In this remarkable book about religion and politics today, Commonweal writer Michael Gallagher asks the question, How does one adhere to an essentially simple faith in a complex society that lacks moral leadership not only in its government, but also in its religious institutions? Laws of Heaven answers by exploring the lives of twelve extraordinary men and women whose controversial beliefs have led them to challenge their church and government as well as to frequently place their lives on the line. Here you will meet some of contemporary America's bravest and most unusual citizens: Marietta Jaegar, whose young daughter was brutally murdered by a serial killer, and who has become a dedicated anti-death penalty and peace activist; Charlie Liteky, who, relinquishing the Medal of Honor and the pension that accompanies it, fasted regularly in order to protest U.S. support of the Contras in Nicaragua; Elizabeth McAlister, who, like her husband, Philip Berrigan, repeatedly took part in acts of civil disobedience to protest American reliance on nuclear weapons; William P. Ford, a Wall Street attorney whose life was turned upside down when his sister was killed in El Salvador. Laws of Heaven is a challenging and provocative contribution to our understanding of the world in which we live. The lives of its twelve subjects force us to confront our own values and to ask how far we would be willing to go for what we believe in. EXTRAORDINARY PRAISE FOR LAWS OF HEAVEN ""Michael Gallagher is the rare writer who can write about saintliness without sounding sanctimonious, about religion without losing the interest of the nonbeliever, about humanity in the deepest sense as one who practices it."" --John Simon ""Michael Gallagher's Laws of Heaven is a compassionate look at men and women who are willing to accept martyrdom for their beliefs. Its effect is to make the reader examine with diligence his own beliefs in these last years of our twentieth century."" --Horton Foote ""Being an atheist, I do not share the religious faith of these embodiments of the life force, but I greatly admire their witnessing--and I wish this book were in every school library in the country. Everybody is talking about the need for moral guidance in America. Well, here it is."" --Nat Hentoff Michael Gallagher is a former Jesuit seminarian and an ex-paratrooper who spent many years working within the Catholic Church as the film critic for the U.S. Catholic Conference. He has written extensively about religion, literature, and film for such periodicals as Commonweal, Newsday, Sports Illustrated, The National Catholic Reporter, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He now teaches and works at John Carroll University in Cleveland, where he lives with his family.