'The rites of our public religion originated not in a spiritual crisis, but rather in the political and economic turmoil of the Great Depression. The story of business leaders enlisting clergymen in their war against the New Deal is one that has been largely obscured by the very ideology that resulted from it.'
Previous accounts of the tangled relationship between Christianity and capitalism have noted the “uneasy alliance” between businessmen and the religious right which helped elect Ronald Reagan and end the New Deal order, but the careers of the Christian libertarians in the 1930s and 1940s show that their alliance was present at the creation of the New Deal. Their ideology of “freedom under God” did not topple the regulatory state as they hoped, but thanks to the evangelism of conservative clergymen such as James Fifield, Abraham Vereide, and Billy Graham, it ultimately accomplished more than its corporate creators ever dreamed possible. It convinced a wide range of Americans that their country had been, and should always be, a Christian nation.'
'In the early 1950s, the long crusade of the Christian libertarians apparently reached its triumphant climax with the election of Dwight Eisenhower. But the new president proved to be transformative in a sense his corporate backers had not anticipated. Although he was certainly sympathetic to the secular ends they sought, Eisenhower proved to be much more interested in the spiritual language they had invented as a means of achieving those ends. Uncoupling their religious rhetoric from its roots in the fight against the New Deal, he considerably broadened its appeal, expanding its reach well beyond the initial circle of conservative Protestants to welcome Americans across the political and religious spectrum. In doing so, Eisenhower ushered in an unprecedented religious revival, one that temporarily filled the nation’s churches and synagogues but permanently altered its political culture. From then on, the federal government, which the Christian libertarians had long denounced as godless, was increasingly seen as quite godly instead. Congress cemented these changes, adding “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and adopting “In God We Trust” as the nation’s first official motto. Hollywood and Madison Avenue, meanwhile, helped promote this understanding of America as a religious nation and Americans as an inherently religious people.'
'The new rituals of public religion crafted in the Eisenhower era were seen at the time as symbolic flourishes with little substance to them. But the rites and rhetoric that Eugene Rostow dismissed as mere “ceremonial deism” in 1962 were soon revealed to have incredible political power. National controversies over school prayer—which unfolded first in the Supreme Court and then in Congress—demonstrated that the symbols and slogans of the Eisenhower era, instituted less than a decade earlier, had quickly been embraced by many Americans as ironclad evidence of the nation’s religious roots. As conservatives fought to restore school prayer and to roll back other social changes in the turbulent 1960s, they rallied around phrases like ”one nation under God.” As a result, the religious rhetoric that had recently been used to unite Americans began to drive them further apart. At the decade’s end, Richard Nixon helped complete this polarization of the nation’s public religion, using it to advance divisive policies both at home and abroad.'
'This history reminds us that our public religion is, in large measure, an invention of the modern era. The ceremonies and symbols that breathe life into the belief that we are “one nation under God” were not, as many Americans believe, created alongside the nation itself. Their parentage stems not from the founding fathers but from an era much closer to our own, the era of our own fathers and mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers.This fact need not diminish their importance; fresh traditions can be more powerful than older ones adhered to out of habit. Nevertheless, we do violence to our past if we treat certain phrases — ”one nation under God,”"In God We Trust” — as sacred texts handed down to us from the nation’s founding. Instead, we are better served if we understand these utterances for what they are: political slogans that speak not to the origins of our nation but to a specific point in its not-so-distant past. If they are to mean anything to us now, we should understand what they meant then.'
This is really an interesting read, and the author has done some excellent investigative journalisn to bring this information to us. It comes at an important time in this nation's enduring efforts to forge ahead amidst a collage of global threats and alliances, both monetary and religious.
This type of collusion between business powers and religious entities has been seen as far back as ancient times. This is how the ruling classes from even before the time of the Romans, controlled the flocks... kept the people in line. The Kings and Noblemen would enlist the help of the churches, temples, synagogues in order to subdue the people.... for a hefty price of course. The hirearchy of the churches lived in lavish comforts fit for royalty, and they were revered as such... even today.
It is my suspicion that as the middle ages winded down, the population was getting so disillusioned and rowdy that King James in the early 1600's was advised by his mother to rewrite and produce a new version of the Bible, which was then offered to the people by the church, as 'Inspired by God,' in order to subdue them and again bring them back under the control of the Kingdom. This is the King James version of the Bible that we know today.