Susan Jacoby

Susan Jacoby is the author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism.

Recent Articles

Piety and Politics in America

The tension between religiosity and secular government goes back to the nation’s founding.  

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This book review appears in the Spring 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Celebrate our 25th Anniversary with us by clicking here for a free download of this special issue . One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America By Kevin M. Kruse 384 pp. Basic Books $29.99 The Religion of Democracy: Seven Liberals and the American Moral Tradition By Amy Kittelstrom 448 pp. Penguin Press $32.95 When I speak on college campuses and tell students that the United States Constitution makes no mention of God, at least half of the audience members invariably shake their heads in disbelief. It usually turns out that the students have confused the Constitution either with the Declaration of Independence, which, of course, does refer to a Creator who has endowed all men with “certain unalienable rights,” or with the Pledge of Allegiance, written in 1892 by a Christian socialist minister without any mention of a deity until Congress added...

The God Squad

Leaders of the religious right are demanding a hard-line conservative Supreme Court as payback for their contribution to the re-election of President George W. Bush. Liberals, meanwhile, are seeking consolation in a roll call of justices, past and present, who have demonstrated the annoying independence fostered by elevation to a job with lifetime tenure. The list includes Earl Warren, Harry Blackmun, David Souter, and Sandra Day O'Connor, whose unpredictable swing votes on abortion cases are not exactly what Ronald Reagan had in mind when he chose her for the court in 1981. The forlorn liberal hope is that Bush, who has promised to appoint only “strict constructionists,” will repeat the scenario played out when Dwight Eisenhower described his appointment of Chief Justice Warren as the “biggest damn fool mistake I ever made.” But there is no factual basis for this wishful thinking, because what Bush means by a strict constructionist -- sometimes called an...