© 2011 – Routledge
172 pages | 9 B/W Illus.
Christianity and Party Politics aims to discuss and evaluate the contemporary relationship between party politics and religion. The book focuses on the important role of the Church in both electoral politics and public policy formulation in the twenty first century, and argues that contrary to the established secularisation argument generally applied in Europe, religion continues to be a powerful influence, particularly within British politics.
Steven begins by examining the basics of electoral and party behaviour, how religious affiliation has traditionally influenced the way people choose to vote, and how recent surveys have suggested it continues to do so. Moving on to discuss how this affects the behaviour of party politicians, the role of the Christian church as an interest group is analysed; to what extent are these major societal institutions continuing to influence public policy decisions?
Broadening the debate out to the international context, the work evaluates how the relationship between party politics and religion has been affected by global factors, the 'war on terror' for example. This discussion is developed through analysing the influences on the way in which Christian groups choose to lobby and influence public policy. Steven suggests that increasing European integration is forcing Christian groups to become more pro-active in their approach, to combat the decline in the more 'automatic' domestic influence they previously enjoyed. In relation this to the influence of American politics is analysed, debating whether tactics from the more pluralist US system being adopted by Church leaders elsewhere?
Providing a valuable and long overdue contribution to the field, this work will provide readers with a detailed knowledge of how the worlds of politics and religion interact.
1. Introduction: The Neglected Dimension of British Politics Part 1: The Electoral Context 2. Religion and Voting Behaviour in Britain: From Denominational Cleavage to the Alpha Vote 3. More Methodism than Marxism? Christianity and the British Party System Part 2: The Christian Lobby 4. Still the 'Conservative Party at Prayer'? The Role of the Church of England Bishops in Parliament 5. A Presbyterian Conscience:The Church of Scotland, The Labour Party and the Politics of Social Justice Part 3: The Religious Issues 6. Little Wonder 'We Don't do God': Ethics, Life Issues and the Power of the Christian Lobby 7. Still Fighting a Losing Battle? Equalities and the Weakness of the Christian Lobby 8. Conclusions: the British Model of Politics and Religion
This series aims to publish high quality works on the topic of the resurgence of political forms of religion in both national and international contexts. This trend has been especially noticeable in the post-cold war era (that is, since the late 1980s). It has affected all the ‘world religions’ (including, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) in various parts of the world (such as, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa).
The series welcomes books that use a variety of approaches to the subject, drawing on scholarship from political science, international relations, security studies, and contemporary history.
Books in the series explore these religions, regions and topics both within and beyond the conventional domain of ‘church-state’ relations to include the impact of religion on politics, conflict and development, including the late Samuel Huntington’s controversial – yet influential – thesis about ‘clashing civilisations’.
In sum, the overall purpose of the book series is to provide a comprehensive survey of what is currently happening in relation to the interaction of religion and politics, both domestically and internationally, in relation to a variety of issues.