Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic: Atheists in American Public Life

Posted on June 12, 2019 by Diana Roberts


By R. Laurence Moore and Isaac Kramnick

This book presents a sharp and convincing work on how avowed atheists have been derided since the founding of the nation. Nonbelievers have often had a second-class legal status and have had to fight for their rights as citizens. It took until 1961 for the Supreme Court to ban religious tests for state officials, despite Article 6 of the Constitution. Religionist judges have a habit ignoring what they don’t like in the Constitution or constitutional history.

Why have historians traditionally ignored the role of nonbelievers in American history? In a nation dedicated to the separation of church and state, we have seen furious battles over compulsory school prayer, discrimination against nonbelievers, and continuing efforts to declare this to be a “Christian nation,” when it is not and never was.

Our demographics are increasingly secular, while religious conservatives are trying harder than ever to define the nation’s law and politics in their terms. They have already stacked our courts from top to bottom. While secularism is under vicious attack, nonbelievers are standing up and speaking out as never before.

This very readable and well-documented book puts into focus what First Amendment protectionists are experiencing.


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