Michael Graziano is an Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Northern Iowa. His research and teaching focus on law, education, and national security in American religion. He is the author of Errand into the Wilderness of Mirrors: Religion and the History of the CIA, published by University of Chicago Press in 2021.
This post considers how the purportedly “secular” state strategically deployed “Catholicism” in its imperial actions abroad and how those reverberated at home. The Central Intelligence Agency found Catholicism to be a useful ideological ally in the struggle against communism during the Cold War, raising up anticommunist, conservative, and largely white US Catholics as ideal citizens at home to support their use of Vietnamese Catholics as anticommunist allies abroad.