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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Author Meets Critics: Damon Linker's The Religious Test

Further Reading


Damon Linker, The Religious Test: Why We Must Question the Beliefs of Our Leaders (W.W. Norton 2010)

In this provocative, hard-hitting manifesto, Damon Linker exhorts both believers and atheists to behave better in the public sphere, and offers a carefully charted roadmap for doing so.    

    Click here to read the Introduction.

Op-Ed "A religious test all our political candidates should take." The Washington Post, September 19, 2010.

In this Op-Ed, Linker argues that, since the rise of the religious right in the late 1970s, citizens have become more inclined to question of the political implications of presidential candidates' religious beliefs.  

"Religion in a Centerless Society." The New Republic, September 30, 2010.

Here Linker discusses the tension between religion and politics and his theory that, "as long as the United States remains a liberal nation with a centerless society, traditionalist religion at its peak will fail to harmonize with politics at its peak."

"The Impossibility of Sexual Consensus." The Utopian, September 20, 2010.

In this article, Linker traces the evolution of American sexual morality in order to highlight the difficulties of attaining consensus in today's political society.

"Six questions for Damon Linker." The Economist, October 13, 2010.

In this interview, Democracy in America poses six questions to Damon Linker regarding "religion's virtue, the "theocons", atheists and social conservatives."

"Campaigning against same sex marriage," by Mark Silk, beliefnet, October 11, 2010.

In his blog entitled, Religion and Public Life, Mark Silk discusses the recent denouncements of same-sex marriage by political candidates, including GOP candidate for governor of New York, Carl Paladino, and religious leaders, who cite religious justifications for their objections.

"On Damon Linker's "Religious Test," by Patrick Deneen, What I Saw in America, November 11, 2010.

This post from Patrick Deneen's blog entitled, What I Saw in America, summarizes his comments from the Author Meets Critics: "The Religious Test" event held by the Boisi Center on November 11, 2010. 

"Author Meets Critics: The Religious Test," by Chris Canniff, The Observer, November 16, 2010.

This article provides a nice summary of the panel discussion of Damon Linker's new book, The Religious Test, hosted by the Boisi Center at Boston College on November 11, 2010.

"Getting Linker's "Religious Test" Wrong: Unorthodoxy," by Patrick J. Deneen, The Washington Post, Nov. 15th, 2010.

In this article, Deneen critiques Linker's argument that religious conservatives have contributed to the "skirmish" between religion and politics.  Instead, Deneen posits that "modern economic conservatism and modern identity liberalism have combined in the support of titanic inequalities in our society" and that America must return to the religious roots and values upon which our Republic was founded.

Blogs by the Panel Participants

Patrick Deneen's Blog "What I Saw in America: The Political Theory of Daily Life." See especially the November 8th entry "In Beantown!" Deneen also writes for the Front Porch Republic

Mark Silk's Blog, "Spiritual Politics: A Blog on Religion and American Political Culture"

Damon Linker's Blog for The New Republic. He also maintains a website of events, articles and more.

Videos by the Panel Participants

At an event hosted by Mark Crispin Miller, Damon Linker and Jeff Sharlet discuss the role of religion in politics and Linker's new book, The Religious Test: Why We Must Question the Beliefs of Our Leaders