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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy: How America's Civil Religion Betrayed the National Interest

by Walter A. McDougall,
The Huffington Post, November 14, 2016

Nearly fifty years ago, the sociologist Robert Bellah coined the term “civil religion.” A non-sectarian creed that makes use of sacred symbols, rituals, holidays, heroes, martyrs and myths, civil religion, Bellah indicated, helps secure and sustain national unity. But civil religion also had a dark side, especially when it encourages a messianic determination to impose the will and the ways of “the New Israel” on others.


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