Religion and Right Wing Politics

Room: 
Room 2.29, Law & Politics Building
Time Slot: 
Monday 26th March 09:30 - 11:00
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr Martin McCleery (Cardiff University)
Panel Members: 
  • Professor Ken Wald (University of Florida)
  • Professor Elizabeth Oldmixon (University of North Texas)
  • Professor Angelia Wilson (University of Manchester)
  • Dr William Allchorn (University of Leeds)

This panel consists of four papers examining various links between religion and right wing politics:

 

Professor Ken Wald (University of Florida): "Cultural Foundations of Right-Wing Populism in the United States: The Tea Party Movement"

This paper considers the rise of the of the Tea Party following the 2008 American presidential election, considering this through the lens of the 'politics of cultural differences'. It argues that the Tea Party drew on grievances concerning violations of the moral order, and finds, using a 2012 survey, that value congruence and identification with the Tea Party were driven principally by cultural tensions associated with gender, race, and sexuality.

Professor Elizabeth Oldmixon (University of North Texas): "Religion and LGBTQ Politics in Comparative Perspective"

American attitudes toward LGBTQ persons and rights are increasingly favorable, but over the last four decades the status of LGBTQ persons has represented a profound cultural cleavage—a cleavage between progressives and traditionalists. This cleavage has been driven by limited social contact between cultural combatants, ideas about the attribution of homosexuality, and the work of elite opinion leaders. Underlying all of this, however, is religion. The lion’s share of the scholarly literature finds that religion is a reliable predictor of LGBTQ tolerance and support for LGBTQ rights, and it is impossible to fully understand attitudes on LGBTQ issues without careful consideration of religion and religious mobilization. This paper discusses the development of the Christian Right, explores the empirical literature on religion and support for LGBTQ rights, and links religion with the literature on social contact, attribution and opinion leadership.

 

Professor Angelia Wilson (University of Manchester): "Educating Constituents: The US Christian Right Discursive Political Strategy"

This paper examines the role of Richard Viguerie ('the king of direct mail') in shaping the evangelical political agenda and giving it a clear voice in order to educate constituents. The importance of direct contact with constituents, by-passing mainstream media interpretations, continues to be a key tool in voter education and mobilization. This paper demonstrates the importance of this direct communication by considering over 1,000 emails sent over a ten year period from the Family Research Council, a leading Christian Right organization. Mapping this data set to relevant political events gives some indications of exactly how an evangelical political strategy continues to be articulated and re-interpreted through direct contact in order to educate and mobilize constituents.  

William Allchorn (University of Leeds): "A Peculiar Turn for Britain’s Far Right? ‘Islamisation’, Vigilantism and Britain First"

Using an analysis of official documents, newspaper reports and elite interviews, this paper will be the first to systematically map the organisational structure, ideology and modus operandi of Britain First – understanding and unpicking the peculiarities of this new turn in British far right politics.