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Bleached Faith: The Tragic Cost When Religion Is Forced into the Public Square Hardcover – Feb 19 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Law Books (Feb. 19 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804758611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804758611
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,858,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Bleached Faith is a useful primer to some of the recent church/state debates."—Jerome E. Copulsky, Politics and Religion

"Brilliantly written, passionately argued, and sincerely unbiased, the book is a clarion call to restrain the billboarding of religion."—Library Journal

"With a journalist's clarity and a lawyer's precision, Steven Goldberg shows what we've lost in the legal battles over religion's place in the public sphere—a serious commitment to what makes religion important."—Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School, author of A Court Divided: The Rehnquist Court and the Future of Constitutional Law

"Accessible to any reader, but with insights for experts as well, Bleached Faith is a richly informed and frankly personal meditation about the importance of spiritual conviction in society. Steven Goldberg—long an important voice in questions of the relationships among religion, science, and the law—carefully surveys how courts have tried to mediate conflicts between the Constitution and those who want more religion in the public square. Anyone who wants to understand the fault line between church and state will be enriched by this book."—Dennis J. Hutchinson, University of Chicago Law School, author of The Man Who Once Was Whizzer White

"Steven Goldberg has written a book for anyone concerned about American religion and its ill-conceived push into the public square. Bleached Faith is a powerful, cautionary tale." —Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., Executive Director, Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, and Professor of Law, Santa Clara University
"Though the broad argument [this book] advances is not new, some of the evidence presented is based on very current issues, such as the discussion of Intelligent Design. The Court's jurisprudence in this area remains highly contested, and I think this book provides a useful counterweight to those who oppose the separation principle." —Caren Dubnoff, College of the Holy Cross

About the Author

Steven Goldberg, author of Seduced By Science: How American Religion Has Lost Its Way (2000), is Professor of Law at Georgetown University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa2d830fc) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa590c930) out of 5 stars Well Reasoned Nov. 9 2008
By Bert Krages - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book approaches the issue of separation of church and state from the point of view that such separation is positive (and almost essential) for the protection of religious values. The author offers a well-reasoned point of view that comes from a different angle than most books discussing this issue. This viewpoint is supported by arguments showing that the constitutional conditions placed on public displays of religious symbols cheapens them through secularization and that efforts to promote curricula such as intelligent design denigrate religion and have the practical effect of casting religion in a disparaging light. Anyone who is interested in the discourse of religion and government should read this book because it is offers the perspective that subjecting religion into the governmental sphere is more likely to harm religion than promote it.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa590c624) out of 5 stars Lots of great information but a naive analysis May 13 2009
By David J. Moreau - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book and the way it presents past court cases, but this was tainted with the author's naive understanding of religion. The author wants the varied religions to view the role of religion the way he does, but clearly all the litigation shows they don't. The author also repeatedly speaks of how religions discuss issues that science can't, but he never mentions the role of ethics, which do quite fine functioning without religion. This allows him to assume that religion has a privileged position. He also focuses on answers to big questions as the role of religion, which seems far more analytical a role than the emotional role that religion plays for most.

The author also seems to reject as misguided the actual religious doctrines that Americans believe in. If an individual believes in the literal interpretation of Genesis and that their god wants a theocracy, then the things that cheapen the author's conception of religion begin to seem sensible in the context of fundamentalist's disturbing view. The author repeatedly states why he feels religion is valuable, yet he is describing a religion that many religious Americans don't practice.

What I found most objectionable in the author's analysis is his use of terms like "meaningful religion" and his claim that religion is a guardian of "timeless faith and values." "Meaningful religion" is nonsensical, since he gives no argument to show that the religion he supports is meaningful and the religion he likely wouldn't, like Biblical genocides and oppression of women in certain theocracies, isn't meaningful. The idea that religion is a guardian of timeless faith and values shows a serious disconnect from any understanding of history and theology. It is the development of ethics and humanism that has tempered the xenophobia, oppression, genocides, and judgmental nature of the roots of our former religions. It is just as easy to say that it is the secular ethicist who needs to guard human values against the dangers of religious belief.
HASH(0xa394b33c) out of 5 stars Church/State separation Aug. 26 2013
By Charlie Foxtrot - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good book for the lay person interested in separation of church and state. Now they want seven more words when I've said all I care to on this review.