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Sacred Liberty: America's Long, Bloody,…
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Sacred Liberty: America's Long, Bloody, and Ongoing Struggle for… (vuoden 2019 painos)

– tekijä: Steven Waldman (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
482433,600 (4.4)-
Sacred Liberty offers a dramatic, sweeping survey of how America built a unique model of religious freedom, perhaps the nation's "greatest invention." Steven Waldman, the bestselling author of Founding Faith, shows how early ideas about religious liberty were tested and refined amidst the brutal persecution of Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, Quakers, African slaves, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses. American leaders drove religious freedom forward--figures like James Madison, George Washington, the World War II presidents (Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower) and even George W. Bush.  But the biggest heroes were the regular Americans - people like Mary Dyer, Marie Barnett and W.D. Mohammed -- who risked their lives or reputations by demanding to practice their faiths freely.  Just as the documentary Eyes on the Prize captured the rich drama of the civil rights movement, Sacred Liberty brings to life the remarkable story of how America became one of the few nations in world history that has religious freedom, diversity and high levels of piety at the same time. Finally, Sacred Liberty provides a roadmap for how, in the face of modern threats to religious freedom, this great achievement can be preserved.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:Dgryan1
Teoksen nimi:Sacred Liberty: America's Long, Bloody, and Ongoing Struggle for Religious Freedom
Kirjailijat:Steven Waldman (Tekijä)
Info:HarperOne (2019), Edition: Illustrated, 416 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
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Sacred Liberty: America's Long, Bloody, and Ongoing Struggle for Religious Freedom (tekijä: Steven Waldman)

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Summary: Rather than a given of American religious history, religious liberty has often been honored more in the breach, and fought for by religious minorities excluded from this liberty.

One of the mythologies of American history was the commitment from the beginnings of the American experiment to religious liberty, beginning with the earliest Pilgrim and Puritan settlers. The reality was actually quite different. Stephen Waldman traces the struggle for religious liberty beginning with the case of Mary Dyer, branded a Puritan heretic for participating in Anne Hutchinson's Bible studies and eventually becoming a Quaker. On June 1, 1660, she was hung on the Boston Common for her faith. In America.

As the colonies developed, a religious patchwork also developed with particular bodies sanctioned by the state, and others struggling for existence, often restricted by while funding the state-supported churches, Anglicans in one colony, Congregationalists in another. The Baptists seemed to have to fight for their rights everywhere. These religious divisions were submerged during the Revolution, with even Catholics receiving a measure of toleration. Real steps forward were taken with the advocacy of Thomas Jefferson, after his correspondence with the Danbury Baptists, and the genius insight of Madison that the best way to foster religious vitality was to take government out of the business of establishing religion or in any way prohibiting its free exercise. Enshrined in the First Amendment, it was a first major step toward religious freedom--at the federal level. No one had yet applied this to individual states.

The states would follow later, unleashing a fervor of religious activity, confirming Madison's wisdom. But this at first only applied to Protestants. The arriving Catholic immigrants faced prejudice at different periods, including at one point, opposition from the Klan who expanded their white exclusivism to "100 percent Americans," excluding Catholics from eastern and southern Europe. Likewise, the tribal religions of slaves were exterminated for a Christianity that liberated the soul but held the body captive. Mormons would pose another challenge, with their strange beliefs and polygamy. They would be murdered and driven out of state after state until finding refuge in Utah. Eventually their liberties were recognized with the concession to monogamous marriage. Native peoples also had their own religions, but as they were subjugated, they were forced into residential schools. The aim was to "Kill the Indian, Christianize the Man." Only in 1978 did Congress pass legislation protecting their religious rights. Then it was the Jehovah's Witnesses, and their refusal to salute the American flag, which led to the application of First Amendment freedoms at the state and local level.

In more recent years, following World War 2, Waldman traces the Judeo-Christian alliance in public life, He traces the increasing presence of the Supreme Court in religious liberty cases, the influx of people representing the other major world religions--Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism and modern developments that have led to Evangelical and Catholic alliances, attacks on Islam, the conversion of a religious majority into a "persecuted" religious minority whose religious liberty needs protection.

One question Waldman leaves us with is how religious liberty extends to practices that may have impact on the public good, for example, the case of polygamy, or medical treatment when a child's life is at risk. Must pharmacists dispense medications that violate their conscience or bakers or photographers accept clients whose views of marriage they disagree with? In these latter cases, Waldman seems to encourage common sense accommodations rather than laws or court rulings. Of course, this assumes a pluralistic marketplace, a condition that does not exist in all communities.

One question Waldman did not address, other than in school prayer discussions, is the protection of the belief and liberty those who believe there is no God. Atheists have also been subject to persecution and discrimination and a chapter addressing the protection of their freedom of conscience, something not explicitly included in the First Amendment, unless one defines atheism as a religion, would have been worth discussing.

A recurring theme is that religious liberty often has been the preserve of the religion in power and minorities had to fight for the extension of those rights to them. Waldman demonstrates the genius of Madison and the First Amendment in fostering a vibrant religious landscape. Part of the key was that he realized that political power would sooner or later have a corrupting influence on the religion. The best test of a religion's veracity was its ability to convince prospective followers without compulsion. The best way to protect a nation from religious conflict was to determinedly protect the freedom of conscience for all.

This is an important book that underscores the wisdom of applying the First Amendment consistently. To protect the religious freedom of any of us is to protect that of all of us. The real test of religious freedom is, will we defend the liberties of those with whom we disagree or even consider heretical by our own standards? Sadly, our story is too often one of attacking rather than defending the rights of those with whom we differ. For all that, Madison's wisdom has proven itself over time. Will we reflect upon that and continue to preserve this distinctive "first freedom?" ( )
  BobonBooks | Jun 7, 2020 |
The United States supposedly has freedom of religion. This is built directly into the Constitution. Now I say supposedly due to the fact that there has usually been friction between different faiths. This is due to the interests of a majority group that takes over and dominates the scene. This is an unusual situation. Usually, a country had an established State-sponsored religion that was supported with tax dollars. The United States led by James Madison decided to do away with that idea. Rather than a state-sponsored religion that has political power, Madison thought it would be better to have a free market situation where people could choose what religion to be.

Throughout the history of the United States, we have had several religions that it was popular to hate. From the Puritans despising the Quakers and Baptists to the modern era of people hating Islam and the Muslim peoples, Steven Waldman approaches the situations with sympathy and understanding. Pretty much every religion out there was threatened at one time or another, either in reality or in their constituents imaginations.

So Waldman explains that rather than everyone automatically accepting everyone else, the United States has had a series of pariah religions. As I mentioned, it began with the Baptists and Quakers. Then they had enough followers to not be a minority anymore. The Catholics were also considered to be some kind of devilish agent of Satan. I remember hearing about this when I was in school. Back when John F Kennedy was running for president, he had a huge demerit due to the fact that he was Roman Catholic. For some reason, people imagined that he would be a puppet of the Pope and that Rome would be pulling the strings. This is a ridiculous idea.

In our modern era, we mostly rally against and satirize and demonize the Muslim people. This is due to the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the other attacks in other countries. The unusual thing about this is that the American people conflate American Muslims with Muslims of other countries. It is true that they follow the pillars of Islam, but that is where the similarities end. Also, with hatred being fueled by imagination, we have people thinking that the Muslims are all misogynist, even in America. This is an unfair assessment and Waldman goes into this in-depth.

This book was excellent. Initially, I had my doubts, but they were quickly banished by Waldman’s writing. It also touches close to home since I consider myself an atheist and where else could I exist safely without the protections granted to me by the Constitution? So, while I think the idea of God is a bit silly, I can’t exactly go and dissuade people from their belief. In the same vein, I could attempt to run for political office, but I don’t see myself winning considering my beliefs or lack thereof. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Sep 19, 2019 |
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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Sacred Liberty offers a dramatic, sweeping survey of how America built a unique model of religious freedom, perhaps the nation's "greatest invention." Steven Waldman, the bestselling author of Founding Faith, shows how early ideas about religious liberty were tested and refined amidst the brutal persecution of Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, Quakers, African slaves, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses. American leaders drove religious freedom forward--figures like James Madison, George Washington, the World War II presidents (Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower) and even George W. Bush.  But the biggest heroes were the regular Americans - people like Mary Dyer, Marie Barnett and W.D. Mohammed -- who risked their lives or reputations by demanding to practice their faiths freely.  Just as the documentary Eyes on the Prize captured the rich drama of the civil rights movement, Sacred Liberty brings to life the remarkable story of how America became one of the few nations in world history that has religious freedom, diversity and high levels of piety at the same time. Finally, Sacred Liberty provides a roadmap for how, in the face of modern threats to religious freedom, this great achievement can be preserved.

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