Here's one thing I definitely agree with: Rick Warren's comment on the back: "You won't agree with everything, but you will learn and grow!"  In fact, I can agree with many of this author's "complaints" (since that's all the book is... one complaint after another), but I most often don't agree with his conclusions.

In the chapter about the 'abortion myth,' I learned some really interesting things in this one about what really motivates the religious right (as Balmer calls them), but I see his argument as "You don't seem to care about divorce or women leaders, so why do you care about abortion and homosexuality." I say care about all those things from a Biblical basis.

He talks about the separation of church and state as being a good thing and gives many examples of original baptists' desires to be free from governmental control. Certainly I agree that our first amendment indicates the government should not force any once "religion" (and again I learned some things about the '10 commandments' monument I had not know before - though the subject is still murky and certainly can lead to a slippery slope), but often times the complaints that come up against religious symbols are simply founded on another religion. Atheism is a religious viewpoint and in terms of religious complaints, it's apparently okay for non-'religious' people to be offended by religious symbols, but not for religious people to be offended by the removal or prohibition of their symbols (or... as seems the case lately... prohibition of their rights like free speech when talking about Biblical laws). You can claim disestablishmentism, but in the end, you're only establishing something else.

The chapter on education is also again, enlightening, but fails to reach a sensible conclusion. Apparently Balmer believes everyone should be taught in public schools and there should be no exceptions (especially those evil homeschoolers!!!). While I certainly agree it's preposterous to take large sums of government money to give vouchers to kids to attend expensive private schools... and have most of those go to families that could already afford them, I don't see a reason that people who choose to privately school their children in non-public schools or at home shouldn't be able to claim a deduction for the amount of their taxes that goes to public schools. Certainly it would be much less than these vouchers.  (As a side note, I had a ... probably scandalous thought... that one of the things that differentiates middle class from upper middle class... or heck 'poor' people who can't get by vs low-income people who beat all the odds... is their ability to search out and take advantage of 'deals' and tax breaks. So it's no surprise that upper-middle incomers are using the vouchers if they're available. Don't make them available. There's a free clinic in our town that would be awesome for me to use and save money on healthcare expenses... but I can't use it because I make more than the poverty level. I'm okay with that.)

Then there's the environmental chapter. Again, I agree that some people go to far extremes to abuse the environment, treat it like it doesn't matter, or leave huge problems to future generations. But there are also people that go to such 'green' extremes, that it becomes almost a religion to them, worshiping the Earth, if you will. I once read something about a group that seemed to be anti-environmentalist for this reason... I thought they were a bit too extreme, but they had some valid points. I recycle, conserve, and do whatever else I can, but I don't devote my entire life to protecting the planet.

Finally, in his conclusion, he names several people who are supposed to be upstanding moral citizens, and then criticizes them for their one major fault. Saying they should take care of the plank in their own eye. I wonder what planks Balmer has that he isn't sharing as he complains about their specks? So someone compiled a list of virtues and wrote a very popular book... and he had (at some point) a bad gambling problem?  All of us are human. We can't be perfect, and it seems like Balmer thinks his ideas are perfect.

What I'm not finding anywhere in the book is a sense of humility. A little bit of that can go a long way... no matter what side you're on!