Tri-faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Postwar America to Its Protestant Promise

ISBN : 9780195331769

Kevin M. Schultz
264 Pages
164 x 239 mm
Pub date
May 2011
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President Franklin D. Roosevelt put it bluntly, if privately, in 1942-the United States was "a Protestant country," he said, "and the Catholics and Jews are here under sufferance." In Tri-Faith America, Kevin Schultz explains how the United States left behind this idea that it was "a Protestant nation" and embraced the notion that Protestants, Catholics, and Jews were "Americans all." Schultz describes how the tri-faith idea surfaced after World War I, promoted by public relations campaigns, interfaith organizations, and the government to the extent that by the end of World War II, the idea was becoming widely accepted-particularly in the armed forces, fraternities, neighborhoods, social organizations, and schools. During the Cold War, the public religiosity spurred by the fight against godless communism led to widespread embrace of tri-faith America. Equally important, Schultz shows how Catholics and Jews in the post-World War II era used tri-faith rhetoric to challenge the nation's established moral authority. Indeed, as Americans began vigorously debating the merits of pluralism, they initiated a social and political climate that would pave the way toward the civil rights movement.


Part I: Inventing Tri-Faith America, Ending "Protestant America"
Chapter 1: Creating Tri-Faith America
Chapter 2: Tri-Faith America as Standard Operating Procedure
Chapter 3: Tri-Faith America in the early Cold War
Part II: The Effects of Tri-Faith America
Chapter 4: Communalism in a Time of Consensus: Postwar Suburbia
Chapter 5: A Secular Rationale for Separation: Public Schools in Tri-Faith America
Chapter 6: Choosing Our Identities: College Fraternities, Choice, and Group Rights
Chapter 7: Keeping Religion Private (and Off the U.S. Census)
Chapter 8: From Creed to Color: Softening the Ground for Civil Rights
Conclusion: The Return of Protestant America?

About the author: 

Kevin M. Schultz is Assistant Professor of History and Catholic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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