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Why the Religious Right Is Wrong: About Separation of Church & State Paperback – March, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (March 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879758341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879758349
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,277,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...very useful overview for students and those seeking introduction to an issue that is not likely to go away." -- Conscience, Winter 2003-4 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"This well-written book by an experienced journalist and student of church-state relations aggressively challenges the assertions of the Religious Right and shows most of them to be distortions, half-truths, and outright lies. . . . It should be in every school district's curriculum library." -- Contemporary Education

"Sketches out a strong, clear set of debating points for use by those seeking to keep government from meddling in religion and vice versa. . . . [I]t should make a handy and useful guide." -- San Francisco Bay Area Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

Educational, worthy as a reference book.
Book Shark
All in all this is a great work with thorough documentation of sources that allow a reader to research further into the issue.
D. Smithee
Rob Boston presents an intelligent, well written argument against the threat of the Religious Right movement in America.
Bryan Carey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By D. Smithee on November 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
In this work, Rob Boston gives a good in-depth analysis of the church state separation issue. He provides an excellent historical background including a detailed description of the drafting of the U.S. Constitution's first amendment. Prior drafts of the amendment provide very interesting reading. He correctly examines the effect of the 14th amendment that extended the Bill of Rights to the states and the fact that it was legal for states to set up religion up to that point.
Crucial Supreme Court cases are covered in detail providing excellent examinations of the opinions they generated. He points out that church state separation was virtually ignored during the 19th century and exploded as an issue when immigration during the 20th century brought a number of new religions to the country that the people had never previously encountered.
Mr. Boston does not hide his disdain for the Religious Right and it becomes very obvious in some of his statements, but he illuminates some of the dangers this small but very influential group pose. He exposes the desires of some extreme fringes to convert America into a Christian theocracy.
All in all this is a great work with thorough documentation of sources that allow a reader to research further into the issue. Mr. Boston also provides a number of historical documents in whole or in part to illustrate the mindset of the founding fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
I found it to be a good start on the subject. Some of the dates were incorrect (typos, I'm pretty sure) and there were a few small but largely unimportant inaccuracies, such as the role of the NY State Supreme Court. In NY the final word is handed down by the Appellate Court (a somewhat understandable mistake-common sense dictates otherwise). For someone starting out with an admitted bias he does a presentable job in covering the other side of the issue, although the bias does show through. I've personally found the religious right to be much less forthcoming with opposing facts that refute their arguments.
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85 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Eric Breitenstein on February 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Boston does an excellent job of defending a principle that too many Americans have been lied to about for too long. With an overview of church-state history, legal issues, and a well-reasoned attack on the Religious Wrong, Boston's book is a breath of fresh air in the polluted skies of sectarianism. A quick note, one of the reviewers of this book noted that "separation of church and state is not written in the Constitution." Ignoring the poor grammar he used, he obviously didn't read the book. That point, and it is a valid one, is discussed by Mr. Boston. It is unfortunate in our time that people who have never had a taste of oppression, never a glimpse of tyranny, seek to run for cover under state-imposed orthodoxy. Keep the church and state forever separate in every way. I know what I'm talking about, my family grew up in Iran!
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By F. A. Soares on July 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I picked up this book I was skeptical about the entire religious right's moves to curtail my freedoms. This book gave me a deeper understanding of what is going on and put it in a historical and modern context. I would recommend this book to all that would like to assure their freedom and their children's freedom to choose their religion in the future.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1997
Format: Paperback
Robert Boston has done a superb job of documenting the evolution of the church/state separation idea. He also describes how this idea fared in early American history, demonstrating that the idea is very much real and intended. Of course, the book also deals with the ideological attacks on the wall of separation, which has mostly come from the Religious Right, including Reconstructionists, and Accomodationists. The appendix includes useful rebuttals to the common fallacious theocratic propaganda concerning church/state separation. A must read for anyone wanting to become more active in defending the wall that separates church and state.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Religious belief and practice are personal affairs that should remain in the realm of private matters. For over 200 years our Constitution has allowed for the peaceful co-existence of all people, regardless of religious beliefs. Religion in America is as diversified as her people. All must function equally under the law. The law would be remiss to give special recognition to one religion above all the others. Unless all are treated equal under the law, none are free.
Kepa Cho. Oakland, Ca.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
There is a short shelf of essential books on the religious right. This one belongs up there with Jean Hardisty's Mobilizing Resentment; Frederick Clarkson's Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy; and Boston's book on Pat Robertson, The Most Dangerous Man In America.
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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Carey VINE VOICE on January 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
Rob Boston presents an intelligent, well written argument against the threat of the Religious Right movement in America. He traces church- state relations from several hundred years ago to the present day and confronts the non-seperationists with zeal and passion.
Why do many Americans fall so easily for the propaganda and historical distortions from the Religious Right? I think the main reason lies in the attitudes that many Americans have toward people in authority. Not just religious authority, but other authorities as well, such as political figures, teachers, and even our elders. Many people seem to falsely think that individuals in positions of authority are incapable of wrongdoing, even when they have been proven wrong in the past. I cannot count the number of times that I have heard a person in an authoritarian position make an outrageous statement which is then quickly taken as gospel by the gullible public. Sometimes, the individual in authority will later contradict himself and even his contradiction will be treated as infallible by the public! This has never ceased to amaze me.

Rob Boston states several times that he is unsure whether the Religious Right is ignorant of the facts or withholding the truth. In the case of the followers of the movement, I think ignorance and vulnerability are at the forefront. But the leaders of this so- called "religious" movement can only be described one way: they are bona-fide liars! Pat Robertson and the rest of the leaders are willing to sacrifice honesty in order to further their political agenda. These leaders have studied the constitution and American history history extensively. They would have to know that what they preach is completely false, beyond all shadow of a doubt.

We all need to take a stand against these extremist groups to protect our freedom for ourselves and for future generations. Remember: apathy is the #1 tool used by the Religious Right. We need to get up and fight!
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