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My Dancing Day

The Religion of Democracy

Way behind in my blogging about this book, which I have now finished.  I'll try to write more over the break. 

The Religion of Democracy: Seven Liberals and the American Moral TraditionThe Religion of Democracy: Seven Liberals and the American Moral Tradition by Amy Kittelstrom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A history of how the development of liberal religion was intertwined with the advancement of democracy in America from the 18th-20th centuries. Kittelstrom tells this story by focusing on seven key figures, though many others appear in the book. Basically this is how New England Congregationalism gave birth to democratic ideals that in the 20th century went global. I've rarely read a book that quoted so many sermons that wasn't a book about preaching. Her narrative ends with the New Deal when she argues that liberalism became most a secular ideology. Her epilogue quickly surveys the developments in the years since.

I think this is one of those essential books for our times, pointing to the importance of moral virtue and religious insight in advancing the ideals of liberty and equality. These are stories that the Trump opposition must tell if we are to rescue our Republic.

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