PENTECOSTAL POLITICAL ACTIVISM IN THE USA AND THE UK: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

  • Stephen J. Hunt

Abstract

In historical terms, the Pentecostal movement, for almost a century, was known for its political quietism. Identifi ed by ecstatic and esoteric experiences, Pentecostalism was in essence world-rejecting by nature. The movement’s millenarian disposition meant that it had no or few political inclinations. The return of Christ seemed imminent, ushering in the Kingdom of God that would replace all human authorities. With new waves of Pentecostalism spreading across the world, the movement appeared to become increasingly politicised in certain global context. This paper take a comparative analysis of the political undertakings of Pentecostalism in two western contexts, namely, the USA and the UK that provide examples of a seemingly highly religious society and a ‘mid-range’ secular society of Europe respectively. The paper overviews the activities of Pentecostals in both nations and identifi es the key factors behind the politicalization of the movement and explores the principal variables by which to understand diff erent levels of success achieved by the movement. This emphasis is supplemented by recognition of the contrasting political cultures in which the activities of the Pentecostals have operated. 

Keywords: Evangelicalism, New Right Politics, Pentecostalism, Political Culture, United Kingdom, USA.

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Published
2017-01-14