Patrick Q. Mason is chair of Mormon studies and associate professor of North American religion at Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South.
Nearly 50 years ago, Bob Dylan romped through a century of American warfare in his song “With God on Our Side.” From killing Indians to developing nuclear weapons, in Dylan’s view Americans acted with the hubris of knowing they had divine approval. After all, “You never ask questions / When God’s on your side.”
Dylan’s verses didn’t mention the Revolutionary War, but they just as well could have.