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Oct. 27: Religion’s role in WWII espionage discussed

suttonPULLMAN, Wash. – Recruitment of religious spies during World War II helped shape the U.S. intelligence network and create the modern American security state, according to a Washington State University scholar.

In the explicit use of religion and religious activists, U.S. leaders “laid the foundations for the rise of the CIA, the Cold War-era crusade against ‘godless communism’ and George W. Bush’s ‘war on terror,’” said history professor Matt Sutton (

He will present a free, public talk, “FDR’s Army of Faith: Religion and American Espionage in World War II,” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in Goertzen 21, followed by a reception.

In telling the story, Sutton will draw on archival materials that reveal the significant roles of religious people in WWII espionage. They include a German priest who longed to be a secret agent, a future CIA director who aggressively recruited religious activists for covert operations and a fundamentalist Christian missionary-turned-spy.

Co-hosts are the WSU Humanities Fellow Lecture Series and the Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.

Sutton is one of three WSU Humanities Fellows for 2015-16 selected by the Humanities Planning Group. The group proposes a Center for the Humanities at WSU to make the humanities accessible and to underscore their importance in society.

Annual fellows receive $12,500 to pursue research and external funding. The deadline for applications for 2017-18 Humanities Fellows is Nov. 13. Learn more at


Debbie Brudie, WSU Humanities Planning Group, 509-335-0698,


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