The Public Interest

The soul of a nation

Wilfred M. McClay

Spring 2004

IN the immediate wake of the September 11 attacks, Americans found themselves faced with an unexpected choice between radically different perspectives on the proper place of religion in modern Western society. The alternative perspectives were not new.  But the urgency with which they were felt, and the intensity with which they were articulated, marked a dramatic departure. Coming at a moment when Americans had been gradually rethinking many settled precedents regarding religion and public life, it seemed to give a sharper edge to the questions being asked.

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