God and country

Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance. By Janet R. Jakobsen and Ann Pellegrini. New York University Press, 175 pp., $22.95.

Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History. By James A. Morone. Yale University Press, 575 pp., $35.00.

Alabama is where I grew up, where most of my family still lives and where I've spent a fair amount of time lately. During the past summer the state's citizens were asked to consider a new tax plan, which Governor Bob Riley, its chief proponent, sometimes referred to as "biblical" in orientation. Riley said that the Bible teaches us that we must love God, love one another and live in ways that do not oppress the poor. He asserted that Alabama's old system of taxation, which was by all accounts astonishingly regressive, led to the oppression of poor people. He wanted to overhaul the entire system to make it better accord with biblical standards.

 

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