Eisenhower Influence On Religion

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This religious fervor was fueled evangelist Billy Graham who rose to national prominence in 1951 after preaching the messages of a Christian revival as a response to communism. In 1952, as Eisenhower contemplated a run for the White House, he invited Billy Graham to meet with him. During their conversation, Gunn and Slighoua note, “Eisenhower admitted that he belonged to no religion, that he had never been baptized into any church, that he and his wife had rarely attended church during the war, and that he had long since lapsed from the religious teachings of his youth” (40). They also state, “Eisenhower’s best-selling memoir, Crusade in Europe (1948), did not mention God, religion, or the importance of religion for democracy” (41). Jack Holl points out that,…show more content…
Scotty Reston of The New York Times was reminded of the great evangelist William Jennings Bryan when listening to Eisenhower, declaring, “He appealed not to the mind but to the heart” (Kruse 60). Journalist William Lee Miller said, “The American religious tradition is geared to arouse enthusiasm and passion, not to produce wisdom and patience; it is more at home with single, simple, moral choices, than with complex, continuing political problems” (Haberski 41). Miller emphasized that Eisenhower was “a caricature of revivalism: The American people had gone back to God but didn’t know what to do with Him” (41). Chernus disagrees that Eisenhower saw America as a spiritual land that would lead by example, stating, “He waged cold war, not because he saw the U.S. as inherently righteous, but precisely because he saw the U.S. as morally and spiritually ambiguous: a nation where spiritual values might yet prevail, but only if its citizens continued to wage the same apocalyptic spiritual battle they had begun in December 1941” (609). Reston concluded, “His ‘Crusade in Europe over, he opened up a second front here…to start a second crusade in America”
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