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The Making of Working-Class Religion$
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Matthew Pehl

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040429

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040429.001.0001

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Race, Politics, and Worker Religion in Wartime Detroit, 1941–1946

Race, Politics, and Worker Religion in Wartime Detroit, 1941–1946

(p.118) 4. Race, Politics, and Worker Religion in Wartime Detroit, 1941–1946
The Making of Working-Class Religion

Matthew Pehl

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the shifting relationship between religion, politics, and class as the United States drew closer to the Second World War. As the Second World War loomed, the discourse surrounding working-class religion reached new ideological extremes. Modernists and progressives in Detroit had, since the early twentieth century, disdained the supposedly overemotional, authoritarian, and antisocial tenor of working-class religion. The war, however, pushed many progressives to even more dramatic conclusions: that working-class religion offered a uniquely American opening for fascism, totalitarianism, and the collapse of liberal society. Indeed, during the war years, worker religion expanded its ambition and imaginative scope, placing working-class religion not only within the orbit of the organized labor movement, but at the very heart of the democratic experiment.

Keywords:   Second World War, working-class religion, modernists, progressives, fascism, totalitarianism, labor movement, democratic experiment

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