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Divided By God: America's Church State Problem and What We Should Do About It (Signed First Edition)

Noah Feldman

110 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0374281319 / ISBN 13: 9780374281311
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Dan Pope Books (West Hartford, CT, U.S.A.)

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New York: FSG [2005]. First edition. First printing. Hardbound. New, in dust jacket. A pristine unread copy, very fine/very fine in all respects. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. Author has signed his name only, with no other writing or marks. Comes with mylar dust jacket protector. Bookseller Inventory # pp09057

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Divided By God: America's Church State ...

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition...

About this title

Synopsis:

A brilliant and urgent appraisal of one of the most profound conflicts of our time

Even before George W. Bush gained reelection by wooing religiously devout "values voters," it was clear that church-state matters in the United States had reached a crisis. With Divided by God, Noah Feldman shows that the crisis is as old as this country--and looks to our nation's past to show how it might be resolved.

Today more than ever, ours is a religiously diverse society: Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist as well as Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. And yet more than ever, committed Christians are making themselves felt in politics and culture.

What are the implications of this paradox? To answer this question, Feldman makes clear that again and again in our nation's history diversity has forced us to redraw the lines in the church-state divide. In vivid, dramatic chapters, he describes how we as a people have resolved conflicts over the Bible, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the teaching of evolution through appeals to shared values of liberty, equality, and freedom of conscience. And he proposes a brilliant solution to our current crisis, one that honors our religious diversity while respecting the long-held conviction that religion and state should not mix.

Divided by God speaks to the headlines, even as it tells the story of a long-running conflict that has made the American people who we are.

Review:

In Divided By God, Noah Feldman examines the unique, fascinating balance the United States has pursued for well over 200 years now -- the attempt at democratic government by the people in a country made up of many religions, and many highly religious people. The novel principle enshrined to help make this a success was strong separation of church from state. The strain on the system has never been greater as polarization grows over the many hot-button topics of our day. Feldman also observes how the stakes have been raised in the last 50 years as the forces of secularism have fought a largely successful battle to remove religious symbolism from the public sphere, while at the same time the growing tide of religious conservatism has managed to forge a surprisingly close church-state relationship through government funding of religious priorities (faith-based initiatives and school vouchers, for example.)

Feldman, a law professor at New York University, delivers a timely book that attempts to move the discussion past rhetoric, by a careful examination of the history of church-state separation. The book's lively, conversational writing makes for a fascinating journey, starting with a precise analysis of exactly why our founding fathers debated and finally agreed to formally separate church and state, and then tracking the tests and challenges that separation has stood over the last two centuries. Perhaps the most refreshing current throughout is Feldman's lack of partisan bias, and his respect and understanding of the values, fears and goals that successive generations have brought to all sides of this never-ending debate.

It is that lack of partisanship that makes his conclusion all the more powerful -- a call to move beyond a battlefield where the secular and religious forces aggressively pursue their own mutually exclusive goals, and instead to seek a deeper understanding of what values we all hold in common, and to recognize the importance of engaging in constructive debate in order to find and define that commonality together. --Ed Dobeas

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