Pulpit Politics: Faces of American Protestant Nationalism in the Twentieth Century
Jelen, Ted G., Journal of Church and State
Pulpit Politics: Faces of American Protestant Nationalism in the Twentieth Century. By Warren E. Vinz. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1997. 267 pp. $24.50.
The recent work of James Davison Hunter and other has suggested that contemporary American politics is characterized by a "culture war," in which the basic values of the nation are (unusually) contested during the current historical period. This sense of a recently-emerging cultural conflict, which supersedes a preexisting consensus, provides the context in which Warren L. Vinz's Pulpit Politics can be understood. In brief, Vinz has provided brief, but detailed and nuanced, intellectual portraits of analysts of the relationship between religion, politics, and (especially) foreign policy during the twentieth century. Individual chapters are devoted (in more or less chronological order) to Walter Rauschenbusch, Russell Conwell, J. Gresham Machen, William Hocking, John R. Rice, Reinhold Niebuhr, Carl Henry, and Jerry Falwell. Taken separately, each of these chapters, which are written from a sympathetic, yet critical, perspective, provides an excellent introduction to the thought of the historical figure in question.
However, the sum total of Vinz's achievement exceeds the exegesis of these pivotal thinkers of the past century. Vinz shows convincingly that American political culture has been characterized by a consensus for most of the history of the Republic. This consensus can be characterized as messianic and nationalistic, and contains deep religious roots. Because the content of the American Creed is internally inconsistent, conflict takes place within the confines of the consensus. Conflict arises because different analysts emphasize different aspects of the Creed.
Vinz argues that American Nationalism has four essential components: libertarianism, …
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Publication information: Article title: Pulpit Politics: Faces of American Protestant Nationalism in the Twentieth Century. Contributors: Jelen, Ted G. - Author. Journal title: Journal of Church and State. Volume: 40. Issue: 3 Publication date: Summer 1998. Page number: 698+. © 1999 J.M. Dawson Studies in Church and State. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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