Religion and the Cold War
Between 1910 and 1969 church membership in the United States increased from including 43% of the population to 69%. During these decades the United States faced many issues a whole, most notably the Cold War. In the chapter four of the Culture of the Cold War, Stephen J. Townsend portrays the significance Communism played in the incredibly fast spread of religion during the Cold War, creating a country united through belief in a higher power. This unity was shown through the actions of Billy Graham, Francis Cardinal Spellman, and President Eisenhower during the Cold War.
The connection Townsend made between the effects communists were having on religion in society and the influence Billy Graham was able to have on the population show the unity created through religion during this time of turmoil. Townsend professed that communism essentially created a “war against God, against Christ, against the Bible, and against all religion!”1 While this statement seems as though it should attract hefty amounts of attention, Townsend claimed that it actually attracted little attention until fourth week when it became known as “God’s last great call”.2 The issue began to attract attention largely due to the efforts of publisher William Randolph Hearst when he began publish Billy Graham’s actions. Graham’s anti-communist actions attracted Hearst, acting as the beginning of the unanticipated unification of religion. While this connection seemed unlikely, Graham believed Hearst was a tool of God being used to spread the word of religion which reinforced his belief in a higher power.
Billy Graham’s belief that the population needed to join together and fight the further spreading of communism was seen in the growing population belief that a revival was necessary. Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr thought of Graham as, ‘Salesman of the Year’, due to evidence of ‘mass’ conversions under the ministrations of popular evangelists who arouse the religious...
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