The Court and the Cross: The Religious Right’s Crusade to Reshape the Supreme Court

  • The Court and The Cross

An investigation into the Religious Right, judicial nominees, and future decisions on evolution, prayer in schools, abortion, and more

Blending the effective use of grassroots campaigns, aggressive lobbying, and a well-tended career path for conservative law students and attorneys, the Religious Right has already succeeded in influencing major court decisions on a range of critical social issues. The courts have chipped away at laws banning prayer in school; bolstered restrictions on women’s access to abortion and birth control; given legal approval to President Bush’s use of federal funds for religious organizations. In the near future, the courts will surely decide on a host of hot-button issues, from stem cell research and gay rights to religious expression on government property and euthanasia.

In The Court and the Cross, legal journalist Frederick Lane uses a mix of legal history and political analysis to expose, in layman’s terms, the Religious Right’s high court offensive. He clearly explains the Supreme Court’s nomination process and shows how the Religious Right’s leadership, including Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell, created the vision that led to the movement’s massive growth and its powerful influence on the nation’s judiciary. This timely book details the Right’s unrelenting efforts to destroy the wall separating church and state and, ultimately, to do nothing less than declare the United States a Christian nation.


Praise for The Court and the Cross

“Separation of church and state is so basic a part of American values and history that it is hard to realize it is under threat. But it is, profoundly. In The Court and the Cross Frederick Lane explains why: a relentless, determined and successful campaign by the Christian Right to put its supporters on the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court. It is a colorful and compelling book.” — Anthony Lewis, author of Gideon’s Trumpet and Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment.

The Court and the Cross is a commendable and sobering account of the scope and significance of the Christian Right’s incessant efforts to make a mockery of core constitutional principle. Not only does it elegantly review key Supreme Court cases about religion, but points to the extensive range of social issues the Right is working to get up for examination before our highest court, an increasingly conservative body. If you are not sure that the decisions of the Supreme Court ‘matter much’ to you in your daily life, read The Court and the Cross and I guarantee you’ll be rethinking that position. The Court’s erosion of your individual religious freedom and the dictates of your conscience has already begun.” Rev. Barry Lynn, author of Piety & Politics: The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom and Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State

“In The Court and the Cross, Frederick S. Lane spotlights what ought to be one of the most critical issues in this election year: the religious right’s successful long-term effort to reshape the Supreme Court and the entire federal judiciary. With wit, legal erudition and political acumen, Lane explains exactly why the power to appoint federal judges with lifetime tenure may be a president’s most significant legacy and why liberals have been asleep at the switch while conservatives have had their way with the courts. This timely and disturbing book offers a much-needed wakeup call to all who cherish our Constitution and understand that the separation of church and state was America’s founding gift to its own citizens and the world.” Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism

“Nowhere has the religious right’s effort to remake America been more successful, or more poorly understood, than in its campaign to control the courts, a campaign rooted in a revisionist history that seeks to write secularism out of the nation’s past. Frederick Lane’s illuminating, important The Court and the Cross punctures the movement’s canards and deftly explains what’s at stake. Grounded in a fascinating history, this is compelling, crucial book.”Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism