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Synopsis

A manifesto seeking to exhort both believers and atheists to behave better in the public sphere.

The Constitution states that “no religious test” may keep a candidate from aspiring to political office. Yet since John F. Kennedy used the phrase to deflect concerns about his Catholicism, the public has largely avoided probing candidates’ religious beliefs. Is it true, however, that there should be “no religious test” whatsoever, regardless of a candidate’s religious convictions?

Damon Linker doesn’t think so, and in this provocative, hard-hitting manifesto, he outlines the various elements of religious belief—including radical atheism—that he finds simply incompatible with high office in a democracy. He puts forth six “commandments” to address the complicated interrelations between churches and states, clearly explaining, among other topics, why a religiously tolerant state must not promote a uniform, absolute code of ethics and behavior, why the conviction that America is worthy of divine attention is dangerous, and why the New Atheists might be just as intolerant as the religious authorities they criticize.

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