handed look at the issue, no hidden agenda here - highly recommend!
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on August 9, 2005
"Touchdown Jesus" is not R. Laurence Moore's finest work. His writing is at times underwhelming - occaisonally hitting at a level lower than he is usually capable of writing - and the lack of citation makes it difficult for inclusion in a bibliography. However, his analysis is sound and, as an introduction to American religious history, the book is quite good. For those with a good deal of background in the subject, his analysis will be interesting but not necessarily groundbreaking. For those with little knowledge of American religion, this text can be a good introductory experience. I also recoomend Richard Fox's "Jesus in America."
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on July 19, 2014
Had to read this book for a class. The introduction was interesting. The rest of the book was terrible. The author had a lot of quotes and no citations or references. It was very biased. Seemed like the author is just a cynical, bitter man over religion. I wouldn't recommend this book for anyone looking for real information on religion in America.
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on June 23, 2014
This book was easy to read and for a college class religion in America, it was helpful in teaching about some of the religions in the United States, thank you !
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on June 22, 2005
This book is not recommendable. Moore writes as a secular-humanist whose views have little to do with religion in America or Jesus. He admits that he is not a religionist (pages 1-2). One wonders if his S. Texas Presbyterian up-bringing ever took?

His reasoning is clouded by his deterministic agenda. Often through the text he misses history's poignant lessons. Moore's reading and presentation are questionable. (Examples: On page 18, Moore thinks George Whitefield to be "America's first religious entrepreneur". What about Jonathan Edwards the New England pastor in America decades before Whitefield? Page 86 promotes Southern Baptists to "America's largest Protestant denomination". American Pentecostals, at least, would beg to differ.)

Additionally frustrating is Moore's complete lack of documentation (Is he attempting to revise history by not sourcing his reading of it?). Having no endnotes gives the book a feeling of impromptu chatter. If you expect to find the origins of Moore's musings do not look to this book for answers. One wonders if he quickly scribbled down the book after a dinner party discussion.

The best parts of this book are the title and the paperback cover. GO IRISH!!
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