How the Cold War Changed American Evangelical Fundamentalism
Ault, James M. Jr. Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.
Ault began this as a postgraduate research project and it wound up being a PBS documentary. I am hopeful that this sociologist’s reporting of life with a Fundamentalist Baptist Church will give me some insight into history and viewpoints. Although, not a book about the Cold War, it will afford insights into post World War II fundamentalist religion.
Doherty, Thomas. Cold War, Cool Medium; Television, McCarthyism, and American Culture.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.
The Cold War struggle against atheistic Soviet communism, at least as perceived in themind of American Christians, changed their perception from America as a Christian nation to America as a Judeo-Christian nation. There was an emphasis on ecumenicalism and an ‘it doesn’t matter what you believe in as long as you believe in something’ attitude as a doctrinally nonspecific civil religion which was reflected in the medium of the age; television. Very insightful reading that goes into the religious stars of the television age as well.
Fried, Richard M. The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!: Pageantry and
Patriotism in Cold War America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
The author discusses, among other things, the sentiments that led to adding “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance, the American Legion’s “Back to God” program, and the many other popular and politicized celebrations of the Americans’ faith in God as a defensive action against “godless” communism. This is very entertaining and eye opening.
Goodall, Norman. The Ecumenical Movement: What It Is and What It Does. London:
Oxford University Press, 1961.
This book is written from a United Kingdom perspective but is valuable in explaining exactly what the ecumenical movement was during the Cold War, reflecting on its larger organizations and stated intentions. I feel it is a valuable resource on the organization of the movement that had some impact on religion in America during the Cold War. Fundamentalists were generally opposed to it, although that is not part of this book. It is a rather syrupy and biased book extolling the ecumenical movement but the information in it will be of value to me, I am certain.
Hough, Joseph C. Black Power and White Protestants. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1968.
This work is a rather tortured study of the need for a response from predominantly white Christian congregations to the demand for social justice in America that had great power after WWII. This book helps explain the politicization of religion during the Cold War in America. Its well written and I think will be a help to my understanding of the topic.
Ingwalson, Kenneth W. ed. Your Church – Their Target. Arlington, Va.:
Better Books Publisher, 1966.
This is really a compilation of essays from various pastors of mainstream Protestant churches specifically detailing how they believe the Soviet Union and communist workers in America were trying to infiltrate American churches. The essays go into great specifics from folk music to education material (a tie in with Mickenburg’s book mentioned later) and don’t hang on generalities. The preachers and theologians listed in the book lend evidence to how the Cold War was perceived by leaders in American fundamentalist and mainline Protestant denominations.
Kirby, Dianne, ed. Religion and the Cold War. New York: Palgrave, 2003.
Kirby credits President Truman with the accomplishment of using religion to get Americans to abandon what she calls isolationism and to embark on globalism and world leadership. It is Truman who comes up with the plan to use religion as a tool against communism, in her estimation. Although her book is not specifically about America it does render lots of clues on how I might proceed in my study and what to look for. I think it’s well written and informative.
Lahr, Angela. Millennial Dreams and Apocalyptic Nightmares: The Cold War Origins of Political Evangelicalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
The important thing about this book is how it details how evangelical and fundamental religious forces went from being marginalized in America with the growing secularization of the country before Second World War to being in the political front line of the fight against communism and Soviet influence in America.
Marsden, George. Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. Grand Rapids, Mich.:Wm. B. Erdmans Publishing, 1991.
This book has provided a necessary background as to the state of Fundamental Protestant Christianity and Evangelicalism on the eve of the Cold War. It reviews the history of Fundamentalist Christianity in America and is the best book so far I’ve found for the context needed to approach the subject of the Cold War and American Evangelical Fundamentalism. It gives the important information about where the movement was as the Cold War began and the Second World War ended. It’s easy to read.
Massi, Jeri. Schizophrenic Sermons: Blasphemy, Heresy, and Deceptions Preached as Scripture by Prominent Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Preachers. Raleigh, NC: Jupiter Rising Books, 2008.
This book purports to be about how Christian fundamentalism is a modern, twisted type of Christianity. I have not read this book yet. It is not about the Cold War but as context is going to be so important in my research to find out exactly what changes have occurred in American evangelical fundamentalism as a result of the Cold War I believe it will be useful. I am wary, though, because Massi does seem to have an axe to grind.
May, Elaine Tyler. Homeward Bound; American Families in the Cold War Era. New York:
Basic Books, 1988.
I found this book to be a great resource for discovering the ways that American church life changed because of the Cold War with churches going from places of prayer and charity to youth recreation, political action, and social events. Church membership dramatically increased during the early Cold War period. It’s a great read and there is a lot of information in it that will be useful.
Mickenburg, Julia L. Learning from the Left; Children’s Literature, the Cold War, and Radical Politics in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
There developed in Cold War America a tension between the perceived attempt to radicalize children through literature from the left and Christian opposition to it. She quotes from the previous cited book by Elaine May and brings up things that May does not including Claire Booth Luce’s “The Communist Challenge to a Christian World”.
Morgan, Ted. Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth Century America. New York: Random House,2003.
This book while not dealing with religion in particular other than that Senator McCarthy was a Roman Catholic does give background and context to my study. It also explains, while others do not, the way Americans looked at the Russian Revolution and the Soviet State. It’s a nice read.
Noll, Mark A. Protestants in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Noll, whom Jason Stephens in his book listed below calls a “distinguished evangelical historian”, gives some detail regarding the growing political power of Protestant churches and the first usages of the term ‘civil religion’, that somewhat ecumenical union of church and church and church and state that characterized the Cold War.
Osborn, Ronald E. The Spirit of American Christianity. New York:
Harper and Bros. Publishers, 1958.
This book deals with, among other things, the drive for conformity in American religion in relationship to the international power status of the United States. He also deals with the increase in church attendance sparked by the Cold War but doesn’t really see it in light of the pressures of the Cold War. It’s an informative book and does greatly back up things that May said much later.
Parker, T. Valentine. American Protestantism. New York: Philosophical Library, Inc., 1956.
This is, along with being a general history, another valuable explanation of ecumenicalism and its attraction in the minds of many Christians as a response to atheistic communism or as a tactic of it.
Podles, Leon J. The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity. Dallas:Spence Publishing Company, 1999.
The value for me in this book is in its description of how some American Christians view Christian masculinity in relationship to war and the conflicts the America of the Cold War era was involved in and how Christian American men felt betrayed by their own government and a need to rally together to “protect themselves and their families”. This book gives great insight into the psyche of the fundamentalists in the Cold War era without being a book about the Cold War.
Ribuffo, Leo P., The Old Christian Right: The Protestant Far Right from the
Great Depression to the Cold War. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1983.
Ribuffo’s work is good for the explanation it gives of fundamentalist Christian doctrines that dominated the Cold War era and the politicization of right wing Christianity. It’s the most detailed on popular doctrine of many of the books I’m studying on the subject.
Riplinger, Gail. New Age Bible Versions. Ararat, Va.: AV Publications Corporation, 1993.
While not on the subject of the Cold War itself, the book entails Biblical scholarship since World War II and changes in the presentation of the Bible, which fundamentalists hold up as being the source of their convictions. Therefore I felt that this would be helpful in helping me to understand changes brought on by the Cold War.
Ruckman, Peter S. The History of the New Testament Church, Volume II. Pensacola:Bible Baptist Publishing, 1984.
This book was indispensable in understanding the particularly Baptist mindset of the Cold War years in opposition to the ecumenicalism and civil religion lauded elsewhere, written by a preacher who was an important part of a small subset of American fundamentalism. It provides a hard hitting counterweight to the changes in American religion, particularly fundamental Protestant and Baptist faiths.
Sharp, Joanne. Condensing the Cold War: Reader’s Digest and American Identity.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.
Although the popular Reader’s Digest might seem an odd choice for a book about how the Cold War may have changed American fundamental Christianity, I thought this did give some perspective to underscore my points. This little digest of articles and stories was very popular among the right wing in America, including Christians and its continuing statement of the incompatibility of communism and Christianity was certainly one of the voices reflecting American religious belief. It’s a very good book, by the way, if anyone grew up with a stack of them in your house. Sharp’s book is excellent.
Stephens, Jason W. God-Fearing and Free: A Spiritual History of
America’s Cold War. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010.
Stephens’ book is very well sourced. He overthrows some commonly held beliefs about the exponential growth of fundamentalism in the Cold War but is much more intellectual than the title implies and I think misses a few things but he is going to be a very valuable source for me in understanding the changes wrought by the global conflict and the threat of annihilation.
Viola, Frank & Barna, George. Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices. Carol Stream, Il: Tyndale House Publishers, 2002.
Once again, another book that is not about the Cold War, per se, but does give some insight into basic practices, such as order of worship, reflecting on recent changes and ancient origins. While not a major contributor to my research it does present some fundamental points about the fluidity of the manner and practice of worship, particularly in America. It is clear from reading this book that fundamental Christianity has been permanently changed by the decades long conflict of the Cold War. Its references to Jesus as a revolutionary and their faintly Marxist taint remind me of 1970’s America on a university campus.
Williams, Daniel K. God’s Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
The development of fundamental evangelicalism as a potent political force has its rise told in this very interesting book. Williams deals with many issues including things that I think are very important to my thesis, such as the evangelical reaction to several Supreme Court decisions that undermined religious teaching in public schools thought of as a bone thrown to communism and the Soviet state. It is clear that much of what because of the fundamentalist churches was a direct kneejerk reaction, although sometimes thought out and planned in advance, to the growing secularism of Cold War America. This is a wonderful, enlightening book.