The Role of Religion in and Its Influence on The Republican and Democratic Parties in the United States at the Beginning of the 21st Century
Diploma Thesis from the year 2008 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1,7, Martin Luther University, language: English, abstract: The first part of the paper offers some basic explanations about the whole issue of religion and politics.Questions like "Was the country founded as a Christian nation" and "What role was considered for religion in the public arena by the Founding Fathers" will be discussed. The next step will shift the whole issue in the 21st century. The Democrats and the Republicans will be placed in the whole religious context. Connections between partisanship and religious affiliations will be examined.The Christian Right, which is a generic term for all conservative Christian organizations in the United States and a huge interest group, is going to be an important part. The organizations of the Christian Right are able to influence and support political decisions, and they almost exclusively support the Republican party. On the other side is the Christian Left, which mostly backs the Democratic party. There is nearly no information available about the Christian Left, so it will be mentioned here only for the sake of completeness. The third chapter will take a closer look on religious issues in politics. Abortion and same-sex marriage will be in the center of interest here. The fourth chapter is the main part of this paper. It analyses the role of religion during election campaigns by giving examples how the parties reached out to religious voters and tried to mobilize them. In the 2000 election, the main focus is on the efforts of the Republican party because the amount of information about the efforts of the Democrats to attract religious voters is very low. The 2004 election will focus on the question of whether it was really a "moral values" election or if it was a "misunderstanding" at the polls. What did both parties do this time for the religious voters? What was the matter with the same-sex marriage issue? Did it really hand the second term to George W. Bush on a silver platter? The last part of chapter four will deal with the 2006 midterm election. It was a changing point in the political arena, and did religion had a role in it at all. Were the Democrats successful because they started talking about religion, or was it only a frustrated public who wanted a change? The new approach within the Democratic party will be demonstrated with selected examples. The last part will give a summary of the findings and will try to offer an explanation of the role of religion in and its influence on the two American parties.
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