Niose, “Nonbeliever Nation”

Here’s a new entry in the increasingly popular bellicose secularist genre: Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans (Palgrave Macmillan 2012) by David Niose.  The publisher’s description follows.

Today, nearly one in five Americans are nonbelievers – a rapidly growing group at a time when traditional Christian churches are dwindling in numbers – and they are flexing their muscles like never before. Yet we still see almost none of them openly serving in elected office, while Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and many others continue to loudly proclaim the myth of America as a Christian nation.

In Nonbeliever Nation, leading secular advocate David Niose explores what this new force in politics means for the unchallenged dominance of the Religious Right. Hitting on all the hot-button issues that divide the country – from gay marriage to education policy to contentious church-state battles – he shows how this movement is gaining traction, and fighting for its rights. Now, Secular Americans—a group comprised not just of atheists and agnostics, but lapsed Catholics, secular Jews, and millions of others who have walked away from religion—are mobilizing and forming groups all over the country (even atheist clubs in Bible-belt high schools) to challenge the exaltation of religion in American politics and public life.

This is a timely and important look at how growing numbers of nonbelievers, disenchanted at how far America has wandered from its secular roots, are emerging to fight for equality and rational public policy.

3 responses

  1. At the risk of disagreement on a relatively minor but perhaps important point, I think the “bellicose secularist” genre is actually decreasing in popularity. The latest wave of atheist books for the most part have moved away from the heyday of New Atheist screeds to investigate the values of religion from a nonbeliever’s perspective. See the recent article on the “New New Atheists” in Harper’s Magazine.

  2. I was thinking of the books cited therein, not the review itself. Again, I’m not trying to nit-pick. On the other hand, to the extent that published trends are intellectually significant signals (which I doubt they are for the most part), perhaps it matters to our view of the trends and issues discussed in places like this that there is an apparent trend toward books that value and appreciate religion, even from a non-believer’s perspective, rather than treating the subject as another round in the war of all against all. Cheers, Paul

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