Britons to British Essay

Submitted By amp4z3
Words: 843
Pages: 4

Religion and Politics: Differences Between the US and the UK When asked to respond to the prompt, “the ‘religious right’ in the US continues to exert political sway. Why is this not also true in the UK?” there are many ideas that come to mind. Firstly, it is important to understand what the ‘religious right’ is, and why it has anything to do with politics, let alone have sway in political matters. In addition, one must consider the differences between the US and the UK in terms of how the mix of religion in politics is viewed, who supports it and how that plays a role in the influence of the ‘religious right’. Another point to consider is the historical aspects behind the combination of religion and politics and how that might play a part in current policymaking. Furthermore, to understand how and why the ‘religious right’ holds a place in American politics, and contrarily not in UK politics, one must view the issue from both sides of the Atlantic. First, to understand the issue at hand, one must understand what the religious right is. The religious right, also known as the Christian right, is a social movement in the US that “attempts to mobilize evangelical Protestants and other orthodox Christians into conservative political action” (Wilcox, 8). What this means, is that those involved with the religious right movement seek to influence political policy with religious cornerstones. This is especially true in regards to moral hot topics like abortion and contraception. However, the main issue with the movement is that although religion and politics in the US are meant to be separate, religion continues to have political sway.
While the religious right movement may mistakenly seem to include all Christians, the real strength behind the movement comes from organized, well funded, Christian groups such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, to name a few. Groups like these often intend to influence governmental parties, namely the Republican Party, to promote their own agenda and beliefs. On the other hand in the UK, while similar Christian political activist groups such as Christian Concern and the Christian Institute exist, they do not play as big a role in politics as do US groups. Furthermore, according to an article by the National Secular Society in the UK, “the evangelical Christian groups in this country have not managed to colonize a major political party to any great extent as they have the Republican Party in the USA”. Additionally the article explains that Christian activist groups in the UK are not nearly as well funded as their American counterparts and typically make little to no impact in the areas they lobby for (Sanderson). Not only do the US and the UK differ in how political support from religious groups is handled, the two also differ in terms of the historical context in which religion has affected politics. To many Americans the US historically has Christian roots, which is “a central animating element of the ideology of the Christian Right” (Clarkson, 1). With that said, being a younger nation with such a Christian backbone it’s not surprising that religious undertones have influenced US lawmakers when concerning moral hot topics. However on the other side of the Atlantic, while moral hot topics also exist, the UK has had its fair share of conflict where religion and