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Blasphemy: How the Religious Right is Hijacking Our Declaration of Independence
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Blasphemy: How the Religious Right is Hijacking Our Declaration of Independence

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  20 reviews
In Blasphemy: How the Religious Right is Hijacking the Declaration of Independence, author Alan Dershowitz proves that no relation exists between the Declaration of Independence’s “Creator and “Nature’s God,” on the one hand, and the Judeo-Christian God of the Old and New Testaments, on the other hand. Learn about the religious right’s goal to Christianize America by using ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Wiley
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Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have never read so much of Thomas Jefferson's actual writings, letters, and documents. The author, a professor of Law at Harvard Law School "and one of the country's foremost appellate lawyers", did not have to say much to get the point across: Jefferson is not the man that the religious conservatives are saying he is. The question that comes up at the end of the book is, therefore, why do they want to make him and other Founding Fathers Evangelical Christians? And by default, the Declaration ...more
Richard Etzel
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
The author enables the reader to understand how the religious right picks and chooses items within the Declaration of Independence and interprets them as if they were propounded by Thomas Jefferson. Yet historical understanding of the meaning of Jefferson's words is exactly opposite those interpretations. He calls that callous disregard for the truth a Blasphemy. The book ought to be read by everyone so that other interpretations of that famous document can show how the religious right uses bits ...more
Many of the nonfiction books I've been reading lately fall under the banner of "important but somewhat outdated" (to the extent that I should probably make a shelf for that). Blasphemy is no exception, though only in the sense that the dangers it talks about have only gotten more pressing in the 13 years since it was written. Some elements, such as the look into the mindsets of the founding fathers, are essentially timeless, so those will hold up regardless of when this book is read. But while ...more
I recently finished an interesting book: "Blasphemy:How the Religious Right is Hijacking Our Declaration of Independence" by Alan Dershowitz. That is, he refutes attempts by Christian fundamentalists to rewrite the history of our nation's founding by claiming that the Founders were all orthodox Christians who never intended the separation of church and state, but founded the USA as a "Christian Nation".

This short book contains three long chapters. The first examines the beliefs of the Founding
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book not only outline ls the constituents, proponents, and events involved with the Declaration of Independence. It details how the struggle to maintain a separation of Church and State is an eternal war from which one can never relent. It primes the eye to recognize the strategy of religious majorities to force sectarian policies on their behalf.

What it does not discuss however, is how corporations that are sponsored by the religious right have been using the ambiguities of the law
Oct 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people looking to answer arguments from the religious right; people interested in Thomas Jefferson
The language of the U.S. Constitution has long presented problems to members of the religious right, who take it as an article of faith that the United States, being founded by Christians, must be a Christian nation. The Constitution, though, mentions religion only twice (in the Establishment clause of the First Amendment and the rule against religious tests for public office, Art. 6, Sec. 3) and Christianity not at all. The Declaration of Independence, however, makes several references to ...more
Joseph F.
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
A small book with a self-explanatory title. Dershowitz starts his book with what Jefferson actually meant when he referred to God when he wrote the Declaration. He uses a series of quotes left by Jefferson's letters. It is pretty obvious after reading them that Jefferson, as well as many at that time, had severe criticisms of the Bible, and saw God as deists do: a being who designed the world and no longer intercedes with humans. He also did not have a son named Jesus. Jefferson arrived at this ...more
Blasphemy by Alan M. Dershowitz is a concise and educational look into the beliefs of the Founders, particularly Thomas Jefferson, in regards to religion. While the "creator" is often quoted by religious Conservatives to mean the God of Abraham, Dershowitz says that is an outright falsehood. Jefferson, Dershowitz says, was a Deist if anything, believing in an impersonal god and not one that watches over creation. The esteemed Founder also did not believe in miracles and the many other teachings ...more
Penelope Green
Jul 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a prime example of what I consider the American tendency to believe that what is in their foundational documents is right, rather than things that are right should be put into foundational documents. Through a long discussion, lauding at every moment the Declaration of Independence, Dershowitz does establish that the DoI is ambiguous about what God is invoked, that Jefferson clearly did not mean the god of the Christian right and that a separation of the federal government and church ...more
John L
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
Watch out for religious fundamentalists of all stripes. Makes a very convincing case that the Religious right of this country has completely turned around the original concepts of our constitutions founding fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, to make it seem that the U.S. is a solely Christian country, founded on Christian principals. Don't believe 'em when they say that the word "Creator" was meant to be the Christian's bible's God. It wasn't.
A small book, only 170 pages or so, and small
Travis Gumm
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, politics
It challenges the notion that the founding fathers (Jefferson in particular) were a bunch of bible thumping Christians. You come away from the book no doubt thinking that Jefferson was clearly an atheist based on the author's recounting of Jefferson's writings. The crux of the book seems to be whether or not 'nature's God' means the Christian God or a vague appeal to some higher than man authority to justify their secession from Great Britain.
Sep 24, 2008 rated it liked it
A moderately illuminating examination of the recent attempt by the R.R. to use the Decl. of Ind. to conclude that this is a Christian Nation. I see this in my research all the time, so not a lot was new too me and Der. is, in my opinion, alarmist in his attitudes towards this strategy. Others not so immersed should like this well, howver, especially if they like being alarmed, which many do.
Adam Ross
A great look into the views of Thomas Jefferson, the other founding fathers, and what the Declaration of Independence really says about church and state. Very competently undoes the "Christian nation" narrative of the Christian Right.
Jun 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Does an excellent job in addressing the original interpretation of the dec of independence and how it has changed into current times. A nice read to show distinction,but not enough meat to draw any conclusions without sounding like a lawyer, picking at hairs.
Lynn Hunt
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
I couldn't really get into this didn't do anything for me. It didn't grab my attention but I tried to give it the benefit of doubt.
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
An easy read, this book makes some great points. I especially liked some of the author's quotes at the end.
Jay Beaver
Aug 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: red-v-blue
Completely on point with the Founding Generations view of the world and religion with many references throughout. Great information to kill anyone's talking points.
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Good overview by a lawyer of the conflict between the constitution and the religious right's attempts force their viewpoints upon all Americans.
Patti McDermott
Apr 17, 2010 rated it did not like it
I keep trying to be good and read non-fiction from time to time, but I rarely mamage to get through one and sadly, this book fell into that catagory.
Tracy Black
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! Thomas Jefferson is one of the most interesting characters in US history and Dershowitz did a wonderful job describing exactly what Jefferson DID believe, with all it's complexity.
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Alan Morton Dershowitz is an American lawyer, jurist, and political commentator. He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is known for his career as an attorney in several high-profile law cases and commentary on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

He has spent most of his career at Harvard, where, at the age of 28, he became the youngest full professor in its history, until