One Nation Under God

One Nation Under God

How Corporate America Invented Christian America

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"We're often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the idea of 'Christian America' is an invention--and a relatively recent one at that. As Kruse argues, the belief that America is fundamentally and formally a Christian nation originated in the 1930s when businessmen enlisted religious activists in their fight against FDR's New Deal. Corporations from General Motors to Hilton Hotels bankrolled conservative clergymen, encouraging them to attack the New Deal as a program of 'pagan statism' that perverted the central principle of Christianity: the sanctity and salvation of the individual. Their campaign for 'freedom under God' culminated in the election of their close ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. But this apparent triumph had an ironic twist. In Eisenhower's hands, a religious movement born in opposition to the government was transformed into one that fused faith and the federal government as never before. During the 1950s, Eisenhower revolutionized the role of religion in American political culture, inventing new traditions from inaugural prayers to the National Prayer Breakfast. Meanwhile, Congress added the phrase 'under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance and made 'In God We Trust' the country's first official motto. With private groups joining in, church membership soared to an all-time high of 69%. For the first time, Americans began to think of their country as an officially Christian nation. During this moment, virtually all Americans--across the religious and political spectrum--believed that their country was 'one nation under God.' But as Americans moved from broad generalities to the details of issues such as school prayer, cracks began to appear. Religious leaders rejected this 'lowest common denomination' public religion, leaving conservative political activists to champion it alone. In Richard Nixon's hands, a politics that conflated piety and patriotism became sole property of the right. Provocative and authoritative, One Nation Under God reveals how the unholy alliance of money, religion, and politics created a false origin story that continues to define and divide American politics to this day"--
"In One Nation Under God, award-winning historian Kevin M. Kruse argues that the story of Christian America begins with the Great Depression, when a coalition of businessmen and religious leaders united in opposition to the New Deal. As Kruse shows, corporations from General Motors and Kraft Foods to J.C. Penney and Hilton Hotels, poured money into the coffers of conservative religious leaders, who in turn used those funds to attack FDR's New Deal administration as a program of "pagan statism" that perverted the central tenet of Christianity: the salvation of the individual"--
Published: New York :, Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group,, [2015].
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780465049493
Branch Call Number: 322.1097 KRU
Characteristics: xvi, 352 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 01, 2018

In the late 1940s and 1950s, American businessmen, and they were mostly men, felt under attack by Roosevelt and the New Deal. They responded by creating a past that never existed -- a nation founded on religion. Not a religion that serves the poor, but an individualistic, public religion largely funded by DuPont, Chrysler, Sun Oil, J.W. Marriot and other corporate benefactors. These "Christian libertarians" helped elect Eisenhower, lobbied for Nixon's divisive politics and made the Rev. Billy Graham a star. They added "In God We Trust" to our paper currency and "one nation under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. Their efforts echo down to today, through Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Pence. As the author notes, the parentage of these phrases "stems not from the founding fathers, but from an era much closer to our own,...[W]e do violence to our past if we treat certain 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."

Gary Geiserman
May 08, 2015

If we understand corporations (private sector) as the ‘father’ and govt as the mother, this long running war against the feminine (govt in this case) has given the duped public a new ‘step-mother’: Christianity. With the deterioration of religion in general (in favor of science, masculine), it was a win-win. The right has concocted a masterly pr campaign to re-create constituents for it’s otherwise unpopular pro-corporate stance. Angry non-religious white men are another large group recruited esp by talk radio, Fox News et al. The anger comes from corporate raping, of course, thus a true turning on its head has been accomplished. Bravo! >>>> This is actually easy to do since masculine domination isn’t noticed until exhibited in the victim and this victimized position is blamed (as the first cause). >>>> Ironically, the feminine is always the first action, but through love of the game and thus wanting company, invites the masculine to appear ‘first’. Fortunately, this imbalanced state is all changing now allowing harmony. All the ‘bumpy nights’ are the birthing pangs. Ouch! >>>> and thank you StarGladiator for the review (I haven’t read the book).

Feb 20, 2015

An excellent book and always follow the money: principal financial backer of Eisenhower's presidential campaign - - investor, Floyd Odlum. When Eisenhower sent the CIA to overthrow the Arbenz administration in Guatemala for United Fruit, the principal investor then in United Fruit - - Floyd Odlum. Principal investor in Hilton Hotels - - Floyd Odlum. Other backers of Eisenhower: the Rockefeller brothers, David and Nelson. When Eisenhower sent the CIA to overthrow the president of Iran, who benefitted - - the Rockefeller family. When Eisenhower sent the CIA in their failed attempt to overthrow Sukarno of Indonesia [where thousands died as a consequence], the chief beneficiaries would have been the oil companies, Stanvac and Caltex, owned by the Rockefeller family. [Trivia fact: the stepfather of President Barack Obama was an employee, later on, of Stanvac and Caltex - - and Mobil and Unocal - - small world, huh?]


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at DBRL

To Top