"I spent the most of the first half of my life believing in Christianity and regarding belief in God as an essential component of human existence," George Ricker says. "I've spent the last 30 years trying to understand why I ever thought that way. This book is about how and why that process occurred. It's also about the danger posed to our democratic society by fundamentalist religion." Godless in America is a testimonial about the advantages of life without gods and religions. It's also a no-holds-barred look at some of the problems with both concepts. Written in a style that is conversational, yet provocative, it is a candid assessment of the real culture war being fought in America today: the attack being waged by the Religious Right on the values of personal freedom, democratic government, and the necessity for all Americans to be treated as equals before the law and by their government. At times humorous, at times outrageous, Godless in America treats religion and religious concepts as ideas that should be evaluated with the same standards used to evaluate all other ideas and concepts, not from the privileged position claimed by so many of a religious persuasion.
"God Bless America" is a song most Americans know well. It is taught in American schools and regularly performed at sporting events. After the attacks on September 11th, it was sung on the steps of the Capitol, at spontaneous memorial sites, and during the seventh inning stretch at baseball games, becoming even more deeply embedded in America's collective consciousness. In God Bless America, Sheryl Kaskowitz tells the fascinating story behind America's other national anthem. It begins with the song's composition by Irving Berlin in 1918 and first performance by Kate Smith in 1938, revealing an early struggle for control between composer and performer as well as the hidden economics behind the song's royalties. Kaskowitz shows how the early popularity of "God Bless America" reflected the anxiety of the pre-war period and sparked a surprising anti-Semitic and xenophobic backlash. She follows the song's rightward ideological trajectory from early associations with religious and ethnic tolerance to increasing uses as an anthem for the Christian Right, and considers the song's popularity directly after the September 11th attacks. The book concludes with a portrait of the song's post-9/11 function within professional baseball, illuminating the power of the song - and of communal singing itself - as a vehicle for both commemoration and coercion. A companion website offers streaming audio of recordings referenced in the book, links to videos of relevant performances, appendices of information, and an opportunity for readers to participate in the author's survey. Based on extensive archival research and fieldwork, God Bless America sheds new light on cultural tensions within the U.S., past and present, and offers a historical chronicle that is full of surprises and that will both edify and delight readers from all walks of life.
The Political History of the United States of America During the Great Rebellion from November 6 1860 to July 4 1864
Recently, and seemingly overnight, the once cliche slogan "God Bless America" became almost a national mantra. John MacArthur gets to the heart of the matter by asking the questions most Americans choose to ignore: "Should God bless America?" and "Is America deserving of blessing?" Turning to the Old Testament, he presents the simple truth of God's word, his blessing has always had conditions. MacArthur calls the Nation to turn back to God by showing us how we can become a nation that is once again blessed by God.