Get access

Beyond Iraq and Afghanistan: Religion and Politics in United States War-Culture


  • Kelly Denton-Borhaug

    1. Kelly Denton-Borhaug is Chair and Associate Professor of Religion at Moravian College, and a clergyperson in the ELCA. Author of U.S. War-Culture, Sacrifice and Salvation (Equinox, 2011), her work focuses on resources in theological ethics that may be mobilized to address the increase of militarization and war in the United States and beyond. She also teaches courses that explore feminist theological ethics, liberation theology, and ethics, and courses in the discipline of Peace and Justice Studies.
    Search for more papers by this author


Abstract:  This article digs beneath the surface of American assumptions regarding war to explore the ethical interconnections between national identity, war, and religion. Striking differences emerge between the dynamics of religion and politics with regard to war and peace in presidential speeches regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the analysis of war from an earlier generation, encapsulated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s “Beyond Vietnam: A Call to Conscience,” from 1967. Study of this political discourse helps us better understand our own reality in the United States, and the moral consequences of our beliefs about war, sacrifice, the human character, and the identity of the nation.