Religiously Inspired Political Activism: A Historical and Comparative Study
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What underlies the increased public prominence of religiously inspired political activism, both within church politics and in secular politics in Australia in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries? This thesis draws upon concepts of religious awakenings, Creedal Politics, and ‘Cultural Wars’ that define religious political activism in the American context. It compares and contrasts the Australian situation with that of the US. It then presents case studies of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) an evangelical Protestant vehicle for Christian political mobilization in Australia, and the smaller more conservative, Salt Shakers. This thesis argues that there are two factors that affect Christian political activism that are too often overlooked – these include theological ideas about beliefs and concepts of God; and responses to God and creation. These fundamental principles influence the social and political agenda of religiously inspired political organisations and structure the beliefs and values of their supporters more than traditional church affiliation. This thesis suggests that Christian ideals are not as salient in Australian political and constitutional discourse as in the US, nor do they feed into public ‘Cultural Wars’ to the extent seen in the US. Despite being encouraged by overseas movements, the context and traditions of political, cultural, and religious life in Australia directly influence, if not substantially shape, the outward forms of religiously inspired political activism in this country.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Humanities
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Australian Christian Lobby