Review: Piety & Politics–The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom

5 Star, Religion & Politics of Religion

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Solid Case for Keeping Church and State Separate,

October 26, 2006
Barry W. Lynn
Judging by his enemies, the author is a giant. His book tends to harp a bit, with a recounting of his many appearances on broadcast media, how the extreme right hates him, and how separation is good. I would normally drop it to four stars for the harping, but the substance is the best I’ve seen. This is a solid five-star review of both the massive fortunes being accumulated by the evangelical right, all tax free and completely absent any government oversight or audit. The author is responsible for documenting 56 cases where the religious right has broken the law by supporting specific candidates, for which they should lose their tax exempt status.

The author provides a clear and thoughtful discussion of the intent of our Founding Fathers, and why a theocracy, which is what we have in effect (but see my review of Tempting Faith, which may destroy the blind faith of the right in the Bush-Cheney regime), reduces religious freedom and tolerance.

Indeed, the author blasts Senator Lieberman (I-CT) for his constant use of religion to justify laws and positions. I believe the author would concur with Rabbi Michael Lerner’s “Left Hand of God,” to wit, we should strive to be people of faith, and live by our faith’s tenets, but NOT mingle state funds and church funds, state regulations and church rites.

In historical context, the author discusses how protestant conservative churches grew and then tried to use the state to resist the influx of Catholics and other non-Protestant minorities.

The author discusses the hypocricy of the faith-based charities that want to be exempt from both taxation and regulation (e.g. hiring minorities), while taking money from the government under fomulas that are best questionable.

If there is a luducrous side to the nutty right-wing evangelicals, it can be seen in their fear of Harry Potter films as promoting the occult. The author goes on at length to describes how “family friendly” is code for censorship of schools, libraries, and communities. By calling anything at all “lewd and obscene” the nutty right is censoring virtually all non-fiction and a great deal of science (see my review of Roger Shattuck’s “Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography.”)

The author’s bottom line is that the religious right is hateful and intolerant. On page 234 he states that the extreme right fears information while sensitive people of faith welcome information.

This is a really fine book, it says what needs to be said about the tax evasion and inappropriate political activities of the extreme right.

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