Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy
, Feb 28, 2012
A first major work of history on a crucial but under-examined topic, Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith explores the role of religion in American foreign policy. From the first colonists to the presidents of the 21st Century, Andrew Preston's unparalleled study show us how religion has always shaped America's relationships with other nations, and what to expect in the future.
During the presidency of George W. Bush, many Americans and others around the world viewed the entrance of religion into foreign policy discourse, especially with regard to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a "new" development. But despite the official division between church and state, the presence of religion in American foreign policy has been a constant since before the Founding Fathers. Yet aside from leaders known to be personally religious, such as Bush, Jimmy Carter and Woodrow Wilson, few realize how central faith has always been to American governance and diplomacy--and indeed to the idea of America itself. In Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith, Andrew Preston starts at the beginning, and with revelatory findings, shows us how and why.