Fading Faith: The Rise of the Secular Age, by James A. Haught (Cranford, N.J.: Gustav Broukal Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-57884-009-0) 167 pp. Paper, $16.00.
Jim Haught, no stranger to readers of this journal, is the longtime editor of the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia, a former press aide to the late Senator Robert Byrd, and the author of seven books and too many columns, news articles, and editorials to count.
Fading Faith is a wide-ranging sampling of his writing of recent years in Free Inquiry, the Gazette, and other venues on subjects such as the growing secularization of America combined with the growth of the religious Right and the hollowing out of what might be called the religious mainstream. Haught reminds readers of the violence and thuggery often linked to fundamentalist-tending religion.
He also touches on a topic that is all too rarely discussed in this country: “Privately, many gifted ministers don’t believe the supernatural dogmas of their churches. Nobel Prize-winning martyr Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King were skeptic-minded Unitarians in Boston before they made a calculated decision to become Deep South Baptists to fight America’s racial segregation.” (Haught cites an article by Robert James Scofield in the November 2009 Tikkun as his source.) This has been my observation as well, one that leads me to take a nuanced, balanced view of people wearing traditional religious labels.
Fading Faith is a breezy, worthwhile read.