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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

The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy:  How America

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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