Saturday, February 11, 2017

How Business Made Us Christian

Are we a Christian nation? Religion seems to be woven into our very fabric.

 Writing for the New York Times, Princeton Professor Kevin Kruse, notes that "it is inscribed in our pledge of patriotism, marked on our money, carved into the walls of our courts and our Capitol."

But the ubiquity of religion in our nation did not come from our founders. Rather, according to this fascinating story from Professor Kruse, it came from business people in the 1930's and 40's who were on the defensive as capitalism went into depression and the "socialist " idea of social security and medicare came into being.

Kruse says that while business leaders fought back, nothing worked better than linking Christianity to business. According to Krause, "the two had been described as soul mates before, but in this campaign they were wedded in pointed opposition to the “creeping socialism” of the New Deal." 

Business lobbies, associations, and chambers of commerce, and business leaders "marketed a new ideology that combined elements of Christianity with an anti-federal libertarianism. Powerful business lobbies like the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers led the way, promoting this ideology’s appeal in conferences and P.R. campaigns." 

Kruse argues these business people in the  30's and 40's did much to link capitalism and Christianity into our nation's consciousness.

It's a fascinating argument that I think might be a valuable to religion students.

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