God and War: American Civil Religion Since 1945

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Rutgers University Press, 2012 - History - 286 pages
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Americans have long considered their country to be good—a nation "under God" with a profound role to play in the world. Yet nothing tests that proposition like war. Raymond Haberski argues that since 1945 the common moral assumptions expressed in an American civil religion have become increasingly defined by the nation's experience with war. 

God and War traces how three great postwar “trials”—the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the War on Terror—have revealed the promise and perils of an American civil religion. Throughout the Cold War, Americans combined faith in God and faith in the nation to struggle against not only communism but their own internal demons. The Vietnam War tested whether America remained a nation "under God," inspiring, somewhat ironically, an awakening among a group of religious, intellectual and political leaders to save the nation's soul. With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 behind us and the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, Americans might now explore whether civil religion can exist apart from the power of war to affirm the value of the nation to its people and the world.

 

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About the author (2012)

RAYMOND HABERSKI JR. is an associate professor of history at Marian University. He is the author of several books, including It's Only a Movie: Films and Critics in American Culture, The Miracle Case: Film Censorship and the Supreme Court, and Freedom to Offend: How New York Remade Movie Culture.

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