In the wake of a tsunami or a suicide attack, most religious leaders hesitate to rush in and justify the ways of God toward humanity. It wasn’t always so. As the defining crisis in American history gathered momentum and became civil war, ministers North and South spoke with authority, even defiance, about the overriding purposes of God. The impact was sobering. Precisely at a time when Protestant influence on national values had no real rivals, America collapsed into a war over the decisive moral issue of the day.