THE POLITICS OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES: The Continuing Conflict With Theology in the Academy by Donald Wiebe ($49.95, hardcover, 300 pages, St Martin's Press, ISBN: 0312176961) "Sure to be controversial, this book is a must-read for all teachers of religion." "Anyone wishing to understand the issues involved in religious studies' riddle of identity had better read Donald Wiebe's THE POLITICS OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES immediately and with care. I doubt whether any other historian of the study of religion has thought more seriously, argued more vigorously, and written more eloquently about the matters of principle that engage both those who seek to obstruct and those who wish to develop rational and empirically informed explanatory science for understanding of religion." -E. Thomas Lawson, Professor of Comparative Religion, Western Michigan University
In THE POLITICS OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES, Donald Wiebe takes on a debate that has been raging in universities across North America and Europe for some years now. The issue is whether to approach religion as a science, free from the dissemination of beliefs and evangelizing, or to study it as a form of faith and therefore draw lines between believers and nonbelievers. Wiebe persuasively argues the former, claiming that if taught in a university religion must be treated as a science, with all the objectivity and research that are brought to other subjects. He further maintains that the study of theology should take place in seminaries, which are the proper places for the pursuit of religion as a creed. Exploring the true meaning and role of an academic, Wiebe shows how by propagating religion, instructors are abandoning their academic task to "explain everything and enjoin nothing." Certain to incite controversy, THE POLITICS OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES is an intelligent manifesto guaranteed to help readers look at academia, the search for knowledge, and the idea of religion in an entirely new light. The only limitation is that the work is basically critical of the current theologically informed and biased research. It is not a constructive account of what a scientific account of religious studies would look like.
Donald Wiebe is Professor of Religious Studies at Trinity College in Toronto.
Religion and Liberal Democracy: Piety, Politics and Pluralism edited by Mary C. Segers (Rowman & Littlefield) (PAPERBACK) A major factor impinging on the relationship between religion and American democracy is the fact that religion itself is changing. As a result of changes in immigration patterns in the last half‑century, American religion is becoming much more diverse.
As an immigrant nation, the United States has been open to new groups bringing different religious traditions to the country. Changes in immigration laws in the 1960s have shifted migration sources and patterns away from Europe and toward Asia and Africa. As a result, groups such as Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus have been increasing in numbers. Muslims, for example, now number 5.5 million and operate about a thousand Islamic religious centers in the United States. There are approximately 1.9 million Buddhists (with immigrants outnumbering converts three to one). Hindus number 1.3 million. If we add to the many Christian denominations the approximately's 350,000 members of the Native American Church, almost a million Jehovah's Witnesses, some 5.6 million Mormons, about 133,000 members of the Bahai faith, and nearly six million Jews, we can get some sense of the vast variety in American religion today.
These may seem like small numbers in such a large nation; after all, Americans number approximately 281 million, according to the 2000 census." At sixty‑two million, for example, Catholics remain the largest single denomination in the country, representing 22.7 percent of the population." But the fact is that today there are more Muslims than Episcopalians in the United States. Representing both major traditions of Islam, Sunni and Shi'ite, these Muslims come from such countries as Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the states of the Middle East. In short, there is remarkable ethnic diversity within the Islamic community here in the United Stateswhich, of course, adds to the cultural, ethnic, and religious pluralism of the country as a whole.'
The point in citing these statistics, of course, is to illustrate the remarkable diversity of American society‑the ethnic, religious, and cultural pluralism of this liberal democracy. Kenneth Prewitt, director of the Census Bureau, puts it this way: "The 21st century will be the century in which we redefine ourselves as the first country in world history which is literally made up of every part of the world."'3
Such diversity provides the context for the intense debate about the freedom of religious minorities triggered by the Supreme Court's 1990 decision in Oregon v. Smith. As one commentator noted, "If we want to be a democracy that supports the rights of minority groups, including religious minorities, we can't have a government that stands behind and supports one world view."'4 A government policy of equal treatment of religion is necessary and in a liberal democracy, the principle of church‑state separation is a necessary corollary to the idea of religious liberty.
The decline of Protestant hegemony and the growing diversity of American society pose new challenges. As our authors show, tolerance and respect for the religious and cultural diversity of Islam, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism may require that Americans rethink issues of school prayer, public holiday displays, issues of dress in the military, and a host of other issues. But a liberal democracy in a pluralistic society welcomes such rich cultural diversity. Although America may be 85 percent Christian, the religious liberty of the 15 percent who are non‑Christian must be preserved. The 1990 Smith case and protection of religious minorities remain central issues for American society.
One reason Americans continue to argue about religion and politics is the role that religion plays in our elections. In choosing our governors, we inevitably ask certain questions. For example: What is the connection, if any, between religion, morality, and public policy? Can a legislator constitutionally bring his or her religious beliefs to bear in formulating public policy? Should political candidates discuss their religious and ethical convictions so that voters may judge their fitness for high office? To what extent should voters rely upon their own religious beliefs in evaluating candidates for public office?
These issues may be compressed into one basic question: Is religion relevant in a presidential election? Or should campaign rhetoric and public debate be sanitized of all forms of God‑talk, all references to the Almighty?
This question was raised very dramatically in the 2000 presidential election. The Clinton/Lewinsky scandals and the deeper matter of presidential character were issues in the campaign. American voters were therefore treated to the discomfiting, embarrassing spectacle of all nine Republican presidential candidates and one of the two Democratic candidates professing their faith openly for all to see and hear. The only candidate who refused
to discuss his religious beliefs was former Senator Bill Bradley (D‑N.J.), who said simply, "I've decided that personal faith is private, and I will not discuss it with the public."
Religion was influential in the campaign in other ways as well. In the primaries, the Christian Right played a major role in delivering the Republican nomination to George W. Bush, governor of Texas. Republican Party leaders considered the Catholic vote to be so crucial in key "swing" or "battle ground" states that they set up a special task force within the Republican National Committee to target Catholic voters. For his part, to distance himself from the scandals associated with the Clinton presidency, Vice President Al Gore chose as his running mate Senator Joseph Lieberman (D‑Conn.), an Orthodox Jew and a political moderate best known for his 1998 Senate speech denouncing Clinton's immoral conduct in the Lewinsky affair. Gore's selection of Lieberman was historic, since the Connecticut senator was the first Jew ever to be nominated by a major political party for president or vice president. Like John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, Lieberman's candidacy represented a major step forward in ending prejudice in American life‑be it anti‑Catholicism, anti‑Semitism, or antipathy to women in high office.
The chapters in Part One of this book examine the singular role of religion in the 2000 presidential election. Mark Rozell describes the primary contests between candidates John McCain and George W. Bush in South Carolina and Virginia, and he explains how conservative evangelicals delivered the Republican nomination to Bush. Mary Segers examines the controversy over anti‑Catholicism provoked by Bush's appearance at Bob Jones University in South Carolina and discusses its impact on GOP campaign strategy and on Catholic voting patterns in the general election. Molly Andolina and Clyde Wilcox suggest that key moral, social, and religious issues supplanted, to some extent, traditional economic concerns in the 2000 election, and they analyze four such issues: abortion, gay rights, the death penalty, and a set of broader church‑state considerations. Describing the campaign's approach as "stealth politics," the authors argue that these social issues mattered even though they did not get a lot of attention from Bush and Gore. Mary Segers examines the Lieberman nomination as well as the remarkable debate his comments on religion and politics triggered during the 2000 campaign.
To be sure, the controversy over religion and politics was not the only remarkable feature of the 2000 election. The Florida voting fiasco clearly overshadowed all other aspects of this election. By contrast with the postelection recount in Florida and its culmination in a highly controversial Supreme Court decision, the pre‑Election Day campaign looked tame indeed. But we should not let the historic endgame of the 2000 race distract us from important aspects of the campaign, such as the debate about the role of religion in public life. In fact, we need to pay attention to this question, because this debate continues to reverberate in the new presidential administration of George W. Bush.
In the first month of his presidency, Bush made major appointments and undertook major policy initiatives bearing on questions of religion and politics. He proposed educational reforms, including school vouchers, that raised the question of the constitutionality of public funding of church related schools. He imposed restrictions on funding of international family planning agencies that provide abortion counseling. In his second week in office, he established by executive order a new Office of Faith‑Based Action to provide government assistance to churches and other religious groups that run soup kitchens, drug abuse programs, job training programs, and other social services. He named former Senator John Ashcroft of Missouri
and Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin‑both pro‑life candidates to the sensitive cabinet posts of attorney general and secretary of health and human resources. These first actions of the new president were paybacks to the Religious Right constituency of the Republican Party. They were also invitations to file lawsuits challenging these policies as violations of the religion clauses of the First Amendment. There is every indication that the debate about religion and politics, church and state, will intensify during the Bush presidency.
At the same time, no discussion of the 2000 election can ignore the historic thirty‑six‑day postelection recount that kept the nation in suspense about the identity of the next president. There will be many books written about this extraordinary election. The Florida follies raised so many issues‑the machinery of voting, states' rights versus federal rights, and the constitutional separation of powers, to name but a few‑that it will take political scientists and historians years to sort it all out. At the same time, some attempt must be made here to give a brief overview of the postelection endgame so that readers can understand the chapters on the 2000 election in this volume.
Accordingly, Part One of this book begins with a chronology of the Florida recount, together with a short summary of the highlights of this fascinating postelection drama. Elizabeth A. Hull then analyzes Bush v. Gore, the December 12, 2000, decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that stopped the recount and made George W. Bush president‑elect. The Court's decision has been criticized as an "act of judicial usurpation" by an "imperial judiciary" that anointed George Bush as president. Hull analyzes the Supreme Court's reasoning in this case and discusses the continuing controversy among constitutional lawyers, scholars, and citizens over the significance of the decision.
Bette Novit Evans remarks that the Smith case "is at the heart of the most tangled Free Exercise controversy of the generation .... No constitutional controversy . . . illustrates as sharply the immensely complex relation among institutions of government as does the series of events that began with this case." Moreover, many scholars are concerned that the Smith opinion has had devastating implications for the rights of religious minorities.
Part Two of this book focuses on this debate about limits to religious freedom and protection of the rights of religious minorities‑a discussion that occupied the attention of scholars, legislators, and jurists throughout the 1990s. In the Smith decision, the Court ruled that a religiously neutral Oregon law, which did not directly burden the free exercise rights of two Native Americans, was constitutional. At issue was the denial of unemployment benefits to two men who had lost their jobs over their use of peyote in religious rituals of their Native American Church. In effect, the Court refused to uphold the free exercise rights of these two Native Americans.
In deciding this case, the Court reversed thirty‑year‑old precedents holding that First Amendment rights to religious freedom are fundamental guarantees that warrant strict scrutiny of any state statute limiting a citizen's free exercise rights. This Supreme Court decision stunned many religionists in the United States, to such an extent that in 1993 Congress passed, by an overwhelming vote, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to protect the religious freedom of minorities. Not to be outdone, the Supreme Court in 1997 overturned RFRA, in City of Boerne v. Flores.
The chapters in Part Two examine this controversy. George Garvey provides an overview of the debate and suggests a possible resolution. Bette Novit Evans analyzes the structural and constitutional factors that sustain religious freedom in the United States, while Ted Jelen discusses the cultural and political factors that account for the persistence of church‑state conflict in the nation. Finally, Clyde Wilcox, Rachel Goldberg, and Ted Jelen examine the impact of increasing diversity on church‑state attitudes of residents in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. They report that exposure to citizens of different religious faiths may foster greater tolerance for religious practices and more support for free exercise by minority religious groups. Together, these four chapters provide a sustained analysis of this controversy and suggest what is unique about the American experiment in religious liberty, as well as what might be transferable to other contexts.
Each of these essays takes a position on the relationship between pluralism and religious freedom. Describing the current state of free exercise law as "unsettled and unsettling," George Garvey examines the major struggle over separation of powers and lawmaking authority that occurred between Congress and the Supreme Court in the aftermath of the Smith decision. In Smith, the Supreme Court opted for a standard that promotes neutrality of state laws at the price of protection of the rights of religious minorities (such as Native Americans). Congress tried to restore the old strict‑scrutiny doctrine in the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but its revised standard was too extreme in practice and was therefore overturned. Garvey proposes, as a more realistic principle, an intermediate standard of review that both values highly the rights of citizens to practice their faiths freely and simultaneously recognizes that majoritarian policies cannot be held hostage to every personal claim to religious exemption from the law.
In general, Garvey regards the tensions between the establishment and free exercise clauses as inherent and healthy in a complex society that is both intensely religious and highly diverse. He emphasizes that the ethnic and cultural pluralism resulting from immigration necessitates tolerance and religious freedom. Tolerance may be a reluctant duty, but it is a duty nonetheless.
The empirical study by Clyde Wilcox, Rachel Goldberg, and Ted Jelen addresses the issue of religious pluralism in more concrete fashion. Noting that Americans tend to be "abstract separationists but concrete accommodationists," they compare a 1993 survey of residents of the Washington, D.C., area with a similar survey conducted in 2000. Since the Washington metropolitan area is one of great and growing religious diversity, these two surveys seven years apart might provide a glimpse into how traditionally mainstream believers in the United States react to the advent of new faith groups in their communities.
The authors report that their data provide some support for the notion that "increased exposure to citizens with different religious faiths may foster greater tolerance for religious practices, and a concomitant decrease in support for public displays of majority religious symbols." At the same time, they are cautious in extrapolating from their study. As they note, the area surrounding the District of Columbia is not typical of the rest of the United States. In coastal cities, such as New York, Washington, or San Francisco, exposure to neighbors from outside the Judeo‑Christian tradition is rather common. However, in rural areas and in parts of the South or Middle West, social interaction with people whose religious beliefs differ fundamentally from one's own is much less common. So the opportunities for developing tolerance presented by religious pluralism do not obtain for all regions of the United States.
Bette Novit Evans takes the argument one step farther. She contends that religious liberty has succeeded in the United States because it is consistent with both the pluralism of its major political institutions and the diversity of American society and culture. On balance, then, pluralism is not only necessary but positively beneficial, because while it implies conflict, it also promotes liberty.
For Evans, the genius of the Framers in fashioning American constitutional arrangements lay in arranging multiple points of access to the nation's political institutions, providing citizens with many opportunities to remedy unfairness through the courts, legislatures, executive clemency, or administrative discretion. Thus the Supreme Court's departure, in Smith, from a strict‑scrutiny interpretation of the free exercise clause is not the end of the matter. There are always other opportunities to seek religious exemptions from otherwise neutral laws. As Evans recognizes, however, this does put the burden of protecting religious freedom on minorities themselves.
In contrast with Evans's more positive view, Ted Jelen focuses on the potential, inherent in a pluralistic society, for sectarian strife and church‑state conflict. He is somewhat dismayed by the fact that conflict over the proper relationship between church and state remains a permanent feature of politics in the United States. Disputes over religious freedom are never‑ending in the American context. Jelen regards this persistence of church‑state conflict as negative, because it contains an implicit, if not explicit, bias toward accommodation.
The problem with the unsettled nature of the debate in U.S. politics is that such dynamic tension has a definite accommodationist bias. That is, those Americans who assert rights with respect to the Establishment Clause are forced by the permanent nature of the church‑state debate to defend those rights over and over again. Such persons or groups are typically disadvantaged politically, and perhaps legally as well. The fact that religious rights are continually renegotiated in American politics often means that the politically weaker side (typically separationists) is forced to contest issues that religiously defined minorities would like to see settled.
Ultimately, Jelen sees this as an issue of equal freedom: the burden of proof falls regularly on those citizens (Native Americans, for example) whose beliefs lie outside the prevailing range of acceptability. By contrast, the fact that the American political system provides multiple access points for those who would accommodate the public expression of religious belief suggests that citizens holding mainstream beliefs are advantaged in the continuing church‑state debate. "Absent some sort of resolution of these issues, the religious rights of some citizens will remain `more equal' than those of others."
These contrasting views of the relation between pluralism and religious freedom in the United States indicate the importance of the Court's decision in Oregon v. Smith. If the American political system contains an implicit bias toward accommodating religious majorities, one might look to the courts to protect the freedom of religious minorities. If, on the other hand, the fragmented nature of the American political system offers many access points to advocates of religious freedom, the judicial system and juridical notions of strict scrutiny are not the only ways to protect minorities. Legislative action and administrative discretion might be adequate, as they were in the case of Capt. S. Simcha Goldman, an air force officer and an Orthodox Jew. l' At the same time, greater exposure to religious diversity (as for example, in the Washington metropolitan area) might conceivably change the attitudes of Americans, making them more tolerant of the religious customs of the ancient traditions of Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism now becoming more visible in the United States. Yet the findings of our authors (Wilcox et al.) suggest a cautiously realistic approach here.
These essays illuminate this fundamental debate about the freedom of religious minorities in the United States. Controversies over the First Amendment's religion clauses show no signs of abating. Paradoxically, these debates reinforce the nation's commitment to religious freedom. As E. J. Dionne notes, "Precisely because every generation of Americans has been willing to argue about it, we have managed not only to preserve but also to expand religious liberty.
What can these controversies about Smith and about the role of religion in the 2000 presidential election tell us about religion and politics in the United States? The essays in Part Two remind us that preserving the freedom of religious minorities remains a fundamental challenge in an increasingly pluralistic society. They tell us that religious freedom is a never‑ending struggle that the role of religion in public life must be renegotiated all the time; that Americans must work continually to reconcile the imperatives of belief and tolerance, discipleship and citizenship, faith and democracy, religious commitment and political obligation.
The impact of the 2000 election on religion and politics in the United States is less clear. Although candidates were willing to discuss their religious beliefs at length, they were silent about the policy implications of those beliefs. Many candidates used God‑talk to prove their bona fides on the character issue, while refusing to address substantive policy considerations on matters of deep importance to voters. Such a "stealth" campaign is a real disservice to voters, who must decide on the basis of hard information rather than cloudy mystification.
Of course, this strategy of obfuscation tells us much about coalition building in American elections and also a great deal about American religion how superficial it can be, and yet how powerful religious rhetoric can be in attracting support. If religious rhetoric seems effective in appealing to voters, it will continue to be used in American elections despite risks of superficiality, hypocrisy, and demagoguery. If this is the case, perhaps Lieberman's intelligent, forthright discussion of religion and politics was a substantial contribution to our political discourse.On the other hand, a case could be made that religious rhetoric is best left outside a presidential campaign. It cheapens religion and misguides voters, who are, after all, engaged in a process of democratic deliberation about officials and policies for all Americans, believers and nonbelievers.
National Guide to Funding in Religion edited by Jeffrey A. Falkenstein, Gina-Marie Cantarella (The Foundation Center) The Foundation Center provides the best source of basic information about Foundations for grants and other financial assistance for institutions and individuals. Outside of individual contributions Foundations are the chief means of philanthropy in the USA. Each edition has refined the indexes and the best format for finding Foundations that may fund a project or contribute to a cause.
In 2000, over 50,000 active private and community foundations in America awarded over $23.2 billion in grants to nonprofit organizations across the country and abroad. Corporate contributions for both companysponsored foundations (whose giving is included in the above $23.2 billion figure) and direct corporate giving programs amounted to approximately $3 billion. Although foundation and corporate donations represent but a small fraction of total philanthropic giving in the U.S., they are still a key source of support for many programs.
This volume is intended as a starting point for grantseekers looking for foundation, corporate and other charitable support in religion. It contains a total of 8,406 entries including 8,281 grantmaking foundations, 21 direct corporate giving programs and 104 public charities (including 50 community foundations) that have shown a substantial interest in religion, either as part of their stated fields of interest or through the actual grants of $10,000 or more reported to the Foundation Center in the latest year of record. Grants in Religion are listed for 429 of the foundations in this volume. These 10,815 grants represent almost $1.2 billion in support for a variety of programs benefitting religion, including religious welfare institutions, religious and theological schools, churches, synagogues and other religious assemblies, and missionary societies.
Each entry in the Guide was carefully evaluated by Foundation Center staff to ensure that the grantmaker possesses a sufficient interest in religion, either stated or demonstrated. Often, a grantmaker claims interest not only programs related to religion but in dozens of widely diverse fields. To determine if inclusion in this Guide is warranted in such cases, consideration is given to the grantmaker's purpose statement, giving limitations, and, if they exist, subject-related grants. Grantseekers should be aware that inclusion does not imply that these grantmakers will consider all programs in religion.
Keep in mind that some grantmakers support particular programs because of their interest in a specific community or organization. Others may do so because the program relates to a highly specific subject interest of the grantmaker, such as theological education, church and temple support, or religious federated giving
programs. Still others are interested in building the capacity of nonprofit institutions by providing specific types of support such as operating costs or challenge grants. Grantseekers are therefore urged to read each foundation and corporate giving program description carefully to determine the nature of the grantmaker's interests and to note any restrictions on giving that would prevent the grantmaker from considering their proposal. MORE
Since 1989 the Foundation Center has used a Grants Classification System (GCS) based on the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE), a comprehensive organizational coding scheme developed by the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) that was adopted by the IRS in 1995. The GCS builds on the NTEE and is used by the Center to provide subject, types of support, and other grants information both online through two DIALOG files (a product of Knight-Ridder Information Services) and in print through The Foundation Grants index and related publications.
Introduction: Foundation and Corporate Support in Religion; More Precise Indexing What Is a Foundation? Grantseeking from Foundations; Grantseeking from Corporations; Sources of Information; Analysis of Foundation Support in Religion; How to Use the National Guide to Funding in Religion; Glossary; Bibliography of Funding in Religion; Resources of the Foundation Center; The Foundation Center Cooperating Collections; Descriptive Directory
Indexes: Index to Donors, Officers, Trustees; Geographic Index; Types of Support Index; Index to Grantmaker by Subject; Index to Grants by Subject; Grantmaker Name Index
The Influence of Faith by Elliott Abrams (Rowman & Littlefield) Realists have long argued that the international system must be based on hard calculations of power and interest. But in recent years, religion's role on the international scene has grown. "The Influence of Faith" examines religion as a growing factor in world politics and U.S. foreign policy. Particular attention is placed on the American reaction to the persecution of Christians and Jews overseas, as well as the role of faith-based groups such as missionary and relief organizations in the formulation and implementation of U.S. policy. "The Influence of Faith" considers these timely issues from diverse points of view, offering broad historical analysis as well as concrete examples taken from current affairs. Elliott Abrams is the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
In God We Trust? Religion and American Political Life edited by Corwin E. Smidt (Baker Academic) The important role religion has historically played and the influence it continues to have on American civil life and politics is neglected by most introductory political science texts. In God We Trust? is a supplement to the American political story for students interested in exploring the relationship between religion and American politics in greater depth.
This volume is uniquely structured to parallel the most commonly used political science textbooks. Thus, for each standard chapter on American politics (e.g., "American Political Culture," "Public Opinion," "Congress") there is a corresponding chapter in this volume that focuses on the relationship between religion and that particular topic.
In God We Trust? is the latest addition to the Renewed Minds imprint
published in partnership with the Council for Christian Colleges and
From George Washington to George W. Bush, religion has historically played an important role and continues to have a significant influence on American civil life and politics. In God We Trust? supplements this fascinating American political story for those interested in exploring the relationship between religion and American politics in greater depth.
Uniquely structured to parallel commonly used political science textbooks In God We Trust? demonstrates the role of religion in relationship to the various aspects of American politics. Prominent scholars offer historical perspectives and contemporary insights into the past, present, and future relationship of Christianity and American political life.Contents: 1. Differing Perspectives on Politics across Religious Traditions in American History -- J. Christopher Soper, Pepperdine University
Education, Religion, and the Common Good: Advancing a Distinctly American Conversation About Religion's Role in Our Shared Life by Martin E. Marty
The preeminent authority on religion in America advances an important public dialogue on the proper role of religion in educating and forming the next generation within a pluralist society.
Education, Religion, and the Common Good, Marty draws a nuanced picture of
the interrelationship between religious and educational concerns, from preschool
through graduate school, showing just how fuzzy the boundaries are between them.
Our logic about what is appropriate changes with the age of the student, he
says, and takes into account the fact that small children tend to fuse belief
and learning, while college students are able to make critical distinctions.
Nonetheless, he argues strongly that the proper study of religion is a positive
good, even at the elementary levels, if for no other reason than that, in our
pluralistic culture, no child or young adult can avoid encounters that challenge
his or her beliefs-and that such encounters are more likely to contribute to our
society's health if they are educated encounters. Intended not as the last word
on the subject, but as an invitation to a nationwide discussion, this important
book is sure to stimulate serious and productive debate.
MARTIN E. MARTY is professor emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he taught for 35 years. An ordained minister and author of more than 50 books, he is contributing editor of Christian Century and a frequent media commentator on American religion. He lives in Riverside, Illinois.
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