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Lutherans and the Longest War
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Through the lens of American Lutheranism, this book offers a unique examination into the intersection of religion, war, foreign policy, church politics, and nationalism during the contentious 1960s and 1970s. It contributes a two-pronged investigation of American history during the Vietnam War era. First, it outlines how this diverse group of Christians understood foreign policy and the churches' relationship to it. Lutherans offer a broad spectrum of religious, political, and diplomatic points of view because they never have represented a homogenous or unified group in U.S. history. Second, this investigation provides the perspective of one cross section of Americans who often remain hidden from historic memory: the silent majority as so labeled during the Richard M. Nixon administration. Most Lutherans held 'moderate' religious and political ideologies, but Lutherans also had representatives from the far left and far right. Lutherans also signify the Cold War context of this decade with a relatively uniform hostility toward the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. Yet, simultaneously they vigorously debated whether or not Communists had infiltrated U.S. institutions and contentiously disagreed about the Vietnam War. Further reflecting America at that time, by the mid-1970s they had reached a tentative reconciliation with one another because the infighting had so tired them. In doing so, they healed some of the wounds created by a decade of conflict but failed to learn lessons from the experience because they refused to dialogue further about it.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Lutherans and the Cold and Vietnam Wars, 1964-1975: An Introduction Chapter 2 Tortured for Christ: Lutheran Assessmetns of Global Communism Chapter 3 Has the Tiger Changed Its Stripes? Lutheran Debates about Domestic Communism Chapter 4 Lions Loose in the World: Pro-Vietnam War Lutherans Chapter 5 The Mythology fo Prowling Communists: Lutheran Antiwar Sentiments Chapter 6 Adrift on a Sea of Doubt: Lutheran Debates about Domestic Veitnam Concerns Chapter 7 The Lutheran Cold and Vietnam Wars' Legacy

About the Author

David E. Settje is assistant professor of history at Concordia University.

Reviews

Highly Recommended. -- W. T. Lindley, Union University CHOICE [Settje's] approach and careful reading of sources are admirable. Lutherans and the Longest War is an excellent contribution to the genre of denominational studies and a useful starting point for exploring broader issues of religious assent, ambivalence, and dissent during the Cold War. H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online, April 2008 The author does an admirable job in concisely summarizing the historical literature on both the origins of the American war in Vietnam and the landscape of American Lutheranism in the era, carefully distinguishing between the major Lutheran bodies without too much jargon... [Settje] has a keen eye for especially catching phrases. -- Perry Bush Journal of American History David Settje provides a close examination of a period largely neglected by other Lutheran historians: the Cold War in general and the Vietnam War in particular. Settje provides the first comprehensive look at Lutheran thinking on the Cold and Vietnam wars from pew to pulpit, and from editorial offices to denominational headquarters. It extends a microphone into a realm where the silent majority did not hold its tongue, exposing the wide-ranging views and vigorous debates that raged within church circles among those disinclined to march for either side. -- Jill Gill, Boise State University

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