Religion and values have turned out to be central issues in Campaign 2000--politicians and voters alike are debating the role that religious faith has in the political process. As the election nears and the debate intensifies, be sure to be up on your reading on this important topic. The following is a compilation of Beliefnet's picks for the best books out there, required reading for anyone who is fascinated with the intersection of religion, values, and politics.

With God On Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America
By William Martin
Broadway Books, 1996
Extremely thorough, this thick volume traces the rise of the religious right from Billy Graham to the Christian Coalition. Sociologist William Martin interviewed key leaders for the book, resulting in helpful portraits of Falwell, Robertson, as figures as complex as they are controversial.

Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics
By Clyde Wilcox
Westview Press, 1996
A helpful book, packed with charts laying out voter turnout, Republican party influence, and evangelical politics by race. Wilcox gives a blow-by-blow analysis of how the religious right came to power--climaxing with the 1995 "Republican Revolution"--and assesses how the religious right may or may not fit into the "proper role" of religious groups in American politics.

What's God Got To Do With the American Experiment?
Edited by E.J. Dionne and John J. DiIulio
Brookings Institution Press, 2000
A compelling collection of essays by thinkers spanning the political spectrum, this new book paints a picture of the current state of religion and politics in America. Among other issues, the moral fallout of the Clinton scandal, the legitimacy of faith-based organizations accepting government funds, and the proper role for religious conservatives on the political scene are discussed astutely and thoroughly.

The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness
By Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore
W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1996
This concise volume puts forth the argument that the Founders of the Constitution intended for there to be strict church-state separation, and that the efforts over the most recent decades to interject religion into political discourse (read: the religious right) are unconstitutional and dangerous.

Religion in Public Life : A Dilemma for Democracy
By Ronald F. Thiemann
Georgetown University Press, 1996
A tightly-written argument in favor of abolishing the separation between church and state, this book advocates religious views being awarded equal social standing to secular political perspectives.

Religion and American Politics: From the Colonial Period to the 1980s
Edited By Mark A. Noll
Oxford University Press, 1990
A historical survey that examines the interaction between religion and politics during various periods of American history. Thorough and engaging, this collection of essays offers insight into current debates through the lens of historical scholarship.

Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America?
By Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson
Zondervan, 1999
A much-discussed book in which the authors, both key inside players in Moral Majority and other Christian conservative groups, argue that the political arena is too corrupt for well-minded Christians to accomplish righteousness within its borders. The book supports many of the central issues and positions that conservative Christian political activists adopt, but presents a more individualized, personal faith-based approach to solving social problems.

The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America
By Richard John Neuhaus
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986
Arguing that conversations about public life and political philosophy are disconcertingly devoid of solid values, Neuhaus urges a focus on Judeo-Christian sources as a foundation for a more lasting public philosophy.