Patt Morrison for May 17, 2012

Has 'institutional Christianity' helped or hurt the U.S.?

Bad Religion

Free Press/Simon & Schuster

"Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics" by Ross Douthat

Is it religion’s dearth or presence that contributes to the country’s political gridlock? Or could it be possible that the answer is neither of the above?

In his new book, “Bad Religion,” guest Ross Douthat argues the latter – that both the liberal and conservative views of religion have moved too far away from the “institutional Christianity” that served as a moral anchor during the Civil Rights movement, and that today’s religions serve as “dividers,” not “uniters.”

Douthat has been criticized for being overly idyllic and not doing his due diligence when it comes to comparing and contrasting the U.S. to nations like Canada, which has never had a religious culture as unifying as 1950s America and yet maintains high social welfare standards, but does he have a point?

WEIGH IN:

Is the problem with religion in America not the tool itself but those who wield it?

Guest:

Ross Douthat, New York Times columnist and author of the book, “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics”

Read an excerpt from this book:


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