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Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars Paperback – June 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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"Religion and politics are the two things we are not supposed to talk about. Jay Wexler does—with deadpan humor. We need to tone down the anger over these issues, and he shows the way."—Alan Wolfe, author of Does American Democracy Still Work?
"The sharpest, the most insightful, the most side-splittingly funny book on law since—Supreme Courtship!" —Christopher Buckley, author of Supreme Courtship and Thank You For Smoking
"A fascinating and frequently funny journey through many of the sites of the greatest church and state squabbles in modern American history."—Barry Lynn, author of Piety & Politics
Top Customer Reviews
Wexler, whose hilarious short stories have been published everywhere from McSweeneys to Monkeybicycle, is a brilliant, insightful and self-effacing writer who teaches without preaching. He may well convince you of his view of the proper interpretation and scope of the religion clauses. But I doubt that's his principal aim. By delving deeper into the facts of these cases and the religious and cultural communities in which they arose, Wexler forces you to challenge your own assumptions about the proper role of religion and government in our society. That, and he makes you laugh. But regardless of his intent, you won't forget these travel stories or the cases he recounts in the process.
So read Holy Hullabaloos. You really won't regret it.
Holy Hullabaloos really does manage to combine humor with wonderfully clear analyses of some Really Important Supreme Court cases. In law school, I took no more con law than was required, so I really don't have much of a background in the area, but I came away from reading the book feeling very well-informed.
Wexler discusses these cases in a really thought-provoking way. To echo another review, I found his point about teaching about religion in schools to be a really good one. The book was much more thoughtful than I expected. That is, it wasn't just a series of jokes about law and religion cases. Rather, Wexler combines legal analysis and humor to both educate the reader and to make this larger point about the way we treat and think about religion. Having gone to Catholic school myself, but one where we actually did have a world religions class at some point and where dissent was tolerated, if not encouraged, the idea that we need to be respectful of others' religious beliefs, or lack thereof, really resonated with me.
Also, I really did laugh out loud. Once on the train. It was very embarrassing.
Wexler's writing style is accessible and uproariously funny, but he does not sacrifice the complexity of what he is writing about. He manages to clearly explain a number of Supreme Court decisions that follow no logical progression, violate rules that the justices themselves created, and basically make a huge sticky mess out of both the Establishment and Free Exercise clause.
The best part of the book is actually the sub-text and here is where Wexler's evil genius truly shows. This is not, in fact, a book about the First Amendment. It is a lesson in religious tolerance, one that needs teaching, but rarely gets brought into the classroom. As Wexler makes clear, the best way to respect our First Amendment freedoms is not to let the Supreme Court anywhere near them. If Americans don't bring the crazy cases, then the Court can't mess them up. A simple, yet diabolical plan.
Disclosure: I am a former student in Jay's Law and Religion seminar at BU Law and constantly recommend his class and writings (and paintings) to anyone with a sense of humor and a bit of intellectual curiosity.
I'm a lawyer, and a Christian, and I get in more than my share of frustrating conversations with people who want me to confirm that the Supreme Court has taken prayer out of schools - if I had the guts, I would refuse to have those conversations unless those people could promise me they had read this book. It's that accessible and it's that accurate.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was an entertaining book that presents readers with a bird's-eye view of how law and religion have clashed in American jurisprudence. Read morePublished on August 5, 2012 by Trey Morris
This book takes complex court cases involving religions vs the state and breaks them down into something easy to understand. Along the way, the author is quite amusing. Read morePublished on November 30, 2010 by Sniffly Kitty
"You can't tell a book by its cover" is Holy Hullabaloos times 10. Jay Wexler, a law professor with an unusual talent for making the complicated understandable, has taken a loaded... Read morePublished on February 7, 2010 by Robert Hall
My friend, Jay Wexler, offers a humorous and insightful account of the intersecting worlds of church and state.
He recounts our 2005 debate at Harvard Law School. Read more
I don't read much, but I absolutely loved this book. It was extremely informative, yet funny enough that I was actually laughing out loud at moments. Read morePublished on September 22, 2009 by A Nonymous
There's not much else I can add to what's already been said - this is a smart and funny book that brings tremendous clarity to an area of the First Amendment that is often opaque. Read morePublished on August 22, 2009 by Mark Coen
Holy Hullabaloos is a book on the personal side of the famous church-state court cases. In the book, law professor Jay Wexler tours the country and visits both the people and the... Read morePublished on August 19, 2009 by stoic
As a disclaimer, I met Jay Wexler at a conference a few years ago and had been waiting for this book to come out since he first told me about it. Read morePublished on August 17, 2009 by A. Rowe
I'll admit it -- I read books very rarely. But I'm interested in church/state issues so I was drawn to this title when I came across it. Read morePublished on August 16, 2009 by Ali Jalili