PDF Gods of Our Religion: Christianity in America: An Inside Conversation

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It was Graham who helped advise Eisenhower on becoming a Presbyterian after it emerged in the campaign that Eisenhower had never been baptized.

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Randall Balmer, a scholar of American religious history, said in God in America. Eisenhower and in the language of Billy Graham, this sense that religion is a sign of democracy. Graham would go on to share his pulpit with President Richard Nixon, and would advise presidents from both parties over the ensuing decades — including George W.

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You'll receive access to exclusive information and early alerts about our documentaries and investigations. I'm already subscribed. God in America. Twitter Facebook E-mail Share Comments. The Catholic church provides a stark illustration.

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In the s, white people outnumbered non-white people in Catholic churches by a to-one margin. While the most ingrained narratives of North American history depict it as a haven for minority sects, this varied considerably by colony. This frequently led to violence. In , a mob burned an Ursuline convent near Boston. Two years later, their presidential candidate, Millard Fillmore, got a fifth of the vote.

Early Mormon history was marked by a series of violent attacks by non-Mormons, and subsequent escapes to new gathering places.

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This repeated ostracism and violence led eventually to their overland trek to the Great Salt Lake, far from their often murderous Protestant antagonists, where they founded Utah. From the s and especially during the Great Depression, Jews were the victims of both ambient antisemitic sentiments and violent hate crimes, especially in the cities of the north-east. The story of American Protestantism has not been all about persecution, of course. Protestant clergy and lay people have played a part in progressive struggles — from abolition, to the civil rights movement, to manning the barricades in Charlottesville.

Many mainstream denominations have a decidedly liberal cast on social and economic issues. Politicized white Christian identity remains a potent force on the right. Republican policies and priorities continue to reflect this influence. Democrats are heavily favored by black and Hispanic Americans, including Hispanic Catholics, by young people, and by the growing number of religiously unaffiliated Americans.


A glance at the present, however, shows Republicans in charge of Congress, the presidency, and a majority of statehouses, and Trump looking to implement the stridently anti-immigrant, Christian right-friendly platform he was elected on. And it bears saying that nothing guarantees that Latinos, African Americans, or other non-white groups in America will remain loyal Democrats. White Christianity is not an immutable category. After all, white Catholics and Mormons — formerly the targets of Protestant persecution — have themselves become a part of the white Christian coalition.

A century ago, Irish, Italians, and Jews were not seen as white.

Soon, white people as a whole will be, too. Facebook Twitter Pinterest.

What it means to be a Christian in America today

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