Rob Boston’s New Book

Prometheus Books was kind enough to send me a copy of Rob Boston’s new book Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’ll do that in a few weeks when I’m traveling (airports and planes, good places to catch up on reading). Rob is one of the foremost advocates of separation of church and state and he is always worth reading.

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  • Sastra

    The title alone is a winner.

  • Alverant

    I wonder if there’s an audible version that’s going to be available or if his other works are available there.

  • Michael Heath

    I like Rob Boston, but his title is misleading in a way that continues to pollute the water when it comes defining rights. Instead of Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do, I recommend, Taking Liberties: Why Protection of Your Religious Freedom Rights Doesn’t Extend to Infringing On the Same Rights of Others.

    The right being discussed here is an inalienable, it is not granted by the government as Mr. Boston insinuates. This misattribution is one of the most popular ways people who defend rights miseducate the public in a manner harmful to their cause. It’s same framing that leads anti-abortion rights advocates to defectively claim the Constitution doesn’t grant women abortion rights.

  • Gretchen

    I don’t know anything about Rob Boston, but I’m very interested in reading this book and am also very glad he didn’t get the opportunity to consider Michael Heath’s recommended alternate title for it. Not that he would have chosen it anyway, because….yuck.

  • freehand

    Sometimes, Michael, telling a more precise or complete truth is not telling the truth. If the person you are talking to does not understand what you are saying because it is too subtle, too complex, or requires a background in examining certain ideas in depth, then that person will hear something very different from what you are saying.


    I read your alternate title carefully, read your explanation, compared them to each other and to the real title, and I cannot see the difference you are claiming. (Although I see Gretchen’s point and agree). I am not saying you are not offering real information, but words and ideas need to be tailored to the audience. As the company IT guy, I find that I can usually explain a problem, solution, or behavior of a computer to somebody without (usually) their eyes glazing over. Talking to them as I would another geek wouldn’t be saying anything to them at all.


    The problem is not that the folks who are the subject of the book don’t understand the difference between inalienable and government-granted rights; the problem is that they are self-centered arrogant bastards who can’t understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

  • Michael Heath


    Your point is well taken if:

    a) Americans were literate on the relationship between our rights and the government. But we are not, including many in this venue and,

    b) ignorance on this issue was immaterial when it comes to public policy. But again it’s not, we see the right constantly exploit confusion regarding the source of our rights. Confusion which is amplified by the left, including many in this venue.

    And we see these errors in spite of the fact the federal appellate court opinions are very careful about how they relate rights to people and the government.

    I’m not claiming my title is an optimal title, I did that off the cuff in mere seconds to make a point, not optimize a marketing strategy. Instead I’m pointing out that Mr. Boston’s title is misleading and creates further confusion on the idea of rights. Confusion that hinders the fight for equality and protection of our rights.