Pollsters usually ask whether Americans consider themselves "evangelicals," because evangelical is a broader, less loaded term that can encompass both theological liberals and theological conservatives. Both the Constitution and the pragmatic realities of living in a pluralistic society enjoin us to respect our fellow citizens' right to believe whatever they want-as long as their belief, in Thomas Jefferson's phrase, "neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. Secularism, skepticism, and acceptance of mainstream science all rise with education; two thirds of college graduates, but only about one third of high school graduates, believe that living beings have evolved over time with or without the guiding hand of a creator. Add the centrists to the secularists, and 63 percent of Americans believe that the will of the people, not the Bible, should exert the greatest influence on American law and government. Whether the lesson has been learned, or whether unreason will return in future government-funded attempts to teach a particular version of sexual morality, remains an open question. The continuing strength of religious fundamentalism in America again, unique in the developed world is generally cited as the sole reason for the bizarre persistence of anti-evolutionism. That death is no big deal for believing Christians strikes me as a dubious proposition; but even if it were true, it would fall within the Jeffersonian category of something that gives no offense to those who are less sanguine about dying. It is, however, a big deal for a justice of the United States Supreme Court to base important legal decisions, affecting Americans of all faiths and no faith, on his religious belief in an afterlife. Today's institution is descended from the Marine Hospital Service, established by Congress in to look after the health of American seamen. Forty-three percent of Americans take the centrist religious position that the Bible is divinely inspired but not to be taken literally. But that simple answer does not address the larger question of why so many nonfundamentalist Americans are willing to dismiss scientific consensus. Mar 02, Bruce rated it it was amazing An eye opening book in this era of "fake news" and distrust of intellectuals and "elites. As Lord observes, public sex education programs -- especially in dealing with contraceptives -- have always been hampered by the perceived conflict between effective medicine and morality as defined by the most conservative religious and cultural forces in American society. President Bill Clinton's first surgeon general, Joycelyn Elders, was known as the "condom queen" for emphasizing birth control until she finally lost her job for having the temerity to say that "masturbation is a part of human sexuality.