Reverend Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) and United Church of Christ minister, has long been a leader in the fight to maintain Thomas Jefferson's 'wall of separation' between Church and State. Piety & Politics is Lynn's effort to describe the state of this fight (in 2006) as the Religious Right expands its attacks on the vital separation.
Lynn opens the book with a bit of history of the concept of freedom of religion with a focus on the United States. He firmly establishes that, despite his own belief in a Christian worldview, he is utterly opposed to religious intrusion into public education. Being personally involved in numerous lawsuits (as the director of AUSCS), Lynn has a fascinating perspective of the fight, including that over Ten Commandments displays on public property.
The George W. Bush creation of faith-based initiatives is attacked head on, and hypocrites such as Pat Robertson and the deceased Jerry Falwell are exposed on the issue. Lynn then goes into the Religious Right's war on sex and sex education, and uses the issue to show how divisive and descructive abstinence-only and poor sex education have created worse problems. Finally, censorship is discussed, and Lynn makes it clear that information must be freely available even when many, if not most, people in the affected area disagree with the ideas (Lynn himself argues that books by Falwell, Robertson, and others should be stocked in libraries even though he personally does not agree with many of their views).
Theocracy is a dangerous political system, one which the Christian minister Lynn has no desire to see become reality in this nation. It is clear, though, from Lynn's experience, that Religious Right leaders are focused on bringing theocratic policies and organizations to power in this country, and it is only through exposing and directly challenging these movements can the nation's commitment to freedom of religion be maintained. Highly recommended to anyone interested in how the modern Religious Right strategies are affecting everything from education to politics. Four stars.
(posted on my blog: davenichols.net