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One Nation Under God: How Corporate America…
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One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America

by Kevin M. Kruse

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This is a fascinating and timely book describing the evolution in the use of religion in federal politics since the New Deal. I highly recommend it. ( )
  baobab | Mar 29, 2016 |
I hadn't realized how relatively recently the public expression of religion into the civic space happened. I grew up thinking that the "under God" phrase was a traditional part of the Pledge of Allegiance that we recited each morning at school. In reality, that phrase was incorporated when I was a pre-schooler. Similarly, "In God We Trust" was only adopted as the nation's official motto in 1956, replacing the unofficial but traditional "E Pluribus Unum."
The author does a fine job of tracing the forces that worked to introduce these changes. Prominent among them was the dissatisfaction of conservative businessmen with what they viewed as the creeping socialism that they saw FDR's New Deal as introducing. Another major force was the rise of mass media evangelistic Christianity--most notably in the person of Billy Graham.
It took the Supreme Court to reinforce separation between church and state. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Jul 13, 2015 |
Please read my review at the New York Journal of Books:

http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/one-nation ( )
1 vote kswolff | Apr 15, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465049494, Hardcover)

We’re often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the idea of “Christian America” is an invention—and a relatively recent one at that.

As Kruse argues, the belief that America is fundamentally and formally a Christian nation originated in the 1930s when businessmen enlisted religious activists in their fight against FDR’s New Deal. Corporations from General Motors to Hilton Hotels bankrolled conservative clergymen, encouraging them to attack the New Deal as a program of “pagan statism” that perverted the central principle of Christianity: the sanctity and salvation of the individual. Their campaign for “freedom under God” culminated in the election of their close ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.

But this apparent triumph had an ironic twist. In Eisenhower’s hands, a religious movement born in opposition to the government was transformed into one that fused faith and the federal government as never before. During the 1950s, Eisenhower revolutionized the role of religion in American political culture, inventing new traditions from inaugural prayers to the National Prayer Breakfast. Meanwhile, Congress added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and made “In God We Trust” the country’s first official motto. With private groups joining in, church membership soared to an all-time high of 69%. For the first time, Americans began to think of their country as an officially Christian nation.

During this moment, virtually all Americans—across the religious and political spectrum—believed that their country was “one nation under God.” But as Americans moved from broad generalities to the details of issues such as school prayer, cracks began to appear. Religious leaders rejected this “lowest common denomination” public religion, leaving conservative political activists to champion it alone. In Richard Nixon’s hands, a politics that conflated piety and patriotism became sole property of the right.

Provocative and authoritative, One Nation Under God reveals how the unholy alliance of money, religion, and politics created a false origin story that continues to define and divide American politics to this day.


(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:16:40 -0400)

"We're often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the idea of 'Christian America' is an invention--and a relatively recent one at that. As Kruse argues, the belief that America is fundamentally and formally a Christian nation originated in the 1930s when businessmen enlisted religious activists in their fight against FDR's New Deal. Corporations from General Motors to Hilton Hotels bankrolled conservative clergymen, encouraging them to attack the New Deal as a program of 'pagan statism' that perverted the central principle of Christianity: the sanctity and salvation of the individual. Their campaign for 'freedom under God' culminated in the election of their close ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. But this apparent triumph had an ironic twist. In Eisenhower's hands, a religious movement born in opposition to the government was transformed into one that fused faith and the federal government as never before. During the 1950s, Eisenhower revolutionized the role of religion in American political culture, inventing new traditions from inaugural prayers to the National Prayer Breakfast. Meanwhile, Congress added the phrase 'under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance and made 'In God We Trust' the country's first official motto. With private groups joining in, church membership soared to an all-time high of 69%. For the first time, Americans began to think of their country as an officially Christian nation. During this moment, virtually all Americans--across the religious and political spectrum--believed that their country was 'one nation under God.' But as Americans moved from broad generalities to the details of issues such as school prayer, cracks began to appear. Religious leaders rejected this 'lowest common denomination' public religion, leaving conservative political activists to champion it alone. In Richard Nixon's hands, a politics that conflated piety and patriotism became sole property of the right. Provocative and authoritative, One Nation Under God reveals how the unholy alliance of money, religion, and politics created a false origin story that continues to define and divide American politics to this day"-- "In One Nation Under God, award-winning historian Kevin M. Kruse argues that the story of Christian America begins with the Great Depression, when a coalition of businessmen and religious leaders united in opposition to the New Deal. As Kruse shows, corporations from General Motors and Kraft Foods to J.C. Penney and Hilton Hotels, poured money into the coffers of conservative religious leaders, who in turn used those funds to attack FDR's New Deal administration as a program of "pagan statism" that perverted the central tenet of Christianity: the salvation of the individual"--… (more)

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