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The Court and the Cross: The Religious Right's Crusade to Reshape the Supreme Court Paperback – June 1, 2009
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Separation of church and state is so basic a part of American values and history that it is hard to realize it is under threat. This is a colorful and compelling book.—Anthony Lewis, author of Freedom for the Thought We Hate
"Nowhere has the Religious Right's effort to remake America been more successful, or more poorly understood, than in its campaign to control the courts, a campaign rooted in a revisionist history that seeks to write secularism out of the nation's past. Frederick Lane's illuminating, important The Court and the Cross punctures the movement's canards and deftly explains what's at stake."—Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming
"This timely and disturbing book offers a much-needed wake-up call to all who cherish our Constitution and understand that the separation of church and state was America's founding gift to its own citizens and the world." —Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason
"If you are not sure that the decisions of the Supreme Court matter much to you in your daily life, read The Court and the Cross and I guarantee you'll be rethinking that position. The Court's erosion of your individual religious freedom and the dictates of your conscience has already begun."—The Reverend Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and author of Piety & Politics
About the Author
A graduate of Boston College Law School, Frederick S. Lane is a freelance journalist, attorney, lecturer, and expert witness. He is the author of The Decency Wars, The Naked Employee, and Obscene Profits. His most recent book, American Privacy: The 400-Year History of Our Most Contested Right, is forthcoming from Beacon Press.
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Lane delivers his facts in a largely objective, journalistic style, as is his analysis of the court opinions and legal development. However, Lane does express a distinctly pro-secularist opinion of his subject matter; he openly laments the many Supreme Court decisions that have eroded the wall of separation between church and state, and cautiously fears the Roberts-led conservative majority on the present court. I suspect that these opinions (although quite moderate and mainstream) are probably more responsible for the multiple 1-star reviews he has already accumulated than any other flaws in the material.
It is true that The Court and The Cross suffers from a mild lack of originality. Supreme Court and Constitutional scholars like Peter Irons and Cass Sunstein have recounted the historical development and interpretation of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses much more fully and authoritatively than Lane attempts here. Recent investigative works like Michelle Goldberg's "Kingdom Coming" have exposed the puritanical agendas of organizations like Focus on the Family and the Thomas More Law Center. And numerous recent books by authors like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have given the political arguments in favor of a secular state in much more forceful tones than anything Lane has to say. But as a brief, readable, pithy text that combines all three strains of research and exposition, The Court and The Cross is easily a worthwhile read.