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On 9/11, many Americans were introduced to an Islamic movement called Salafism, the theological strand that includes Al Qaeda. Since then, Salafism, an important and popular movement in global Islam, has frequently been disparaged as 'Radical Islam' or 'Islamic fundamentalism.' Scripture People is the first book-length study of the embattled American Salafi movement and the challenges it has faced post-9/11. Matthew D. Taylor recounts how these so-called “Radical Muslims” have adopted deeply rooted American forms of religious belonging and values. Through comparison with American Evangelical Christianity, informed by his own Evangelical background and studies, Taylor explores the parallel impulses, convergent identities, and even surprising friendships that have emerged between Salafis and Evangelicals in America. Offering an entry point for understanding the dynamics and disagreements among American Muslims, Taylor's volume upends narratives about 'Radical Islam' by demonstrating how Salafi Muslims have flexibly adapted to American religious patterns in the twenty-first century.
Chapter 13 analyses how profound socio-demographic changes in America have contributed to a shift from the faith-driven culture wars of the twentieth century to a more secular identity politics between liberal cosmopolitans and populist communitarians in the twenty-first century. This trend appears closely linked to the rapid decline of American Christianity, which along with globalisation, individualisation and rapid ethnic change has led to an identity crisis in parts of the white working class. Given the relative unresponsiveness of the traditional party system to this development, Donald Trump succeeded in capitalising on this crisis of identity through a ‘hostile takeover’ of the GOP by the alt-right, and a gradual ‘Europeanisation’ of the American right, which shifted from a faith-based social conservativism to a more identitarian and populist white identity politics.
Given the Trump administration’s ambiguous approach to religion discussed in the previous chapter, Chapter 15 explores how American Christians have reacted to it. It finds that although there initially appeared to be a certain level of religious immunity among practicing Christians against Trumpism, this religious ‘vaccination effect’ against national populism has since diminished and even reversed to the extent that, unlike in Europe, American Christians have become one of the populist right’s most loyal constituencies. American Christians’ ‘conversion’ to Trump appears, however, to be less the result of a shift in their attitudes than of supply-side factors. Specifically, a perceived lack of political alternatives as well as the inability and unwillingness of Christian leaders to publicly speak out against Trumpism seem to have contributed to this development.
This article explores the impact conservative criticism has had on companies’ behaviour in Brazil. We investigate whether Natura and Boticário − the two largest Brazilian cosmetics companies − have maintained or reversed LGBTQ-oriented marketing and advertising when confronted with criticism from conservative groups. We draw on interviews with stakeholders, company investors and LGBTQ activists, in addition to complaints filed with the Conselho Nacional de Autorregulamentação Publicitária (National Council for Advertising Self-Regulation, CONAR), and companies’ documents on finance and social responsibility. Overall, even when faced with a negative backlash from conservative opinion, companies have persisted in their commitment to diversity issues and LGBTQ inclusion in marketing. However, firms have also employed evasive strategies, such as targeted communication and less controversial forms of retail design, signalling compromises with conservative stakeholders and customers.
This article presents a new approach to understanding ritual: embodied world construction. Informed by phenomenology and a philosophy of embodiment, this approach argues that rituals can (re)shape the structure of an individual's perceptual world. Ritual participation transforms how the world appears for an individual through the inculcation of new perceptual habits, enabling the perception of objects and properties which could not previously be apprehended. This theory is then applied to two case studies from an existing ethnographic study of North American evangelicalism, indicating how the theory of embodied world construction can shed new light on how individuals are shaped by ritual practice.
In 1870, disestablishment suddenly turned the Church of Ireland from a state church into a democracy, governed by its “parliament,” the General Synod. The empowerment of the laity left it with a distinctive, indeed unique, feature among the churches of the Anglican communion—a set of disciplinary canons designed to exclude high-church ritualism from its worship. Passed in 1871, these canons, the most radical of which included a ban on the use of the cross, were used by evangelical pressure-groups to prosecute high-church clergy in the church courts. For the dominant low-church lay party, determined to defend the “Reformation heritage” of the Church of Ireland, they represented an essential bulwark against the threat of English high-church ritualism and a “slide towards Rome.” For many clergy and bishops, anxious to allow for a broader range of Anglican churchmanship, the canons unduly narrowed and impoverished the worship of the Church of Ireland. Because of the General Synod's majority voting mechanism, efforts to amend the canons proved fruitless. It was only in 1964 that the ban on the cross was removed, and not until 1974 that the canons as a whole were revised, ending over a hundred years of contention and division.
Beginning in the immediate post-WWII moment and carrying on to the present, international law’s Human Rights and Development missions mirror the US Evangelical ethos that emerged and gained traction at a similar pace. Making no causal claims, this Chapter focuses less on the UDHR’s expressions of monotheistic beliefs and more on the actors and ethos that informed those expressions. Specifically, it explores how legal communicative strategies and ideas used by human rights and development champions parallel those deployed at the same time by dominant US Evangelical leaders. The communicative strategies, inter alia, recall the desperate straits of the ‘unsaved’ other, present information as good news (gospel) and as truth, appeal to Messianic notions of history, and offer salvationist promises to transform afflicted lives. And the parallels form some of the many rationalizing forces that can be viewed as an expression of quasi-religious faith in American approaches to social and economic governance, and a call for those approaches to be internationalized. Like the Kingdom of God, this faith must be true for everyone to be true for anyone, and truth knows no borders. In other words, it is international law as evangelism.
This essay emphasizes the centrality of evangelical women poets to the culture and development of early American poetics (including hymnody), which had lasting effects well into the nineteenth century. It makes three related claims. First, early evangelical poetry was a capacious lived literature that constituted one of the major aesthetic developments of the eighteenth century. Second, one of the momentous outgrowths of this eighteenth-century experiential Christian poetics was an early form of the Poetess, a trope scholars predominantly discuss as a nineteenth-century cultural form. And third, recognizing this longer development of the evangelical poetess resituates Phillis Wheatley Peters’ poetics within an antiwhite supremacist tradition produced by free and enslaved Black people. The essay argues for the necessity of broader and deeper engagement with various eighteenth-century religious poetics in order to braid them back together with the social forms and histories within which they arose and remained entangled.
The Reformed tradition, from the beginning, systematically refashioned medieval Catholicism according to what it believed to be the pattern laid out in the Bible and the early church. Reformed Christians saw Scripture as a comprehensive manual for Christian faith with relevance for political and social issues as well as strictly theological ones. Compared to other Christian traditions, they gave the Old Testament more direct relevance to life in Christian community and spoke of the entire sweep of salvation history as the story of one people of God – heirs of the same promises, subject to the same judgments. This habit powerfully influenced not only the theology of American Protestantism, but Americans’ sense of their identity as a nation. The polarity between the desire for “more light” and confessional Reformed orthodoxy defines the space in which all versions of Reformed Protestantism exist.
Protestants have played a role in shaping the political ideology of every major party in the United States and in formulating nearly every major public policy. Most American Protestants have believed that the US government should not create a religious establishment or endorse one religious denomination or sect to the exclusion of others; they have been suspicious of any religious organization’s attempt to control the minds or votes of its followers and impose its religious principles on others through public law; and they have also generally seen political activity as a moral enterprise, governed by broadly shared (Protestant-inspired) norms. These tenets of political behavior are so deeply engrained in the nation’s consciousness that their appeal has extended well beyond Protestant circles. But as uncontroversial as most of these tenets might seem to Americans today, their development was a contested part of the nation’s history.
This chapter explores the shifting landscape of American Protestantism and its relationship to American culture from the 1960s to the early twenty-first century, focusing on such major themes as membership decline in mainline denominations, the growth and influence of evangelicalism, the use and impact of television and other forms of mass media, responses to political and social turmoil, debates over marriage and sexuality, and the rise of non-denominational evangelicalism and megachurches.
This article considers the existence of a distinctive form of fundamentalism in the northern-Irish province of Ulster. It does so by examining the Protestant minorities that grew significantly in the decades after the Ulster revival of 1859. These evangelical others are important because their members were more likely to have fundamentalist tendencies than those who belonged to the main Protestant churches. The existing scholarship on fundamentalism in Northern Ireland focuses on Ian Paisley (1926–2014), who was a life-long adversary of Irish republican separatism and a self-identified fundamentalist. Yet, the focus on Paisley draws attention away from the potential origin of fundamentalism in the early twentieth century that is associated with religious revival in the early 1920s and the heresy trial of a “modernist” Presbyterian professor in 1927. George Marsden's classic study defined fundamentalism as an American phenomenon, yet, with Paisley and developments in the 1920s in mind, he noted that “Ulster appears to be an exception.”1 To what extent was that true? Was there a constituency of potential fundamentalists in the north of Ireland in the early twentieth century? If there was, did the social and political circumstances of the region and period produce a distinctive Ulster variety of fundamentalism?
This chapter explores the relationship between religion and “the novel” by focusing on a cross-section of religious questions having to do with belonging (domestic, national, global) and identity. It begins with a consideration the Evangelical Hannah More’s Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1809), moves to a cluster of novels that contemplated domestic religious differences in the form of Catholics and Jews, and concludes with a shift outside the geographical boundaries of the United Kingdom and Ireland to examine early novelistic responses to overseas missionary movements, which raised challenging questions about empire, race, and religious community.
The founding editors of Christianity Today spent more than a year planning the launch of their magazine. Carl F. H. Henry, L. Nelson Bell, and J. Marcellus Kik believed Christianity Today could “plant the flag” for evangelicalism. To do that, though, the editors had to decide what evangelicalism was. They had to decide where the lines were, who was in and who was out, which issues mattered and which did not. One key criterion, they decided, was whether or not someone liked evangelist Billy Graham. Historian George Marsden later offered this as a tongue-in-cheek definition of evangelicalism. More seriously, religious historians have used David Bebbington's quadrilateral definition, which says the basis of evangelicalism is conversionism, biblicism, activism, and crucicentrism. This article argues that Bebbington's definition is ahistorical, vague, and deeply unhelpful. Marsden's joking definition, on the other hand, is quite useful, as it directs historians to attend to actual relationships, historical affinities, and real-world conversations. Based on new archival research, this article tells the story of the launch of evangelicalism's “flagship” magazine, shows how evangelicalism's lines were drawn in 1956, and makes the case that evangelicalism is best understood as a discourse community which is structured by its communication networks.
While Frederick Douglass’s fame as an ex-slave and man of letters is widely known over two continents, Europe and North America, his career as an evangelistic orator outside of the United States is far less familiar to Douglass scholars. With attention turned toward a religious consideration of Douglass’s career as local preacher, then international abolitionist in the revivalist tradition, this article connects Douglass to a specifically black form of prophetic performance against the Pharisaism of proslavery Christianity in the U.S. South. In increasingly agnostic and humanistic terms, Douglass voiced his antislavery jeremiad against American Christianity in a months-long public performance of revivalistic speech-making in Christian England and Ireland in 1845-47.
Micah Watson argues that an active conscience is the outgrowth of the evangelical mind. Evangelicalism is the form of Protestantism that relies on the truths of historical Christianity while navigating between mainline Protestantism and fundamentalism. For evangelicals, conscience is founded in the Bible, particularly the writings of Paul. It also flowered in the post-Reformation world, where it was taught that an active conscience signaled a person’s salvation. Conscience also led evangelicals to be active against all forms of sinfulness. In the United States, this contributed to the proliferation of voluntary societies, where Christians who were “saved for service” could exercise their consciences to spread the Gospel or stamp out perceived evils (like alcohol use). Watson traces the history of evangelical conscience into the twentieth century, and he describes voices like Carl Henry and others who sought harmony between the pious strand of evangelicalism, and adherents who were committed to social action. Later in the twentieth century, evangelicals sought peace in society more than saving it. Still, evangelicals continue to oppose perceived social evils, including same-sex marriage.
Missionaries have flocked to the Kyrgyz Republic ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Evangelical-Pentecostal and Tablighi missions have been particularly active on what they conceive of as a fertile post-atheist frontier. But as these missions project their message of truth onto the frontier, the dangers of the frontier may overwhelm them. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork amongst foreign and local Tablighis and evangelical-Pentecostals, this article formulates an analytic of the frontier that highlights the affective and relational characteristics of missionary activities and their effects. This analytic explains why and how missionaries are attracted to the frontier, as well as some of the successes and failures of their expansionist efforts. In doing so, the article reveals the potency of instability, a feature that is particularly evident in missionary work, but also resonates with other frontier situations.
The relationship between religiosity and political attitudes is well established in the United States, particularly around gendered issues like abortion. However, this relationship can be complicated by the highly gendered and racialized nature of social identities. In this paper, we explore how different forms of religiosity (belonging to a denomination, specific religious beliefs, and religious behavior in church and in private) interact with gender to shape Latino abortion preferences. Using two sets of national survey data, we find that Evangelicalism and church attendance are more strongly associated with anti-abortion attitudes among Latino men, while religious beliefs are gender neutral. Our results illustrate the importance of intersectional approaches to studies of social identities and political preferences, as well as the importance of including gender in research on the role of the Evangelical church on immigrant political behavior.
Some might question the rationale for including liberation theology in this book. It is rarely discussed in international relations, most scholars having left it to the subfield of comparative politics. Even there, it has played a subservient role in studies of democratic change in Latin America.1 As a movement of church renewal, its growth has been far surpassed by Pentecostalism and charismatic Catholicism since the 1980s.2
The third part of this book deals with the emergence of Protestantism, and the various approaches to the question of justification that emerged within the various evangelical movements in the first three decades of the sixteenth century. Chapter 11 deals with the important question of whether there can be said to be a single or coherent ‘Reformation’ doctrine of justification. The chapter surveys the evidence, which suggests that a number of approaches to justification emerged within evangelical groups in early sixteenth-century Switzerland and Germany, with varying attitudes towards the perceived importance of the doctrine, and how it was to be framed. Initially, the concept of justification was not understood forensically, tending to be seen as primarily transformational. The chapter tracks the growing consensus across evangelical movements which led to consolidation of the view that justification by faith was of central importance, and that it was to be understood as a change in status rather than a change in nature. These points are addressed in greater detail in subsequent chapters.