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The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness

Isaac Kramnick, R. Laurence Moore

The word God does not appear in the U.S. Constitution. Kramnick and Moore remind us why it does not and also how efforts to insert it have been staved off. They take us back to radical Christian Roger Williams' influential insistence upon a religiously neutral polity for Rhode Island and to the British roots of the American secular state in the thought of John Locke, the activism of the chemist Joseph Priestley, and the pamphleteering of the now-forgotten James Burgh. They show how the first four presidents resisted officially Christianizing the country and how nineteenth-century Baptist ministers led efforts to keep church and state separate. Their history lessons are enthralling and ought to give even the most ardent supporter of public school prayer pause. But when they turn to arguing against today's religious right, they have to concede that actual Christian political spokespersons aren't jackbooted theocrats and to set up a straw man called "religious correctness" to take the hits they want to score. So grade their effort A in history, C-in forensics.

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