War was on the horizon. Powerful forces from the sky were about to obliterate the landscape. But before the chaos, Thor showed up. Blonde and buff, he grabbed his deranged brother from inside a plane and whisked him away. Iron Man went in hot pursuit, while Captain Rogers (aka Captain America) put on a parachute. The jet pilot recommended that Captain America sit this one out - these were basically "gods" he was going to engage. "There's only one God, Ma'am," the Captain responded, "and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that."
Monotheism was never more exciting; never sexier; never more American. And, of course, it had me thinking of Captain America's religious history origins - that moment in the early 1940s when white Protestants, Catholics, and Jews were rallying behind what Kevin Schultz calls "tri-faith America." Even when confronted with so much evidence to the contrary, Captain America still believes that one God exists, that perhaps that God made all people (are Azkardians people?), and that Americans needed to battle for the sake of that God.
|will the real Captain America|
please start typing (and cut his hair)
If you are still reading (which, to be blunt, it wouldn't shock me if you were not), then I've brought you to the real point of this post. Schultz's Tri-Faith America is now available in paperback. I've taught this book in three previous classes and will use it in my US history survey in the Spring. Here is why the book works so well in the classroom. First, it is written clearly and complex theoretical positions are explained so that thoughtful readers can grasp them. Second, part one discusses the history of a concept: Judeo-Christianity and how it is developed. Part two then has case studies of what happened when that concept was operationalized in a variety of lived and imagined forms (from suburbs and fraternities to census creations).