Faith of the Founders: Religion and the New Nation 1776–1826, by Edwin S. Gaustad. This is the best short, accessible, single-volume treatment of the religious lives, intellectual pathways and church-state politics of the preeminent founders of the United States—Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington and Franklin.
Outside Paradise, government will never be perfect. But that's no reason to give up
on it—any more than the fact that we can't love our children perfectly entails giving up on loving them as well as we can.
Reading a book by Terry Eagleton is like watching fireworks. The reader can become so delighted with the rhetorical pyrotechnics that the force of the argument is lost. But for all the literary razzle-dazzle, Eagleton is a serious and determined critic of the capitalist status quo.
Two years ago, after Dale Allison published a short book on historical Jesus studies that seemed to question the legitimacy of the enterprise, Scot McKnight, a prominent Jesus scholar, declared that the book had convinced him to abandon the discipline altogether.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).