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William Sloane Coffin imomortalized in Doonesbury
5.14.04
Society and Community:
Susan Jacoby
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Biography

Bill Moyers interviews author Susan Jacoby on the separation of church and state in America today, and why she believes preserving the sanctity of American secularism is fundamental to democracy and to the benefit of both religion and government.

Susan Jacoby





Susan Jacoby, who began her writing career as a reporter for THE WASHINGTON POST, is the author of five books, including WILD JUSTICE, a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she has been a contributor to THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE NATION, TomPaine.com and the AARP Bulletin, among other publications. She is also director of the Center for Inquiry-Metro New York and lives in New York City.

In her latest book, FREETHINKERS: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN SECULARISM, Jacoby offers an impassioned history that challenges the current marginalization of secular values. FREETHINKERS illuminates the neglected accomplishments of secularists who have stood at the forefront of the battle for every kind of reform — from the framing of a Constitution based on human rights rather than divine authority to the feminist and civil liberties movements of the 20th century. The book not only explores the religious skepticism of such iconic figures as Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton but also restores to history such dedicated and forgotten secular humanists as Robert Green Ingersoll, known as "the Great Agnostic" and the most famous orator in 19th-century America.

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