With God on All Sides

With God on All Sides CoverPerhaps no other nation is or has ever been as religiously diverse as the United States. For elected officials, school principals, corporate leaders, and many others, this diversity poses unique challenges. Leaders bring their own faiths to public life, and they daily encounter followers of similar and different faiths. Good leadership must draw together people from varied backgrounds in order to achieve something in common. This is no simple task.

How should leaders deal with menorahs and crosses, veils and turbans, prayers and holidays? How do they and their followers turn the cacophony of beliefs and practices into a kind of citizenship worthy of the American tradition of religious freedom? How can they honor the religious convictions of all Americans? In With God on All Sides, Douglas A. Hicks provides a roadmap for leaders as they traverse the post-9/11 landscape. Although the devout possess moral and spiritual resources that can enrich civic life, leaders must also be prepared to cope with nearly inevitable conflicts between people of different faiths. Yet wise leaders can find ways to transform the problem of diversity into an opportunity. Drawing on their moral and spiritual resources, Americans of all creeds have the capacity to enhance the quality of our civic debate. Their faith-based practices create occasions for mutual learning.

Hicks tells the stories of how diverse Americans have transformed public controversies into cases of cooperation. The key to good leadership, Hicks writes, is to engage one another across lines of difference with a spirit of humility, build communication and trust, and offer an inclusive vision that is true to America’s principles. Based on years of research and practical experience, With God on All Sides provides an invaluable and thought-provoking guide to leadership–and citizenship–in our devout and diverse nation.


Douglas Hicks understands the power and the diversity of religion in America. In this book he breaks it down, analyzes it and offers suggestions on how our leaders can and should deal with it. A thoughtful, evenhanded work.

Bob Schieffer, CBS News


Solidly based in history and attuned to today, Hicks’s book is a realistic guide to how we can positively live and work together.  I highly recommend it as a major contribution to an effective leadership.

James MacGregor Burns, author of Leadership and Running Alone


Among its many contributions, the Commonwealth of Virginia has offered two great Virginia values to the nation: equality and religious freedom. In our current politics, too full of division and fear-mongering, these are principles we can stand on. Douglas Hicks interprets these key ideas and invites us all into a public conversation about religious faith in America. His well-written book serves as a guide.

The Hon. Tim Kaine, Governor of Virginia


This is an exceptional book. I whipped through it in a day, and then went back and re-read my favorite parts again. For all those who want America’s mix of religious devotion and diversity to lead to cooperation instead of a clash of civilizations, this book is required reading.

Eboo Patel, Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core and author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation


In this highly accessible and interesting book, Douglas Hicks describes how religion in all of its diversity can help build common ground. He ably draws on studies of both religion and leadership to produce a book with practical implications for American public life.

Diana Eck, author of A New Religious America: How a “Christian Country” Has Become the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation