Faith has played an important role in American history, but not always in the ways we’d expect. In this episode, Andy Polk joins Bob and Ben to explain how politicians, advertising executives and public relations experts bypassed America’s religious leaders, ignored theological debates, and dismissed historical evidence to fabricate and sell a story of America’s religious origins that served their own political needs. That story remains with us today so, to quote the title of Andy’s recent op-ed in The Tennessean: “When you hear ‘In God We Trust’, pay attention to what comes next.”
Dr. Andrew R. Polk is Associate Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University and the author of the new book, Faith In Freedom: Propaganda, Presidential Politics, and the Making of an American Religion (Cornell University Press, December 2021).
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This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.