Religion on TV

In 1954, Congress added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance, and the phrase “In God We Trust” was included on all U.S. currency in the following year. While these changes were subtle reminders of the ideological struggle of the Cold War (Americans believed in God; Communists were atheists), they also reflected the mood of the country. The United States experienced a religious revival in the 1950s, with more than 60 percent of Americans reporting they belonged to a church or synagogue, as opposed to less than 50 percent before World War II. Evangelist Billy Graham, Protestant minister Norman Vincent Peale, and Roman Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen emerged as the spokespersons for the revival, and they used the newest mass medium — television — to carry their message to millions of Americans.