The religious motivations behind Cold War U.S. and Russian Foreign Policy

4 Mar

Simply a fascinating interview with Professor Dr. William Inboden about his new book.  I’ve not read it yet, but a lot of information and history was packed in to this hour (some not apparently inside the book).  Very well worth a listen.  A few things that stuck out to me:

1.  Early on, Inboden discusses how religious interpretations of world events are routinely dismissed in the secular academy.  Unfortunately, that causes many inaccuracies or at least incomplete explanations of historical events to occur.  As a Political Scientist studying religion and politics, I feel ya…  Inboden shows that U.S. foreign policy was keenly shaped by politically activated protestant opposition to communism on explicitly religious and worldview grounds (communist atheism).  Also, the Russians felt the same way in return.  And his case is as overwhelming as it is unknown among Political Scientists and Historians who study the Cold War.

2.  Inboden studies the period from 1945-1960.  The amount of church-state interaction (both ways!) between the U.S. state/defense departments, White House, and key senators with mainline/liberal protestants self-consciously doing the will of God should make any secular liberal decrying the influence of the Christian Right repent.  Simply wow.  From Eisenhower’s appointment of his pastor as a foreign secretary to protestant theologians and preachers being consulted, even helping write, foreign policy, to the U.S. government directly lobbying the United Council of Churches, it can be said that whatever the Christian Right learned about religious political influence, it learned from its liberal counterparts.  As far as evangelicals go, they were basically absent at the time, until Christianity Today surfaces near the end.

3.  FDR’s radio presentation.  Wait for it.  Hint: it ain’t mere civil religion!

4.  The interview (and I guess book), shows me that for all the language going on at the time coming out of the Supreme Court, promoting a strict separation or no-aid doctrine regarding the establishment clause, the rest of the national government, especially those involved with forming and advancing foreign policy, apparently didn’t care (it had bigger fish to fry, namely atheistic communism).

If you are interested in or a student of U.S. foreign policy historically, religion and politics, Presidential history and politics, the Cold War, etc., you must given this a listen.

The interview was given by Dr. Al Mohler.  Here’s the program:

[audio http://albertmohler.com/media/audio/totl/Podcast/Thinking_In_Public_William_Inboden.mp3]
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