CONVERSATION WITH AUTHOR OF BOOK "ONE NATION UNDER GOD"
Category: News & PoliticsVia: the-padre • 3 years ago • 5 comments
(Summarized) Kevin Kruse's book investigates how the idea of America as a Christian nation was promoted at least as far back as the 1930s and '40s when industrialists and business lobbies, chafing against the government regulations of the New Deal, recruited and funded conservative clergy to preach faith, freedom and free enterprise. This conflation of Christianity and capitalism moved to center stage in the '50s under Eisenhower's watch and continues to hold current sway.
The words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase "In God we trust" on the back of a dollar bill were inserted in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration.
According to the conventional narrative, "the Soviet Union discovered the bomb and the United States rediscovered God. In order to push back against the atheistic communism of the Soviet Union, Americans re-embraced a religious identity." That plays a small role here, but ... there's actually a longer arc.
If you look at the architects of this language ... the state power that they're worried most about is not the Soviet regime in Moscow, but rather the New Deal and Fair Deal administrations in Washington, D.C.
The New Deal had passed a large number of measures that were regulating business in some ways for the first time, and it [had] empowered labor unions and given them a voice in the affairs of business. Corporate leaders resented both of these moves and so they launched a massive campaign of public relations designed to sell the values of free enterprise. The problem was that their naked appeals to the merits of capitalism were largely dismissed by the public.