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

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

by Isaac Kramnick, R. Laurence Moore

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If the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects religious liberty, why doesn’t it protect atheists?

God occupies our nation’s consciousness, even defining to many what it means to be American. Nonbelievers have often had second-class legal status and have had to fight for their rights as citizens.

As R. Laurence Moore and Isaac Kramnick demonstrate in their sharp and convincing work, avowed atheists were derided since the founding of the nation. Even Thomas Paine fell into disfavor and his role as a patriot forgotten. Popular Republican Robert Ingersoll could not be elected in the nineteenth century due to his atheism, and the suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton was shunned when she questioned biblical precepts about women’s roles.

Moore and Kramnick lay out this fascinating history and the legal cases that have questioned religious supremacy. It took until 1961 for the Supreme Court to ban religious tests for state officials, despite Article 6 of the Constitution. Still, every one of the fifty states continues to have God in its constitution. The authors discuss these cases and more current ones, such as Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which address whether personal religious beliefs supersede secular ones.

In Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic, the authors also explore the dramatic rise of an "atheist awakening" and the role of organizations intent on holding the country to the secular principles it was founded upon.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393254976
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/21/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 509,867
File size: 487 KB

About the Author

Isaac Kramnick is professor emeritus of government at Cornell University.
R. Laurence Moore is professor emeritus of history and American studies at Cornell University

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