By Gerald L. Sittser
In A wary Patriotism, Gerald Sittser examines the problems raised via global battle II in gentle of the reactions they provoked between Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Unitarians, and contributors of alternative Christian denominations. As Sittser demonstrates, spiritual issues performed an element within the debate over American access into the struggle and persevered to resurface over problems with mobilization, army chaplaincy, civil rights, the internment of eastern american citizens, Jewish anguish, the shedding of the atomic bomb, and postwar making plans. eventually, Sittser says, the church buildings' habit in the course of international battle II performed a key function within the resurgence they skilled within the wake of the conflict.
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4 Such pronouncements came from many religious quarters. Leaders of the United Lutheran Church in America passed a resolution saying that the crisis symbolized a new and dangerous capitulation to godlessness. "God has been left out of the lives of men," the statement read. "6 Other church leaders argued that the war was precipitating a crisis on a whole range of frontsin the ecumenical movement, in missions, in the Page 5 progress of liberal religion, or in the spread of religious liberty. 7 Whatever the nature of the consequences, the crisis of the Second World War was as severe as anything that Western civilization had ever witnessed.
Their heritage and the nation's, their destiny and the nation's, were too tightly interwoven to make disloyalty a reasonable option for the vast majority of Christians. Most Christians in America had grown up believing that America occupied a special place in God's plan for history. It would have been difficultvirtually impossible, reallyfor the churches to be unpatriotic. But the churches did not gravitate to the other extreme either. They were not blindly and fanatically patriotic. They attached certain conditions to their patriotism.
The repeal of Prohibition and the popularity of Hollywood, mass marketing, and consumerism only confirmed the impression that America was slowing slipping away from the influence of traditional values. By the middle of the decade the shadow of Nazism, Stalinism, and Fascism began to fall over Europe. Soon most of Europe was engaged in war. Eventually the greater part of it was absorbed or conquered by the Nazi war machine. Thus the Second World war followed closely behind a series of crises in American society, as Niebuhr intimated in the first editorial of Christianity and Crisis.
A Cautious Patriotism: The American Churches & the Second World War by Gerald L. Sittser
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