Andy Walton looks at whether there is a "Religious Right" emerging in Britain
The role of God in the 2012 US election
30th August 2012
For many observers, religion is an emblematic feature of American politics. It is seen as a unique and confounding manifestation of American exceptionalism, in which religious fervor co-exists with an industrialized, "modern" democracy and an explicitly secular state. The course of the presidential race thus far might be viewed as yet another instance of America's particular obsession with religion. Yet this campaign, for all its familiar tropes, both departs from the historical American norm and remind us that the US is not so unusual in its mix of religion and politics, after all.
Even before Paul Ryan's selection for the Republican ticket, Rick Santorum's and Mitt Romney's primary campaigns for president meant that religion had already played a particularly vivid version of its familiar role in American electoral politics – one which went beyond the usual prayer breakfasts, pastoral exhortations, allegations of theological unsoundness, and public proclamations of the candidate's commitment to Jesus, Christianity, and America united under one God.
The ultra-Catholic Rick Santorum, with his critique of Obama's "false theology", his passionate pronouncements on the evils of birth control and abortion, and his statement that John F Kennedy's advocacy of the separation of church and state "made him want to throw up", was coupled with the ongoing saga of Mitt Romney – the candidate no one seemed to want but had to choose – and his Mormonism, which raised the question of whether the adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints deserved to stand under broad and sheltering umbrella of American Christianity. The nomination of Ryan, with his ostensibly seamless dual commitment to the teachings of both the Catholic Church and the church of Ayn Rand, means that religion in the 2012 election has taken an even more prominent role as the Republican party convention is held this week.
Mia Bruch and Anna Grzymala-Busse | Read this article in full on www.guardian.co.uk