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American Religion, American PoliticsAn Anthology$
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Joseph K Kosek

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300203516

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300203516.001.0001

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Faith, Freedom, and the Meaning of Citizenship

Faith, Freedom, and the Meaning of Citizenship

(p.114) 4 Faith, Freedom, and the Meaning of Citizenship
American Religion, American Politics
Joseph Kip Kosek
Yale University Press

The Second World War raised the most difficult questions about how a democracy ought to wage a modern war. In particular, Americans confronted the conundrum of when a nation built on the inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” might ask its citizens to kill and be killed overseas. Religion became deeply implicated in these debates over the morality of violence and the limits of dissent. This chapter presents the following documents: Reinhold Niebuhr's “Why the Christian Church Is Not Pacifist” (1940), Dorothy Day's “Wars Are Caused by Man's Loss of His Faith in Man” (1940), Jehovah's Witness Flag Salute Cases: Gobitis (1940) and Barnette (1943), and George Docherty's “A New Birth of Freedom” (1954).

Keywords:   religion, Reinhold Niebuhr, Dorothy Day, Jehovah's Witness, George Docherty

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