The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion.

The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion. – book reviews

Tonya Bolden

All too often when associates, believers only in themselves, discover that I’m a Christian, I get a shocked look that scoffs, “Why, I would have thought you too intelligently for that.”

Well I’m not. And neither i Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter. who, in The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion, urge secular types to not be so quick to reach for stones when God-believing folk speak up. Carter isn’t calling for mere tolerance, but for respect and the recognition that religious perspectives are valuable.

Religion, as he puts it, “can serve as the sources of moral understanding without which any majoritarian system can deteriorate into simple tyranny, and, second they can mediate between the citizen and the apparatus of government, providing an independent moral voice.”

What gives this book its heart is the newsroom-to-courtroom dissing of the religious (from adherents of Native American religions to Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christians). What gives the book balance is that Carter doesn’t deny the wrongs committed and supported in the name of God (such as slavery), nor does he hold his tongue with regard to the errors of those who put “God-talk” to unholy ends (Pat Buchanan at the 1992 Republican National Convention).

The Culture of Disbelief is a wake-up call to the antireligious among the politically liberal. Its main message? If you Claim to be an advocate of diversity and democracy, yet ridicule believers in God, you are a hypocrite. Whether liberals listen up, Carter makes the case that to be both a person of reason and religious is not an oxymoron.

COPYRIGHT 1994 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group