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The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Ray Suarez(Author)

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Not since the Civil War has the United States been so polarized, politically and ideologically. At the heart of this fracture is a fascinating, paradoxical marriage between our country's politics and religions.

In The Holy Vote, Ray Suarez explores the advent of this polarization and how it is profoundly changing the way we live our lives. With hands-on reporting, Suarez explores the attitudes and beliefs of the people behind the voting numbers and how the political divide is manifesting itself across the country. The reader will come to a greater understanding of what Americans believe, and how this belief structure fuels the debates that dominate the issues on our evening news broadcasts.

Suarez made his name hosting NPR's Talk of the Nation by seeing to it that issues were genuinely discussed, not buzz-worded and shouted to death. This book reflects his radio style in that the copious quotation of interviewees includes the loose grammar and vague references of speech, requiring much immediate rereading to figure out exactly what is meant. That said, it's darn good colloquy about the Religious Right, separation of church and state, and old and new issues including Christian prayer by military chaplains, gay marriage, display of the Ten Commandments, sex education and evolution in public schools, abortion, Catholic participation in politics, and the impact of growing minorities who are generally more religious than the waning white mainstream. The penultimate chapter homes in on attempts in Alabama to make the state more theocratic, and the last implicatively suggests that most Americans like quite strict church-state separation. Suarez invariably presents articulate spokespersons on both (or more) sides of the issues, and if they evade some of his questions, doesn't lambaste them for it. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Ray Suarez is a senior correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He came to the NewsHour from NPR's Talk of the Nation, and prior to that he spent seven years covering local, national, and international news for an NBC affiliate in Chicago.

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Book details

  • PDF | 336 pages
  • Ray Suarez(Author)
  • Harper Perennial (November 13, 2007)
  • English
  • 6
  • History

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Review Text

  • By Phillip L. Hoover on October 9, 2006

    My pastor is one of the wisest, smartest, and best-read people that I know. But I was pretty sure he had a copy of THE HOLY VOTE---and he didn't, so I gave him mine.I finished reading the entire volume in about two days!I've been a fan of Ray Suarez for a long time (devout NEWSHOUR guy here), and I have found him to be balanced, fair, and thorough.His book is the very same. He addresses most of the hot buttons in today's society, and in today's church. I was particularly impressed with the introduction he made to his work, and with the quoting of Romans 12 at the beginning.I would only hope that every "thinking Christian" takes a good read of this important work.Suarez reminds us that regardless of how "thin" the issue may be, it always has at least two sides.Terrific book.

  • By Neil Purcell on January 26, 2008

    Suarez is a well-known reporter and anchor on the PBS News Hour (for those who watch PBS anyway). He is a Catholic and sincerely religious, but also concerned about the current friction in our society and political system which has accompanied the ascendancy of Evangelicals in the GOP (the Republicans have become, as John Danforth says, "the political wing of a religious group" and the "party of the religious right").In this balanced and reasonable consideration of the problem, Suarez criticizes those of us who rant about the threat of imminent theocracy, even as he points out that complaints about the war on Christmas and other perceived persecutions of Christians is more than a little overblown.If the rancor and polarization of the past seven years have become too much for you, and if you are especially concerned about the role of religion in our divisive culture wars and disfunctional politics, then this book by Ray Suarez will provide some light. Intelligent, well-researched, insightful and always moderate and reasonable in tone - Suarez makes a powerful case for religious people to bring their values into the public square, but to refrain from making their beliefs the center of the debate. He calls on religious people, who comprise the majority in America, to express their values in actions that unite us, and that enable us all to have a conversation, rather than in words that divide us and make dialogue an impossibility.Although Suarez clearly is a believer himself, and clearly believes that religious belief is a positive force in society, his book will challenge the thinking of believers more than we secular types. In the end, in a country where nearly 90% admit to a belief in God - and the vast majority accept the divinity of the carpenter's son - the key to finding common ground lies in the restraint of the majority, in the respect of the rights of the minority - what used to be called "tolerance" but in fact looked a lot like a secular approach to public affairs and processes.Ultimately, Suarez is asking us all to play down our separate identities - the things that prevent dialogue and progress - and to emphasize actions and decisions on the merits. He claims this is not so much about the exclusion of God as a more civil way of expressing our values, but I doubt that the followers of Pat Robertson and George Bush will see it that way.I recommend this book. It may not change your mind, but if you're like me it may make you a little more sympathetic for the other side in the culture war.Neil

  • By Wood Worker on January 4, 2007

    When religion is explicitly used in crafting public policy, we become divided into those who hold such beliefs, and those who do not.However, general moral principals can give us a framework for a debate. They should not be asked to give an exact answer. A common set of moral principals, faith based for some people, not so for others, can allow us to make laws that presume from the beginning to be for us all.Mr. Suarez's book reaches this place to have the public policy conversations by wading through every area of the culture wars in the news - separation of church and state, abortion, gay marriage, and public school issues -reviewing instances, interviewing people of every imaginable point of view. His tone is conversational and sincere; his perspective is respectful and clear-eyed.I found The Holy Vote to be very much a help in understanding the present political discussions in our country - or lack there of - and my own reactions to them, and to re-forming my own opinions

  • By Vivian M. Jackson on November 9, 2006

    Excellent explanation of what drives people of extreme faith to do what they do in America to influence others. Ray Swuarez is a gifted writer who knows how to lay it all on the line. I learned so much from reading this book, and highly recommendd it to others who want to become knowledgeable on this subject.

  • By Emilio R Diaz on November 4, 2013

    A very fair and informative book on the history of religion and politics in this country. Mr. Suarez is complete in his study of this very important subject that is effecting this country.


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