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Faith and War

How Christians Debated the Cold and Vietnam Wars

David Settje

Publication Year: 2011

Throughout American history, Christianity has shaped public opinion, guided leaders in their decision making, and stood at the center of countless issues. To gain complete knowledge of an era, historians must investigate the religious context of what transpired, why it happened, and how. Yet too little is known about American Christianity’s foreign policy opinions during the Cold and Vietnam Wars. To gain a deeper understanding of this period (1964-75), David E. Settje explores the diversity of American Christian responses to the Cold and Vietnam Wars to determine how Americans engaged in debates about foreign policy based on their theological convictions.

Settje uncovers how specific Christian theologies and histories influenced American religious responses to international affairs, which varied considerably. Scrutinizing such sources as the evangelical Christianity Today, the mainline Protestant ,Christian Century, a sampling of Catholic periodicals, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the United Church of Christ, Faith and War explores these entities' commingling of religion, politics, and foreign policy, illuminating the roles that Christianity attempted to play in both reflecting and shaping American foreign policy opinions during a decade in which global matters affected Americans daily and profoundly.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

The stereotype of a historian toiling away by herself in archives and then writing in solitude is thankfully far from the truth. In the process of my writing this book, numerous people touched my life and factored into what you read here, in both tangible, measurable ways and more vague, subtle ways. I am grateful to each and every one of them. Since I inevitably will ...

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Introduction. Introduction: Christianity and Foreign Policy, 1964–1975: An Introductory Analysis

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pp. 1-22

Throughout U.S. history, Christianity has shaped public opinion, guided leaders in their decision making, and stood at the center of every contentious issue. One cannot study any period of time or major issue in American history without confronting Christianity’s effect. Religious sensibilities have had positive and negative influences, but they have always had an influence. The ...

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1. Christianity and the Cold War, 1964–1968

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pp. 23-60

In September 1964, Billy Graham held the Greater Omaha–Council Bluffs Crusade. Graham told the 16,100 participants that teenage rebellion, sexuality, and a collapse of law and order endangered the United States, and he emphasized that this situation paved the way for Communists, who were “just waiting until we get soft enough” with moral standards and anti-Communist ...

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2. Christian Responses to Vietnam, 1964–1968

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pp. 61-94

In 1968, Dr. Harold John Ockeng a, pastor of Park Street Church in Boston, traveled to Vietnam and wrote an article for Christianity Today in response: he castigated those who called for negotiations with North Vietnam or prophesied a U.S. defeat because doing so did “a great disservice to a heroic people and a great cause.” He felt that a “compromise with the VC [Viet-...

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3. Christianity Confronts Cold War Nixon Policies, 1969–1973

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pp. 95-126

In June 1970, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual gathering signaled a continued conservatism in their foreign policy outlook. Coming at the end of a violent few years in U.S. history, with the assassination of leaders such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy, urban rioting and burning, the eruption of Chicago during the 1968 ...

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4. Christian America Responds to Nixon’s Vietnam Policies

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pp. 127-160

Elected in 1968 partially because he pledged to seek peace in Vietnam, Richard M. Nixon became a lightning rod for Christian debates about the Vietnam War during the 1970s. Establishing a policy that came to be known as “Vietnamization,” Nixon insisted that he would not abandon the U.S. ally in South Vietnam until it could prosecute the war on its own and thereby protect ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 161-178

By 1975, much of America had grown tired of foreign policy debates, a reality borne out in portions of the Christian community yet with significant exceptions. Many entities lost interest in global issues, as revealed in the fact that Christian sources that had previously contained numerous and lengthy articulations of foreign affairs viewpoints housed much less such discussion by ...

Notes

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pp. 179-200

Bibliography

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pp. 201-224

Index

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pp. 225-232

About the Author

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pp. 233-234


E-ISBN-13: 9780814708729
E-ISBN-10: 0814708722
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814741337
Print-ISBN-10: 0814741339

Page Count: 244
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Christianity and international relations -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Cold War -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
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