One of the most curious features of sudden-onset secularisation on the island of Ireland has been the revitalisation of religious politics. This is most obvious in Northern Ireland, where within the last three months, the chaotic introduction of the Brexit protocol, loyalist riots, and a controversy about banning so-called “gay conversion therapy” have been followed by dramatic declines in electoral support for and leadership changes within the largest unionist party that can only be described as chaotic.
On 7 October, shortly after being hospitalised after contracting COVID-19, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to warn his supporters that “DEMS WANT TO SHUT YOUR CHURCHES DOWN, PERMANENTLY. HOPE YOU SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING. VOTE NOW.”
The current cycle of primary elections has re-ignited old debates about the place of religion in American political life. Those candidates identified as evangelicals, such as Ted Cruz, are often represented as proposing a top-down reconstruction of American society, encouraging a “moral minority” to take power in order to impose its expectations upon the culture at large.