SPIRITUAL POLITICS: Religion and America Since World War II by Mark Silk

SPIRITUAL POLITICS: Religion and America Since World War II

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A reporter for the Atlanta Constitution, Silk offers an expanded feature article on 45 years of love affairs and squabbles among America's establishment religions. Flashing through the decades, Silk describes how Jews, Protestants, and Catholics together and separately faced national issues--and how those issues were in themselves shaped by what we have come to call ""Judeo-Christian"" values. Travelling from the postwar moral crisis triggered by Hiroshima to today's baby boomers in need of ""the Sunday School experience"" for their kids, Silk focuses again and again on the uneasy ecumenism that is inextricably tied to the American way. The development of the concept ""Judeo-Christian"" grew out of the need for Americans to paper over their religious exclusivism and to cope with the problem of pluralism. Silk chronicles alliances and riffs among the churches as they unite during the Cold War and the civil-rights movement and split over anti-war issues, demonstrating along the way the American compulsion to involve God in public affairs. Silk has a reporter's ear for anecdote, and he knows how to tell a story, but after the parade of colorful figures--from Fulton Sheen and Thomas Merton (both summed up in the same paragraph) to Billy Graham and Jerry Fatwell--has gone by, the meaning of his stoW is obscured in the blizzard of events. And while he optimistically concludes that the marriage between religious and national values is intact, protecting us from excesses, the violence inherent in exclusivist creeds certainly remains a dangerous potential despite his breezy appraisal.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1988
ISBN: 067167563X
Publisher: Simon & Schuster