THE CULTURE OF DISBELIEF by Stephen L. Carter

THE CULTURE OF DISBELIEF

How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An important broadside attack on, as Carter (Law/Yale; Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby, 1991) puts it, the ``effort to banish religion for politic's sake.'' In this passionately argued polemic--which Carter, a black Episcopalian, backs with personal anecdote, historical research, and legal brief--the case is made that something has gone awry in American politics since the heyday of the civil-rights struggle. To wit: In the 1960's, Martin Luther King, Jr., was applauded for bringing religious convictions to the public arena and thus continuing an American tradition of Judeo-Christian moral activism. But today, Carter says, the media and the liberal establishment wish to tuck religious beliefs back in the closet (witness the dismay when Hillary Rodham Clinton wore a cross around her neck to some inaugural events). While Carter supports strict separation of church and state, he wonders at recent court decisions that seem to go for the religious jugular. Especially at risk, he believes, are minority religions, as evidenced by the recent judicial approval of logging on Native American sacred lands. This wide-ranging study offers discussions of creationism, classroom prayer, private funding for parochial schools, euthanasia, sex education, and the ultimate hot potato, abortion--all noteworthy for their patient analysis and moderate stance. While the law can never establish religion, concludes Carter, we would do well to reclaim the venerable idea that religious faith can be our best guide for political action. Sure to provoke much acclamation and dissent.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1993
ISBN: 0-465-02647-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Basic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1993




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