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The Right to Be Wrong: Ending the Culture War Over Religion in America

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  73 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
In the running debate we call the "culture wars," there exists a great feud over religious diversity. One side demands that only their true religion be allowed in the public square; the other insists that no religions ever belong there. The Right to Be Wrong offers a solution, drawing its lessons from a series of stories--both contemporary and historical--that illustrates ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by Image (first published November 1st 2005)
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Julie Davis
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
UPDATE: I wrote this way back in 2005 for Spero News but discovered that their site clips a good portion of the text. I'm rerunning it here to preserve the review because this is a book that still informs the way I deal with those with whom I disagree. In fact, I just mentioned it on A Good Story is Hard to Find, which is what made me look for this review.


It seems as if our country is caught up in an endless religious war that is being fought with grim determination. No, this isn’t abo
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great thoughts on what religious freedom truly is and why it’s so vitally important - for believers and non-believers.
Julie Davis
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
UPDATE: I wrote this way back in 2005 for Spero News but discovered that their site clips a good portion of the text. I'm rerunning it here to preserve the review because this is a book that still informs the way I deal with those with whom I disagree. In fact, I just mentioned it on A Good Story is Hard to Find, which is what made me look for this review.


UPDATE 2: rereading this as a palliative to the brouhaha over the Supreme Court's decision to uphold religious conscience for the Ho
George P.
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
 Kevin Seamus Hasson, The Right to Be Wrong: Ending the Culture War over Religion in America, 2nd ed. (New York: Image, 2012). Paperback

The story of religious freedom in America is, as Kevin Seamus Hasson tells it, the story of the conflict of conscience against Puritans and Park Rangers. Puritans—named after the Plymouth settlers—“want to use the state to coerce the religious consciences of those with whom they disagree.” Park Rangers—hilariously named after a group of hapless San Francisco bur
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Short and well-argued explication of the history, role, and status of religious regulation and religious liberty in American government. Hasson makes the complex simple by defining the extremes ("Pilgrims" who want only their religious freedoms protected in public, and "Park Rangers", who want all religion banned from public places), explaining their sources, and why they are both wrong.

Hasson speaks from the front line as the founder and director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and us
Anagha Uppal
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All, especially those interested in politics and religion
Is a society that comes to agree on all matters of conscience necessarily a better society? It should be taken for granted that two individuals who are left to discuss something as fundamental and steadfast as religion will argue. However, this does not mean that the two must take up arms to defend their stance. Indeed, even if one knows that the other is utterly ridiculous in his beliefs, his “right to be wrong” must be accepted and the two conflicting individuals may cohabitate peaceably. This ...more
Jan 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone knows the Pilgrims came to America because they believed in religious freedom, right? Wrong. They oppressed those of other beliefs, because they believed that they alone had the truth.
In The Right to Be Wrong, the author discussions the slow and incredibly painful development of the concept of religious freedom. (Kevin Seamus Hasson belongs to a nonpartisan, interfaith, public law firm that protects the free expression of all religious traditions.)

If you enjoy history or political scie
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-won
I received this book through the GoodReads giveaway program. While my usual reading palate does not lean toward nonfiction, the premise of this book struck my interest as a timely discussion.

Kevin Hasson presents an easy read through portions of American history that has led us to the present day polarizations between the Pilgrims (the zealots loudly holding fast to their religion in the face of others) and the Park Rangers(those who see freedom of religion as as the freedom from the influence
Jim Davis
Aug 02, 2013 rated it liked it
The Right to be Wrong is an interesting read, but far from as interesting as it could be.

While the writer Kevin Seamus Hasson gives an excellent portrait of American history, he hardly tackles the modern problems of ending the culture war in America over religion.

The book goes on ad nauseam about the plight of Pilgrims and Quakers but fails to connect the dots to our modern problems such as, faith in public schools, abortion, radical Islam, gay marriage and the forcing of Catholic hospitals to
Aug 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Hasson argues that we, as humans, have a right to freedom of religion. It is a fundamental truth that as humans we feel compelled to obey are consciences. So who are we to deny one person their conscience if it just so happens to disagree with ours? They have the right to be wrong. Wrong, as I see it. With this book you'll get interesting historical background on religion in America and compelling arguments for a culture truly free to explore diverse religions of the world. This book is great an ...more
Emily Mishler
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won a copy of this book through a goodreads giveaway.

Hasson does an excellent job at putting the matters at hand (namely religious freedom/the separation of church and state) clearly and simply in a fairly unbiased manner as far as I could tell. He tells the history of religious freedom (or repression as the case may be) in America as well as bringing in examples from other countries and cultures. Well written and an engaging read.
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a must read. He starts with the history of why we know intolerance is bad. Kevin makes clear the difference between recognizing that people have a right to their opinions and beleiving that all opinions are equally true.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book on a divisive topic. My biggest complaint-It's a little too short! However, it makes it's points well. We should celebrate our religious diversity and protect everyone's rights, not force everyone into a PC bubble or insist that we should favor one religion over another. Great read.
Shannon Ratliff
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book I would normally read, but my brother highly recommended it. It actually turned out to have some amazingly wonderful ideas and prompted very interesting discussion with my 10th grade daughter... Read with an open mind... for sure!
Josh Tatum
Aug 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every American
Shelves: churchandstate
This book is an excellent start for the person asking why we should protect the free exercise of religion.
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Mary Barrosse
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Jul 30, 2013
Shaun Kenney
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Joseph Ellengar
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Cindy Kelly
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Mary Barrosse
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Barbara Bluhm
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Apr 29, 2016
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Jeff Gasser
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Robert Corzine
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Nov 29, 2012
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