How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012 - Political Science - 306 pages
“Berlinerblau mounts a careful, judicious, and compelling argument that America needs more secularists—not only among nonbelievers but among believers as well. It will change the way we think and talk about religious freedom.”
—Randall Balmer, author of Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts Faith and Threatens America

Weary of religious conservatives urging “defense of marriage” and atheist polemicists decrying the crimes of religion? Sick of pundits who want only to recast American life in their own image? Americans are stuck in an all-or-nothing landscape for religion in public life. What are reasonable citizens to do?

Seen as godless by the religious and weak by the atheists, secularism mostly has been misunderstood. In How to Be Secular, Berlinerblau argues for a return to America's hard-won secular tradition; the best way to protect religious diversity and freedom lies in keeping an eye on the encroachment of each into the other.

Berlinerblau passionately defends the virtues of secularism, reminds us what it is and what it can protect, and urges us to mobilize around its cause, which is for all Americans to continue to enjoy freedom for—and from—religion. This is an urgent wake-up call for progressives in and out of all faiths.


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User Review  - ScoutJ - LibraryThing

A lucid argument about the value of secularism to our society for the religious and irreligious. Berlinerblau gives a fairly deep history of religion and religious freedom in the US, as well as the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - John_Pappas - LibraryThing

A very moderate call to arms (more the hugging kind). Good and critical review of the secular movement and a roadmap to move away from New Atheist rhetoric and ire towards an embracing of religious ... Read full review


PART II The Very Peculiar Rise and Fall of American Secularism
PART III Reviving American Secularism
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About the author (2012)

JACQUES BERLINERBLAU , professor at Georgetown University and director of the Program for Jewish Civilization, is the author of four books. He has appeared on radio, television, and print, including NPR, CNN, Al-Jazeera, The Economist, The Jerusalem Post, U.S. News and World Report and the Washington Post . He is the host of the webcast Faith Complex," which appears on The Huffington Post and elsewhere.

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