The Rise and Fall of the Judeo-Christian Consensus

During the early 20th century, the prevailing American Protestant consensus splintered, and some liberal Protestants responded by reaching out to make common cause with Jews and Catholics. The result was the "Judeo-Christian consensus" that sought to ground American identity and public policy in the values shared across Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish religious traditions. The Judeo-Christian consensus became ascendant during the 1930s, reached its peak during the early 1960s, and began its decline during the 1990s. This talk will examine the Judeo-Christian consensus by following the careers of three religious leaders who led it: Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Rev. Jerry Falwell. It will conclude with some observations about the future of American Christianity.


Recommended Readings

James M. Patterson, Religion in the Public Square: Sheen, King, Falwell

Mark Silk, "Notes on the Judeo-Christian Tradition"

Kevin M. Schultz, Tri-Faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Postwar America to Its Protestant Promise

Will Herberg, Protestant-Catholic-Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology

Matthew Hedstrom: The Rise of Liberal Religion

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