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 The Religious Right: U.S. vs Europe

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FleurDeLis
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PostSubject: The Religious Right: U.S. vs Europe   Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:08 pm

Since the beginning of the twentieth century The Religious Right has kept the debate “intelligent design versus evolution” alive, but it was not until the 1970’s that they received significant support to their movement. At a time when democracy was growing stronger by the day and liberal thinking was encouraged throughout the western nations, the United States, unlike Europe, turned to an extremely conservative line of thinking.

Although Europe and the US tried to integrate democracy, individual liberty, and capitalism in the second half of the twentieth century, only the US experienced a notably decreased social stability. This was due partially to America’s comparably short history and limited experience in governing and unifying a nation, but the ideology at the time had an even larger effect.
Europe favored welfare liberalism in the twentieth century, which calls for more involvement of the government with the objective to give government support to the individual. The hope was to slowly build up the economy and infrastructure that had suffered greatly from World War One and Two. The US however, a newborn nation, was putting a great deal of emphasis on neoclassical liberalism as an asset to the capitalistic economy; calling for a limited government to allow for maximum individuality, and a healthy competitive economy.

As a result individuality in the US took on a life of its own in the 1960’s; individual rights were placed above all else. Long held morals and virtues were exposed to indifference and self-righteousness, turning public appeals into riots, allowing abortion as a solution and quick-fix for unwanted pregnancies or divorce as a solution to martial issues. Crime rates and drug usage increased significantly as well. In this, The Religious Right perceived a decay of the nation that called them to action; their movement was determined to reinstate social stability and safety under the name of God and His word, The Bible.

Within the midst of the Cold War another influence paved the way for the Religious Right in the US, the Anti-Communism propaganda. The growing communism in the east not only placed a threat to western democracy, it was also opposed to the concept of capitalism, and its anti-theistic ideology stood in contrast to a nation founded on radical Christian values. The Religious Right had not gained adequate support in the past because their views strongly opposed the liberal movement that had swept through the western nations. But during the 1970’s the social instability of the nation and the anti-theistic communist threat to democracy as well as capitalism led a large number of Americans to believe that Christian morals, virtue, and unity was indeed needed to build and maintain a strong, stable nation. At this point the concept of intelligent design found an attentive audience that was willing to leave science and Darwin’s teachings of evolution behind to become a strong nation under God’s shielding umbrella.

Europe on the other hand had separated politics and religion after the reformation of the church and the dawn of liberalism. The reigns of feudal governments in combination with religious oppression over the past few centuries had made a religious influence in the government rather undesirable for Europeans. And unlike the US, where the majority of the population consisted of Protestants, Europe harbored a variety of religious beliefs and their attached morals which made it even more difficult for any religious movement to gain substantial support.
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