Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Divided by God: America's Church-State Problem--And What We Should Do about It” as Want to Read:
Divided by God: America's Church-State Problem--And What We Should Do about It
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Divided by God: America's Church-State Problem--And What We Should Do about It

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  85 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A brilliant and urgent appraisal of one of the most profound conflicts of our time
Even before George W. Bush gained reelection by wooing religiously devout "values voters," it was clear that church-state matters in the United States had reached a crisis. With" Divided by God," Noah Feldman shows that the crisis is as old as this country--and looks to our nation's past to
...more
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published July 6th 2005 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Divided by God, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Divided by God

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 224)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Michael
Divided by God is an engrossing history of America's church-state issues; the title is a bit misleading, as 90%+ of the book discusses the (distant) past, while only the last chapter details Feldman's proposed solution to the current stalemate.

Feldman presents several historical episodes that add a fascinating (and often unexpected) depth to current church/state issues in America. Several merit (brief) mention.

The history of religion in public schools is lively. (A preliminary note that, at the
...more
James
I finally finished this book. It's pretty tough sledding; took me months to get through just 250 pages. But it's a complete education on church / state politics and legal challenges throughout American history. Feldman says America has tried four frameworks to deal with the First Amendment conundrum the framers left us with: nonsectarianism, strong secularism, legal secularism, and values evangelicalism. The latter two are still in play and deeply dividing the nation. He describes each in detail ...more
Daniel Solera
In late 2008, I read a book by Rob Boston on the separation of church and state. It focused specifically on how the Religious Right has hijacked this essential distinction for the wrong reasons, but came off sounding like a textbook and didn’t have a very compelling narrative. I found Noah Feldman’s Divided By God on Amazon and bought it hoping that it would have a more focused approach to the theme.

Unfortunately, it too was a bit pedagogic, but not to a fault. In discussing the separation of ch
...more
Gary Miller
The author writes about all the church/state issues since the beginning of our country as well as the issues confronting us today and how to deal with them.

One such early story regarded how many jurisdictions would have a church tax. The government would collect taxes and then give to the denomination of the taxpayer’s choice. It was believed churches would die if they did not received tax money and it was further believed churches were important to society as they were the only institution prov
...more
Mary Ellen
So basically, Feldman profffers that the answer to the problems causes by our church/state separation would be solved if only we: a) adhered to a strict separation in the legislative sense, but b) allowed for the free parade of religios symbols to be displayed in public spaces. In other words, don't use the words "In God We Trust" in federal currency, but let christmas trees, menorahs, and whatever else adorn the lawns in front of court houses.

It's ok. Interesting read but way less life-changin
...more
Yofish
I liked the history of church/state stuff. Made sense and was interesting. Turns out that for a long time, it was driven by keeping the Catholics down. And originally, it was basically about making sure the gov't can't tax in order to support any one church. But his description of the way things are now, and was borderline insulted with some of his suggestions of where to go from here. (*He* gets to decide what should bother me??)

(Really 3.5.)
Richard
Noah Feldman contributes some great perspectives about Church-State issues, including an important argument for judicial conservatism and retaining a careful financial separation of church and state that I whole-heartedly agree with. While in the end his legal suggestions are obviously not the entire solution to this problem, and he remains too liberal in some of his views, the book is certainly worth reading if only to get you thinking.
Eric
An instructive read for those interested in the topic. The author reviews the history of the church-state relationship in the United States (in my opinion, the most valuable contribution) and in the final chapter proposes a solution. The analysis seemed thorough, but the solution, while it may be a good one, was described in the ideal, without any suggestions as to how it might be brought about.
Alicia J
A bit too dry at times, but overall extremely informative and well written. I learned exactly what I was hoping to learn from it, but the textbook-style writing made it hard to get into.
Linda
This book was read as part of a non fiction book discussion group. A thought provoking book on how church and state can co-exist.
Matt
Explores an interesting facet of history (church-state relations), but it's repetitive.
Pat Bretheim
Pat Bretheim marked it as to-read
Feb 28, 2015
Laura
Laura marked it as to-read
Feb 22, 2015
Ploney
Ploney marked it as to-read
Feb 02, 2015
Kimberly Hurst
Kimberly Hurst marked it as to-read
Jan 06, 2015
Calvin Webb
Calvin Webb is currently reading it
Jan 05, 2015
Sherril Ellis
Sherril Ellis marked it as to-read
Jan 04, 2015
Maheen Aziza
Maheen Aziza marked it as to-read
Oct 07, 2014
Daniella Abramov
Daniella Abramov marked it as to-read
Sep 06, 2014
L. M.
L. M. marked it as to-read
Sep 03, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism
  • The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America
  • Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized By People Who Think You're Stupid
  • The Great Risk Shift: The Assault on American Jobs, Families, Health Care and Retirement and How You Can Fight Back
  • Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times- Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show
  • An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States
  • The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality
  • Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American Working Class, 1788-1850
  • Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union
  • The Ralph Nader Reader
  • The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy
  • The Body & Society: Men, Women & Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity
  • The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book
  • The Birth of the Republic, 1763-89
  • The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic
  • The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World
  • American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century
  • The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in a Post-Religious Right America
217171
Noah Feldman (born 1970) is an American author and professor of law at Harvard Law School.


Feldman grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, where he attended the Maimonides School.[1]
He graduated from Harvard College in 1992, ranked first in the College, and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he earned a D.Phil in Islamic Thought in 1994. Upon his return from Oxford, he received his J
...more
More about Noah Feldman...
Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy Cool War: The Future of Global Competition What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building

Share This Book