Monday, May 20, 2013

The religious dimension of American nationalism

If I can ever get funding to do so, I hope to someday research and write a short book about the strange confluence of evangelicalism with American nationalism.

One of the greatest paradoxes of American history is that the strain of evangelicalism represented by revivalists like Finney – and latter his heirs such as Dwight Moody and Billy Sunday – which stripped religion of its sacerdotal, institutional and liturgical apparatuses, would begin to invest all these same qualities in the civic rites, institutions and metanarratives of American nationalism, in addition to what William Cavanaugh has called the “enacted myths of patriotic ritual.”

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