American Secularism Book

American Secularism

  • Author : Joseph O. Baker
  • Publisher : NYU Press
  • Release Date : 2015-09-25
  • Genre: History
  • Pages : 303
  • ISBN 10 : 9781479867417

American Secularism Excerpt :

A rapidly growing number of Americans are embracing life outside the bounds of organized religion. Although America has long been viewed as a fervently Christian nation, survey data show that more and more Americans identify as "not religious." American Secularism documents how changes to American society have fueled these shifts in the (non)religious landscape and examines the diverse and dynamic world of secular Americans. Baker and Smith offer a framework for understanding nonreligious belief systems as worldviews in their own right, rather than merely as negations of religion. Drawing on multiple sources of empirical data, this volume explores how people make meaning outside of organized religion, outlines multiple expressions of secular identity, and connects these self-expressions to patterns of family formation, socialization, social class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Further, the authors demonstrate how shifts in secularisms reflect changes in the political meanings of religion in American culture. Ultimately, American Secularism offers a more comprehensive sociological understanding of worldviews beyond traditional religion. -- from back cover.

This Earthly Frame Book

This Earthly Frame

  • Author : David Sehat
  • Publisher : Yale University Press
  • Release Date : 2022
  • Genre: RELIGION
  • Pages : 343
  • ISBN 10 : 9780300244212

This Earthly Frame Excerpt :

"This Earthly Frame is a sweeping, path-breaking history of public secularism's rise and fall in the United States from Jefferson to Trump. Narrating the stories of a diverse cast of characters-from the founding fathers and Henry Ward Beecher to Fanny Wright, Robert Ingersoll, and Jehovah's Witnesses-David Sehat explores the tensions at the heart of American political and religious history. The U.S. has a national constitution that does not acknowledge God, but Christian ideas have still suffused American life, making the country one of the central sites in the wider disagreements about how religion and governance should be related. Sehat stresses that the story of American secularism is one of religious and non-religious alliance; religious advocacy was vital to secularism's success. Religious and non-religious Jews, liberal Protestants, apocalyptic sects like the Jehovah's Witness, and anti-religious activists-all used the courts and the constitutional language of the First Amendment to create the secular order. The religious and the non-religious alike supported secularism as a solution to social conflict. But in the last fifty years, many religious conservatives have turned against secularism and spoken instead of the importance of their religious freedom. Avoiding both polemic and lament, This Earthly Frame offers a powerful reinterpretation of American secularism and a clear framework for understanding the religiously infused conflict of the present"--

Secularism in Antebellum America Book

Secularism in Antebellum America

  • Author : John Lardas Modern
  • Publisher : University of Chicago Press
  • Release Date : 2011-11-11
  • Genre: History
  • Pages : 352
  • ISBN 10 : 9780226533254

Secularism in Antebellum America Excerpt :

Ghosts. Railroads. Sing Sing. Sex machines. These are just a few of the phenomena that appear in John Lardas Modern’s pioneering account of religion and society in nineteenth-century America. This book uncovers surprising connections between secular ideology and the rise of technologies that opened up new ways of being religious. Exploring the eruptions of religion in New York’s penny presses, the budding fields of anthropology and phrenology, and Moby-Dick, Modern challenges the strict separation between the religious and the secular that remains integral to discussions about religion today. Modern frames his study around the dread, wonder, paranoia, and manic confidence of being haunted, arguing that experiences and explanations of enchantment fueled secularism’s emergence. The awareness of spectral energies coincided with attempts to tame the unruly fruits of secularism—in the cultivation of a spiritual self among Unitarians, for instance, or in John Murray Spear’s erotic longings for a perpetual motion machine. Combining rigorous theoretical inquiry with beguiling historical arcana, Modern unsettles long-held views of religion and the methods of narrating its past.

Freethinkers Book
Score: 4
From 21 Ratings


  • Author : Susan Jacoby
  • Publisher : Metropolitan Books
  • Release Date : 2005-01-07
  • Genre: Religion
  • Pages : 432
  • ISBN 10 : 9781429934756

Freethinkers Excerpt :

An authoritative history of the vital role of secularist thinkers and activists in the United States, from a writer of "fierce intelligence and nimble, unfettered imagination" (The New York Times) At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the authority of religion but on the bedrock of human reason. In impassioned, elegant prose, celebrated author Susan Jacoby paints a striking portrait of more than two hundred years of secularist activism, beginning with the fierce debate over the omission of God from the Constitution. Moving from nineteenth-century abolitionism and suffragism through the twentieth century's civil liberties, civil rights, and feminist movements, Freethinkers illuminates the neglected accomplishments of secularists who, allied with liberal and tolerant religious believers, have stood at the forefront of the battle for reforms opposed by reactionary forces in the past and today. Rich with such iconic figures as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Clarence Darrow—as well as once-famous secularists such as Robert Green Ingersoll, "the Great Agnostic"—Freethinkers restores to history generations of dedicated humanists. It is they, Jacoby shows, who have led the struggle to uphold the combination of secular government and religious liberty that is the glory of the American system.

Sincerely Held Book

Sincerely Held

  • Author : Charles McCrary
  • Publisher : University of Chicago Press
  • Release Date : 2022-04-08
  • Genre: Law
  • Pages : 304
  • ISBN 10 : 9780226817941

Sincerely Held Excerpt :

A novel account of the relationship between sincerity, religious freedom, and the secular in the United States. “Sincerely held religious belief” is now a common phrase in discussions of American religious freedom, from opinions handed down by the US Supreme Court to local controversies. The “sincerity test” of religious belief has become a cornerstone of US jurisprudence, framing what counts as legitimate grounds for First Amendment claims in the eyes of the law. In Sincerely Held, Charles McCrary provides an original account of how sincerely held religious belief became the primary standard for determining what legally counts as authentic religion. McCrary skillfully traces the interlocking histories of American sincerity, religion, and secularism starting in the mid-nineteenth century. He analyzes a diverse archive, including Herman Melville’s novel The Confidence-Man, vice-suppressing police, Spiritualist women accused of being fortune-tellers, eclectic conscientious objectors, secularization theorists, Black revolutionaries, and anti-LGBTQ litigants. Across this history, McCrary reveals how sincerity and sincerely held religious belief developed as technologies of secular governance, determining what does and doesn’t entitle a person to receive protections from the state. This fresh analysis of secularism in the United States invites further reflection on the role of sincerity in public life and religious studies scholarship, asking why sincerity has come to matter so much in a supposedly “post-truth” era.

Race and Secularism in America Book

Race and Secularism in America

  • Author : Jonathon S. Kahn
  • Publisher : Columbia University Press
  • Release Date : 2016-03-01
  • Genre: Religion
  • Pages : 304
  • ISBN 10 : 9780231541275

Race and Secularism in America Excerpt :

This anthology draws bold comparisons between secularist strategies to contain, privatize, and discipline religion and the treatment of racialized subjects by the American state. Specializing in history, literature, anthropology, theology, religious studies, and political theory, contributors expose secularism's prohibitive practices in all facets of American society and suggest opportunities for change.

The Church of Saint Thomas Paine Book

The Church of Saint Thomas Paine

  • Author : Leigh Eric Schmidt
  • Publisher : Princeton University Press
  • Release Date : 2021-11-02
  • Genre: Biography & Autobiography
  • Pages : 268
  • ISBN 10 : 9780691217253

The Church of Saint Thomas Paine Excerpt :

The forgotten story of the nineteenth-century freethinkers and twentieth-century humanists who tried to build their own secular religion In The Church of Saint Thomas Paine, Leigh Eric Schmidt tells the surprising story of how freethinking liberals in nineteenth-century America promoted a secular religion of humanity centered on the deistic revolutionary Thomas Paine (1737–1809) and how their descendants eventually became embroiled in the culture wars of the late twentieth century. After Paine’s remains were stolen from his grave in New Rochelle, New York, and shipped to England in 1819, the reverence of his American disciples took a material turn in a long search for his relics. Paine’s birthday was always a red-letter day for these believers in democratic cosmopolitanism and philanthropic benevolence, but they expanded their program to include a broader array of rites and ceremonies, particularly funerals free of Christian supervision. They also worked to establish their own churches and congregations in which to practice their religion of secularism. All of these activities raised serious questions about the very definition of religion and whether it included nontheistic fellowships and humanistic associations—a dispute that erupted again in the second half of the twentieth century. As right-wing Christians came to see secular humanism as the most dangerous religion imaginable, small communities of religious humanists, the heirs of Paine’s followers, were swept up in new battles about religion’s public contours and secularism’s moral perils. An engrossing account of an important but little-known chapter in American history, The Church of Saint Thomas Paine reveals why the lines between religion and secularism are often much blurrier than we imagine.

Secular Surge Book

Secular Surge

  • Author : David E. Campbell
  • Publisher : Cambridge University Press
  • Release Date : 2020-12-03
  • Genre: History
  • Pages : 269
  • ISBN 10 : 9781108831130

Secular Surge Excerpt :

Many Americans are turning away from religion. Will a Secular Left rise to counter the Religious Right?

Church  State  and the Crisis in American Secularism Book

Church State and the Crisis in American Secularism

  • Author : Bruce Ledewitz
  • Publisher : Indiana University Press
  • Release Date : 2011-06-01
  • Genre: Law
  • Pages : 312
  • ISBN 10 : 9780253001368

Church State and the Crisis in American Secularism Excerpt :

Since 1947, the Supreme Court has promised government neutrality toward religion, but in a nation whose motto is "In God We Trust" and which pledges allegiance to "One Nation under God," the public square is anything but neutral -- a paradox not lost on a rapidly secularizing America and a point of contention among those who identify all expressions of religion by government as threats to a free society. Yeshiva student turned secularist, Bruce Ledewitz seeks common ground for believers and nonbelievers regarding the law of church and state. He argues that allowing government to promote higher law values through the use of religious imagery would resolve the current impasse in the interpretation of the Establishment Clause. It would offer secularism an escape from its current tendency toward relativism in its dismissal of all that religion represents and encourage a deepening of the expression of meaning in the public square without compromising secular conceptions of government.

Make Yourselves Gods Book

Make Yourselves Gods

  • Author : Peter Coviello
  • Publisher : University of Chicago Press
  • Release Date : 2019-11-13
  • Genre: Religion
  • Pages : 304
  • ISBN 10 : 9780226474472

Make Yourselves Gods Excerpt :

From the perspective of Protestant America, nineteenth-century Mormons were the victims of a peculiar zealotry, a population deranged––socially, sexually, even racially––by the extravagances of belief they called “religion.” Make Yourselves Gods offers a counter-history of early Mormon theology and practice, tracking the Saints from their emergence as a dissident sect to their renunciation of polygamy at century’s end. Over these turbulent decades, Mormons would appear by turns as heretics, sex-radicals, refugees, anti-imperialists, colonizers, and, eventually, reluctant monogamists and enfranchised citizens. Reading Mormonism through a synthesis of religious history, political theology, native studies, and queer theory, Peter Coviello deftly crafts a new framework for imagining orthodoxy, citizenship, and the fate of the flesh in nineteenth-century America. What emerges is a story about the violence, wild beauty, and extravagant imaginative power of this era of Mormonism—an impassioned book with a keen interest in the racial history of sexuality and the unfinished business of American secularism.

Culture and Redemption Book

Culture and Redemption

  • Author : Tracy Fessenden
  • Publisher : Princeton University Press
  • Release Date : 2011-06-27
  • Genre: Religion
  • Pages : 352
  • ISBN 10 : 9781400837304

Culture and Redemption Excerpt :

Many Americans wish to believe that the United States, founded in religious tolerance, has gradually and naturally established a secular public sphere that is equally tolerant of all religions--or none. Culture and Redemption suggests otherwise. Tracy Fessenden contends that the uneven separation of church and state in America, far from safeguarding an arena for democratic flourishing, has functioned instead to promote particular forms of religious possibility while containing, suppressing, or excluding others. At a moment when questions about the appropriate role of religion in public life have become trenchant as never before, Culture and Redemption radically challenges conventional depictions--celebratory or damning--of America's "secular" public sphere. Examining American legal cases, children's books, sermons, and polemics together with popular and classic works of literature from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, Culture and Redemption shows how the vaunted secularization of American culture proceeds not as an inevitable by-product of modernity, but instead through concerted attempts to render dominant forms of Protestant identity continuous with democratic, civil identity. Fessenden shows this process to be thoroughly implicated, moreover, in practices of often-violent exclusion that go to the making of national culture: Indian removals, forced acculturations of religious and other minorities, internal and external colonizations, and exacting constructions of sex and gender. Her new readings of Emerson, Whitman, Melville, Stowe, Twain, Gilman, Fitzgerald, and others who address themselves to these dynamics in intricate and often unexpected ways advance a major reinterpretation of American writing.

American Secularism Book

American Secularism

  • Author : Joseph O. Baker
  • Publisher : NYU Press
  • Release Date : 2015-09-25
  • Genre: History
  • Pages : 304
  • ISBN 10 : 9781479896875

American Secularism Excerpt :

Honorable Mention, American Sociological Association Section on Religion Distinguished Book Award A rapidly growing number of Americans are embracing life outside the bounds of organized religion. Although America has long been viewed as a fervently religious Christian nation, survey data shows that more and more Americans are identifying as “not religious.” There are more non-religious Americans than ever before, yet social scientists have not adequately studied or typologized secularities, and the lived reality of secular individuals in America has not been astutely analyzed. American Secularism documents how changes to American society have fueled these shifts in the non-religious landscape and examines the diverse and dynamic world of secular Americans. This volume offers a theoretical framework for understanding secularisms. It explores secular Americans’ thought and practice to understand secularisms as worldviews in their own right, not just as negations of religion. Drawing on empirical data, the authors examine how people live secular lives and make meaning outside of organized religion. Joseph O. Baker and Buster G. Smith link secularities to broader issues of social power and organization, providing an empirical and cultural perspective on the secular landscape. In so doing, they demonstrate that shifts in American secularism are reflective of changes in the political meanings of “religion” in American culture. American Secularism addresses the contemporary lived reality of secular individuals, outlining forms of secular identity and showing their connection to patterns of family formation, sexuality, and politics, providing scholars of religion with a more comprehensive understanding of worldviews that do not include traditional religion. Data Analyses Appendix

Secularism  The Basics Book

Secularism The Basics

  • Author : Jacques Berlinerblau
  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Release Date : 2021-12-31
  • Genre: Religion
  • Pages : 220
  • ISBN 10 : 9781000523423

Secularism The Basics Excerpt :

Secularism: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to confusing and contradictory public discussions of secularism across the globe. “Secularism” must be the most confused and convoluted term in the entire global political lexicon. From New York to Paris, to Istanbul, to Addis Ababa, to New Delhi, to Montevideo, there are countless examples of politicians, religious leaders and journalists, invoking the S-word in heated debates about public education, gender, sex, national symbols, and artistic freedom. In this lively and lucid book, Jacques Berlinerblau addresses why secularism is defined in so many ways and why it so ignites people’s passions. In so doing, he explores the following important questions: What does secularism mean? Why should we care about this idea? What are the different types of secularism and what are their histories? What are the basic principles of political secularisms? Why are secularism and Atheism often confused? What is the relationship between secularism and LGBTQ rights? What opposition are secularisms up against? What does the future hold for a concept millennia in the making, but only really operationalized in the twentieth century? With a glossary of key terms, case studies, informative tables, and suggestions for further reading throughout, the book considers key philosophical, religious, anti-religious, post-modern and post-colonial arguments around secularism. This book is an ideal starting point for anyone seeking a readable introduction to the often-conflicting interpretations of one of our era’s most complex and controversial ideas.

The Future of Religious Freedom Book

The Future of Religious Freedom

  • Author : Allen D. Hertzke
  • Publisher : Oxford University Press
  • Release Date : 2013
  • Genre: Political Science
  • Pages : 385
  • ISBN 10 : 9780199930890

The Future of Religious Freedom Excerpt :

Based on a symposium held in Istanbul, Turkey.

Secularists  Religion and Government in Nineteenth Century America Book

Secularists Religion and Government in Nineteenth Century America

  • Author : Timothy Verhoeven
  • Publisher : Springer
  • Release Date : 2018-12-19
  • Genre: History
  • Pages : 286
  • ISBN 10 : 9783030028770

Secularists Religion and Government in Nineteenth Century America Excerpt :

This book shows how, through a series of fierce battles over Sabbath laws, legislative chaplains, Bible-reading in public schools and other flashpoints, nineteenth-century secularists mounted a powerful case for a separation of religion and government. Among their diverse ranks were religious skeptics, liberal Protestants, members of minority faiths, labor reformers and defenders of slavery. Drawing on popular petitions to Congress, a neglected historical source, the book explores how this secularist mobilization gathered energy at the grassroots level. The nineteenth century is usually seen as the golden age of an informal Protestant establishment. Timothy Verhoeven demonstrates that, far from being crushed by an evangelical juggernaut, secularists harnessed a range of cultural forces—the legacy of the Revolutionary founders, hostility to Catholicism, a belief in national exceptionalism and more—to argue that the United States was not a Christian nation, branding their opponents as fanatics who threatened both democratic liberties as well as true religion.