5/1/08 - war and religion

In today's encore excerpt - Kevin Phillips, long-time Republican pundit and author of the ground-breaking 1969 book The Emerging Republican Majority, on his recently articulated thesis on the association of war and religion:

"Although the Europe of 1900-1914 represented the world's most advanced civilization, talk of Armageddon and crusadership flourished. By 1914 military recruiting posters showed St. George, St. Michael, angels, and even Christ in the background. ... The most extreme blessing of the cannons came from the bishop of London, A.F. Winnington-Ingram, who called the war 'a great crusade—we cannot deny it—to kill Germans.' He advised The Guardian that 'you ask for my advice in a sentence as to what the church is to do. I answer MOBILIZE THE NATION FOR HOLY WAR.'

"Few historians have paid much attention to the loss of faith, but one explanation may be safely ventured. Organized religion did not profit from the great disillusionment when the various chosen peoples turned out not to be. For Britain, the lesson followed a century in which British Christianity had moved in many of the directions that we have later seen in the United States—evangelical religion, global missionary intensity, end-times anticipation, and sense of biblical prophecy beginning to come together in the Middle East.

"But when the Armageddon of 1914-1918 brought twenty million deaths instead of Christ's return, the embarrassment was not limited to flag-bedecked Anglican churches and noncomformist chapels that had joined in the parade. Religion in general seemed to have failed, and the British Church attendance shrank—and then shrank again."


Kevin Phillips


American Theocracy: The Peril and politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century


Penguin Group


Copyright Kevin Phillips 2006


250-251, 382-383
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