Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

30 Dec 2013

Book Note: Tri-Faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Postwar America to Its Protestant Promise

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According to author Kevin Schultz, in 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt asserted that the United States is “a Protestant country,” and that “Catholics and Jews are here under sufferance” (Tri-Faith America, 10).

In this fascinating book, Schultz argues that between the 1930s and the 1960s America underwent an important ideological shift that has been largely overlooked by most historians. He proposes that during these decades the nation made the transition from being predominantly and self-consciously Protestant to embracing what Schultz calls a “tri-faith vision.” This vision was a new way of thinking about religion in America in which the country began to regard itself as composed of three main religious groups: Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. This book discusses how this change came about, some of the key figures and groups who promoted this change, and some of the broader ramifications of this ideological shift. It is safe to say that our current president would never repeat the statement made by Roosevelt above. This book helps explain how our nation got from Roosevelt to where we are today.