Everything is Fine Until You Relax: God, John Foster Dulles, and Foreign Policy

James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship

September 8, 2022
God's Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles

John Wilsey, Associate Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Join us for a lecture with Professor John Wilsey on his recent book, God’s Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles

When John Foster Dulles died in 1959, he was given the largest American state funeral since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s in 1945. President Eisenhower called Dulles—his longtime secretary of state—“one of the truly great men of our time,” and a few years later the new commercial airport outside Washington, DC, was christened the Dulles International Airport in his honor. His star has fallen significantly since that time, but his influence remains indelible—most especially regarding his role in bringing the worldview of American exceptionalism to the forefront of US foreign policy during the Cold War era, a worldview that has long outlived him. God’s Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles recounts how Dulles’s faith commitments from his Presbyterian upbringing found fertile soil in the anti-communist crusades of the mid-twentieth century.

John D. Wilsey is an Associate Professor of Church History and Philosophy at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Research Fellow at the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy. A Georgia native, his interests lie in the history of how America has viewed itself, how it has understood its place in the world, and how theology has influenced American national identity. Wilsey holds a BA in history from Furman University, and an MDiv and PhD from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 2011–2017, Wilsey taught history and philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and in the academic year 2017–18 he was the William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.

Wilsey is the author of One Nation Under God: An Evangelical Critique of Christian America, American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea, and editor of Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic 1840 work, Democracy in America: A New Abridgment for Students. While at Princeton, Wilsey conducted research for his most recent book on John Foster Dulles, and that book will be the subject of this lecture at the Madison Program.

All visitors must adhere to Princeton University’s Covid Policy. Please review the policy at https://covid.princeton.edu to ensure understanding and requirements.

Video:

God's Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles

Location:

Frist Campus Center 301 (Frist Theatre)