Dreaming of Christian nations in the USA and Russia: the importance of history

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Abstract

This paper explores the continuing resonance of the Christian nation idea in the USA and Russia, focusing in particular on how appeals to history serve to justify contemporary political positions. Whilst President Obama seeks to distance himself from the exclusivist connotations of this discourse, conservative religious and political leaders argue that if public policy ignores the Christian heritage the country is doomed to moral and political decline. Across the Atlantic similar discourses have begun to gain prominence in the Russian Federation, sometimes taken up by Russian presidents, and are used by Orthodox religious leaders to defend institutional advantage. In both countries, this has led to campaigns to ensure that the teaching of history to the young gives due attention to the religious roots of national identity Yet, such arguments often rely on a particular and contested reading of history, and their public restatement has the potential to undermine the international image of both countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-221
JournalJournal of Transatlantic Studies
Volume10
Issue number3
Early online date10 Sept 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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