The religious and political winds are changing. Tens of millions of religious Americans are reclaiming faith from those who would abuse it for narrow, partisan, and ideological purposes. And more and more secular Americans are discovering common ground with believers on the great issues of social justice, peace, and the environment. In Souled Out, award-winning journalist and commentator E. J. Dionne explains why the era of the Religious Right--and the crude exploitation of faith for political advantage--is over.
Based on years of research and writing, Souled Out shows that the end of the Religious Right doesn't signal the decline of evangelical Christianity but rather its disentanglement from a political machine that sold it out to a narrow electoral agenda of such causes as opposition to gay marriage and abortion. With insightful portraits of leading contemporary religious figures from Rick Warren and Richard Cizik to John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Dionne shows that our great religions have always preached a broad message of hope for more just human arrangements and refused to be mere props for the powers that be. Dionne also argues that the new atheist writers should be seen as a gift to believers, a demand that they live up to their proclaimed values and embrace scientific and philosophical inquiry in a spirit of "intellectual solidarity."
Written in the tradition of Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr, Souled Out will help change how we think and talk about religion and politics in the post-Bush era.
"Souled Out, by the respected political journalist and progressive Catholic E.J. Dionne Jr., is a deeply personal and searchingly intelligent reflection on the noble history, recent travails, and likely prospects of American liberalism."--R. Scott Appleby, New York Times Book Review
"[Souled Out] is a highly worthy alternative to polarizing arguments regarding religion, whether pro or con. . . . Rousing and wry, Dionne's sensible voice makes a powerful case for broadening religious vision and visibility in the public square."--Publishers Weekly
"Souled Out gives facts, analysis and inside details on religious leaders' views. Dionne is well-equipped for the task. . . . Many of Dionne's chapters are must-reads for progressive activists."--Kim Bobo, In These Times
"Recognizing that 'it's much easier to scream across barricades,' he provides a political primer for politicians who want to reclaim the center...[H]is book provides new ways of talking about religion and public policy--just in time for liberals laboring to be 'born again.'"--Glenn C. Altschuler, New York Observer
"Liberal commentator Dionne foresees different relations between faith and politics now that the religious Right is declining. . . . He turns to recent developments in Catholicism since Vatican II and among liberal Catholics as a springboard to his concluding injunction that Christians continue to participate in politics, out of Christian hope rather than self-righteousness."--Booklist
"E.J. Dionne writes well, and his latest effort, Souled Out, is no exception. Souled Out offers a critical and at times discomforting account of the rise and role of the Christian right in politics. A liberal Catholic, Dionne also gives an insider's account of the battles going on within Catholicism."--World Magazine
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Is God's Work Our Work? Faith, Doubt, and Radical Amazement 1
Chapter 1: Is Religion Conservative or Progressive? (Or Both?) 25
Chapter 2: Why the Culture War Is the Wrong War: Religion, Values, and American Politics 45
Chapter 3: What Are the "Values" Issues? Economics, Social Justice, and the Struggle over Morality 71
Chapter 4: Selling Religion Short: When Ideology Is Not Enough 92
Chapter 5: John Paul, Benedict, and the Catholic Future 126
Chapter 6: What Happened to the Seamless Garment? The Agony of Liberal Catholicism 151
Chapter 7: Solidarity, Liberty, and Religion's True Calling 183