Right to Be Wrong : Ending the Culture War Over Religion in America

By: KEVIN SEAMUS HASSON

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Seeking to outline 'a robust religious freedom for all,' Seamus Hasson-a lawyer and founder of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (a nonpartisan, interfaith public-interest law firm that protects the free expression of all religious traditions)-boldly claims he knows the way and leads us there. With sharp wit dashed disarmingly throughout fresh and accessible prose, Hasson divides the cultural extremists into two categories: the 'Pilgrims' and the 'Park Rangers.' Pilgrims call for a government-imposed orthodoxy while the Park Rangers pay for freedom by sacrificing public claims of absolute truth. Considering his topic through a series of stories that range from earnest and hapless to funny and tragic, Hasson introduces the origins of pluralism in America and tells us why tolerance will always be 'an inadequate basis for religious liberty.' He touches on the misadventures of Jefferson and Madison (via the establishment of 'certain inalienable rights' and the First Ammendment), the compromises that defined religious liberty in the Constitution, and the religious riots and legalized persecutions that followed. Having thus educated and entertained his readers, Hasson launches into an updated model of pluralism 'both honest and untidy, but firmly grounded' in this important (dare we say it?) truth: 'Man is born to seek freely the truth about God.' Freedom. It's how we're made and how we decide to organize our lives, giving us all the right to be wrong.


An Eighth Day View:


We call it the "culture war." It's a running feud over religious diversity that's liable to erupt at any time, in the midst of everything from judicial confirmations to school board meetings. One side demands that only their true religion be allowed in public; the other insists that no religions ever belong there. As the two sides slug it out, the stakes are rising. An ever-growing assortment of faiths insist on an ever-wider variety of truths. How can we possibly all live together and keep both the peace and our integrity (not to mention our sanity)? How can we end the war without surrendering our principles? THE RIGHT TO BE WRONG explains how. It skewers both extremes, which it dubs the "Pilgrims" and the "Park Rangers." Pilgrims get their name from the Plymouth Colony folk who banned Christmas just weeks after celebrating their first Thanksgiving. Pilgrims want to outlaw diversity by declaring their religion the official one. The truth, they say, licenses them to restrict others' freedom. The opposite extreme deals with diversity by trying to drive it underground, eliminating religious expression from public life altogether. The "Park Rangers" are named after the bureaucrats in a too-good-to-be-true story about New Agers, a public park and a certain sacred parking barrier. They say freedom requires them to banish other people's truths. THE RIGHT TO BE WRONG offers a solution that avoids both pitfalls. It draws its lessons from a series of stories some old, others recent, some funny, others not. They tell of heroes and scoundrels, of riots, rabbis and reverends, Founders and flakes, from the colonial period to the present. The book concludes that freedom for all of us is guaranteed by the truth about each of us: Our common humanity entitles us to freedom within broad limits to follow what we believe to be true as our consciences say we must, even if our consciences are mistaken. Thus, we can respect others' freedom when we're sure they're wrong. In truth, they have the right to be wrong."

Title:: Right to Be Wrong : Ending the Culture War Over Religion in America

Author:: KEVIN SEAMUS HASSON

Categories: Political & Social Thought,

Publisher: Natl Book Network: October 2005

ISBN Number:: 1594030839

ISBN Number: 13: 9781594030833

Binding:: Hardcover

Book Condition:: New

Seller ID:: 20070925123465