Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2011 Volume 7 :: Article 6
2011 Volume 7, Article 6
The Social Gospel Legacy in U.S. Foreign Policy

Author: S. R. Thompson (University of Washington) and James K. Wellman, Jr. (University of Washington)

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ABSTRACT

The U.S. invasion of Iraq rested on the principle that the United States had the responsibility to remake foreign countries. In this article, we argue that the rationale for this invasion is a legacy of the Social Gospel movement in the late nineteenth century. Social Gospellers believed that "Christianization" of society would occur first in the United States and then spread across the globe because of the dominance of the U.S. economy, political system, military, and Protestant religion. Scholars usually cite the Social Gospel as an heir to the pacifism of liberal Christianity. We show how recent U.S. foreign policy, particularly in the George W. Bush administration, has close affinities with the Christianization program of the early Social Gospel.

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