Book Review: The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture by Frederick S. Lane

Opening with an examination of Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Superbowl halftime show, Lane begins a thoroughly researched, well documented argument that assorted special interest groups are subverting the Constitution. The worst part of these ongoing attempts to legislate morality is not that they undermine the most basic of civil rights in the name of decency, but that it is done for big money. Many groups, often led by such big names as Senator Jesse Helms, Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed continue to stir up controversy in order to maintain a steady cash flow. If this sounds too simplistic and unreal then you need to add this book to your reading list.

Lane looks at the separation of church and state by going back to King Henry VIII. From there we see the events that gave rise to the Puritans who eventually came to America where they could worship as they saw fit with strict doctrine acknowledging a mere 8% of their population the vote. This early history sets the stage for much of the religious fervor that appears to rule extremely powerful groups like the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family as well as the FCC’s current position. These and groups like them appear to have few qualms when it comes to forcing their agenda upon the American people and Congress. They have implemented an amazing propaganda machine which continues to promote intolerance, censorship and homophobia while claiming to follow the gospel of a loving, tolerant God.

This is a must read for anyone concerned with the continued erosion of human rights at the hands of religious or just plain greedy fanatics disseminating misinformation on a colossal scale. Lane shows the need to recognize that morals are not something that can or should be legislated, rather in keeping with the premise of the Constitution morality is a deeply personal, private issue that we need to take responsibility for.

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