The Rise of Secular AmericansBook - 2012
An analysis of how the non-believing minority is working to counter the Religious Right's influence in education, public policy, and politics, and argues that America has never been a Christian nation.
A new group of Americans is challenging the reign of the Religious Right
Today, nearly one in five Americans are nonbelievers - a rapidly growing group at a time when traditional Christian churches are dwindling in numbers - and they are flexing their muscles like never before. Yet we still see almost none of them openly serving in elected office, while Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and many others continue to loudly proclaim the myth of America as a Christian nation.
In Nonbeliever Nation, leading secular advocate David Niose explores what this new force in politics means for the unchallenged dominance of the Religious Right. Hitting on all the hot-button issues that divide the country – from gay marriage to education policy to contentious church-state battles – he shows how this movement is gaining traction, and fighting for its rights. Now, Secular Americans—a group comprised not just of atheists and agnostics, but lapsed Catholics, secular Jews, and millions of others who have walked away from religion—are mobilizing and forming groups all over the country (even atheist clubs in Bible-belt high schools) to challenge the exaltation of religion in American politics and public life.
This is a timely and important look at how growing numbers of nonbelievers, disenchanted at how far America has wandered from its secular roots, are emerging to fight for equality and rational public policy.
"Today's culture wars are more heated than ever. Education, public policy, and the separation between church and state have become a battlefield, and many are frustrated with the success the Religious Right has had in shaping the national agenda, from putting the brakes on gay marriage in California to stripping textbooks in Texas of references to Thomas Jefferson. But today, a growing nonreligious minority, nearly 20 percent of Americans, are finally organizing and taking explicit political positions. In Nonbeliever Nation, David Niose argues that America was never in fact a Christian nation and shows how the Religious Right successfully took control of the social and political narrative. He takes us across the country to meet the secular groups now forming in opposition to that force--from humanist gatherings to the rise of the New Atheists to the explosion of secular groups on college and even high school campuses. Niose discusses their political goals, including lobbying efforts, legal strategies, and outreach through advertising and education, and what still needs to be done to make the secular voice a gamechanger in American politics"--
An analysis of how the nonbelieving minority is working to counter the Religious Right's influence in education, public policy and politics argues that America has never been a Christian nation, sharing the stories of secular groups throughout the country who are effectively lobbying to maintain a separation of Church and state. 30,000 first printing.
From the critics
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As the GOVERNMENT of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity [hatred] against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] and as the said States [America] have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. (Acts Passed at the First Session of the Fifth Congress of the United States of America, pp. 43-44)
The “non-religious” Thomas Jefferson, who, in closing presidential documents, used to write “In the year of our Lord Christ”. 1) 1801 he recognized "the advantages of every kind which it would promise" referring to the construction of a Catholic church in DC. 2) 1801 he wrote to Governeur Morris "we are already about the 7th of the Christian nations in population." 3) 1802/1803/1804 he signed federal acts setting aside government lands so missionaries might work "propagating the Gospel" among Indians. 4) 1803 he directed the secretary of war to give federal funds to religious school established for Cherokees in Tennessee.
5) 1803 he funded Christian missionaries and provided federal funding to help erect a church in which the Kaskaskia Indians could worship. 6) 1804 he assured a Christian school in the state of Louisiana that it would get "the patronage of the government." 7) 1807 he declared religion "DEEMED IN OTHER COUNTRIES INCOMPATIBLE WITH GOOD GOVERNMENT, AND YET PROVED BY OUR EXPERIENCE TO BE ITS BEST SUPPORT." 8) 1806 "An Act for Establishing the Government of the Armies": "It is earnestly recommended to all officers and soldier diligently to attend Divine service; and all officers who shall behave indecently or irreverently at any place of Divine worship shall, if commissioned officers, be brought before a general court martial, there to be publicly and severely reprimanded by the President."
Benjamin Franklin: “… the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God Governs the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” Alexander Hamilton: “I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.” Daniel Webster: “If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be ….” Noah Webster: “No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people”
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