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IMPERIAL LIBERALISM? RELIGION, EDUCATION, AND THE COLD WAR

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2010

FRANCIS G. COUVARES*
Affiliation:
E. Dwight Salmon Professor of History and American Studies, Amherst College E-mail: fgcouvares@amherst.edu

Extract

A few years ago I found myself at the Ogden, Utah rodeo with thirty schoolteachers from all over the world. They were participants in a Fulbright-supported American studies institute, and the trip to Utah was part of a weeklong foray into a part of America quite different from Amherst, MA, where the bulk of lectures and discussions had taken place in the previous three weeks. Our visit happened to coincide with “Armed Services Day,” and the spectacle my students encountered proved even more impressive than the riding and roping they had expected. The principle feature of that spectacle had to do with the organizers’ almost total confounding of religion and patriotism. At the high point of the event, over the roar of military band music and military helicopters passing overhead, the booming voice of the announcer declared that “God's helicopters” were protecting America and the rest of the world from tyranny. The books under review here endeavor to explain the spectacle in Ogden on that summer day—along with the train of events that, over sixty years ago, launched a crusade against “godless communism” and, a few decades later, made “the Christian right” a major force in American politics.

Type
Review Essays
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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References

1 Blum, Edward J., Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion and American Nationalism, 1865–1898 (Princeton, 2005)Google Scholar.

2 For an interesting debate over the morality of the Iraq war, along with a thoughtful discussion of Christian just-war theory, see Clough, David, Faith and Force: A Christian Debate about War (Washington, DC, 2007)Google Scholar.

3 See Shimahara, Nobuo and Conrad, David R., “Theodore Brameld's Culturological Vision: A Profile of a Reconstructionist,” Qualitative Studies in Education 4 (1991), 247–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar; also Conrad, David R., Education for Transformation: Implications in Lewis Mumford's Ecohumanism (Palm Springs, CA, 1976)Google Scholar.

4 Hollinger, David A., “Religious Ideas: Should They Be Critically Engaged or Given a Pass?Representations 101 (Winter 2008), 144–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5 See Schudson, Michael, The Good Citizen: A History of American Civic Life (New York, 1998)Google Scholar, and Smith, Rogers, Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History (New Haven, CT, 1997)Google Scholar.

6 Wills, Garry, Head and Heart: American Christianities (New York, 2007)Google Scholar.

7 Hollinger, David, Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism (New York, 1995)Google Scholar.

8 Archer, Robin, Why Is There No Labor Party in the United States? (Princeton, 2007)Google Scholar.

9 Foster, M. Gaines, Moral Reconstruction: Christian Lobbyists and the Federal Regulation of Morality, 1865–1920 (Chapel Hill, 2002)Google Scholar.

10 Flake, Kathleen, The Politics of Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle (Chapel Hill, 2004)Google Scholar.

11 The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, “Our God Is Marching On,” speech given in Montgomery, Alabama, 25 March 1965, collected in Carson, Clayborne and Shepherd, Kris, A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York, 2001)Google Scholar, and available online from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University, http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/kingpapers/article/our_god_is_marching_on/.

12 See Walsh, Frank, Sin and Censorship: The Catholic Church and the Motion Picture Industry (New Haven, 1996)Google Scholar; and Couvares, Francis G., “Hollywood, Main Street, and the Church: Trying to Censor the Movies before the Production Code,” in Couvares, Francis G., ed., Movie Censorship and American Culture, 2nd edn (Amherst, MA, 2006), 129–58Google Scholar.

13 Kevin Schultz, “‘Favoritism Cannot Be Tolerated’: Challenging de facto Protestantism in America's Public Schools and Advocating a Neutral State” American Quarterly, Sept. 2007, 565–91; see also his review of Lucas Swaine, The Liberal Conscience: Politics and Principle in a World of Religious Pluralism, H-Ideas, H-Net Reviews, Feb. 2007, available at http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=12873.

14 Different assessments of the theologian can be found in Fox, Richard Wightman, Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography (New York, 1985)Google Scholar; and Stone, Ronald H., Prophetic Realism: Beyond Militarism and Pacifism in an Age of Terror (New York, 2005)Google Scholar.

15 Winter, Gibson, The Suburban Captivity of the Churches (Garden City, NY, 1961)Google Scholar.

16 Horowitz, Daniel, Vance Packard and American Social Criticism (Chapel Hill, 1994)Google Scholar; and idem, Betty Friedan and the Making of The Feminine Mystique: The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism (Amherst, MA, 1998); Whitfield, Stephen J., The Culture of the Cold War, 2nd edn (Baltimore, 1996)Google Scholar; Pells, Richard H., The Liberal Mind in a Conservative Age: American Intellectuals in the 1940s and 1950s (New York, 1985)Google Scholar.

17 See Wuthnow, Robert, America and the Challenge of Religious Diversity (Princeton, 2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and the latest survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “Changes in Religious Affiliation in the United States” (2009), at http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=409.

18 Hefner, Robert W., Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia (Princeton, 2000)Google Scholar.

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