The Case for Civility

The Case for Civility

And Why Our Future Depends on It

Book - 2008
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Baker & Taylor
An influential Christian speaker urges conservatives and the religious right to take greater responsibility in ending the polarization of American politics and culture, in an anecdotal history that argues that current right-wing agendas are compromising the principles on which the nation was founded. By the author of Unspeakable. 30,000 first printing.

HARPERCOLL

In a world torn apart by religious extremism on the one side and a strident secularism on the other, no question is more urgent than how we live with our deepest differences—especially our religious and ideological differences. The Case for Civility is a proposal for restoring civility in America as a way to foster civility around the world. Influential Christian writer and speaker Os Guinness makes a passionate plea to put an end to the polarization of American politics and culture that—rather than creating a public space for real debate—threatens to reverse the very principles our founders set into motion and that have long preserved liberty, diversity, and unity in this country.

Guinness takes on the contemporary threat of the excesses of the Religious Right and the secular Left, arguing that we must find a middle ground between privileging one religion over another and attempting to make all public expression of faith illegal. If we do not do this, Guinness contends, Western civilization as we know it will die. Always provocative and deeply insightful, Guinness puts forth a vision of a new, practical "civil and cosmopolitan public square" that speaks not only to America's immediate concerns but to the long-term interests of the republic and the world.



Baker
& Taylor

Urges conservatives and the religious right to take greater responsibility in ending the polarization of American politics and culture, in an anecdotal history that argues that right-wing agendas are compromising the principles on which the nation was founded.

Publisher: New York : HarperOne, c2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061353437
0061353434
Branch Call Number: 177.1 GUI
Characteristics: ix, 214 p. ; 22 cm

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bhg0010
Feb 10, 2018

The core problem with this book is also its greatest strength. The author attempts to criticize both U.S. major parties and the U.S. media in general for setting up strict ideological divisions that bring about fear and hatred, possibly even setting things up for national collapse. A lot of his points are well-made, and his disgust as a faithful Christian at how many politicians use religion as a front for private agendas is totally justified. At the same time, the author spends comparatively little time in coming up with specific solutions to solve these problems. Even worse, he keeps portraying this false balance where condemning religious fundamentalists has to be balanced against criticism against secularists.

It's a major flaw all through the book. Yes, it seems pretty bad when secular colleges kick out religious student clubs when the groups are labeled as intolerant. Comparing that sort of thing to the rise of Osama Bin Laden and militant attacks by his fanatics isn't just wrong but absolutely ludicrous. There's also quite a difference between biased TV media and trolls who peddle death threats, one is a normal part of democracy and the other is anything but. In the end, the book seems worth reading, but the pervasive sense of false balance is deeply frustrating.

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