Crossroads of American Religious Life
Robert S. Ellwood
Westminster John Knox Press
he year 1950 was not only, by happenstance, the middle year of the twentieth century; it was also a year in which much happened that would prefigure America's religious and political life in the remainder of the century. It was the year of the beginning of McCarthyism and of the Korean War, of the founding of the National Council of Churches, of (beginning in fall 1949) the first major "crusades" of the evangelist Billy Graham, and of the culmination of the papalism of the pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church in the 1950 Holy Year and definition of the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was also a year at the height of the postwar religious resurgence in America, and of early stirrings of the African American religious consciousness that would lead to the Civil Rights movement of the next decade; it was in 1950 that Martin Luther King, Jr., first began seriously studying the non-violent philosophy of Mohandas K. Gandhi. All this is presented in this book in the context of endeavoring to understand what it meant, and means now, to American spiritual identity.