Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans

David Niose. Palgrave Macmillan, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-0-230-33895-1
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America’s secular demographic—those who report “none” when asked for religious identity—is growing faster than any other religious identification, especially among 18-to-29-year-olds. A lawyer and president of the American Humanist Association, Niose explores secularism’s extraordinary rise and shows how it offers hope for more rational, inquiry-based public policy and discussion. Examining the roots of secularism, he notes that the U.S. has never been a Christian nation, though modern secular activism only emerged in the last 10 years in opposition to the Religious Right, whose rise, over the past three decades, remained virtually unchecked. Careful to note that it’s not Christianity that’s problematic, but the alliance of Christian and political conservatism that has attacked climate science, evolution, contraception, and the separation of church and state, he highlights the ways secularism is gaining traction against the fundamentalist agenda through billboards, litigation, and identity politics. Optimistic about the increase in secular activity—the growth of college and high school groups, humanist chaplaincies, secularity as a course of study—he finds that secularity offers the best hope for the future, and he makes a passionately strong, though at times repetitive, case for why secularism is so beneficial for the U.S. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/02/2012
Release date: 07/17/2012
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-1-137-27871-5
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-137-05528-6
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