Carter and Religion


Carter and Religion
In his book, The Culture of Disbelief, author Steven Carter attempts to reconcile two modern concerns: religious significance and the importance placed on logical reasoning and understanding. He attempts to explain how religiously dedicated people can also be intelligent, rational persons who should be taken seriously. He does this continually emphasizing his own astuteness and concurrent piousness.
In this passionately argued polemic--which Carter, a black Episcopalian, backs with personal anecdote, historical research, and legal brief--the case is made that something has gone awry in American politics since the heyday of the civil-rights struggle. For example, In the 1960\'s, Martin Luther King, Jr., was applauded for bringing religious convictions to the public arena and thus continuing an American tradition of Judeo-Christian moral activism. But today, Carter says, the media and the liberal establishment wish to tuck religious beliefs back in the closet (witness the dismay when Hillary Rodham Clinton wore a cross around her neck to some inaugural events). While Carter supports strict separation of church and state, he wonders at recent court decisions that seem to go for the religious jugular. Especially at risk, he believes, are minority religions, as evidenced by the recent judicial approval of logging on Native American sacred lands. This wide-ranging study offers discussions of creationism, classroom prayer, private funding for parochial schools, euthanasia, sex education, and the crucial debate: abortion--all noteworthy for their patient analysis and moderate stance. While the law can never establish religion, concludes Carter, we would do well to try and understand religion’s role in democracy as indispensable albeit not always rational.
What makes Carter\'s work fascinating is that he uses liberal reasoning to arrive at what are often considered conservative ends. He repeatedly stresses his belief in what he describes as generally accepted, rational American values while sustaining his Christian perspective in ethics.