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Religion and Politics. Religion and Politics. In some parts of the world, religion and politics are inseparable. Notable examples of countries where there is a solid connection include: Ireland, India and Israel.

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Religion and Politics

  • In some parts of the world, religion and politics are inseparable. Notable examples of countries where there is a solid connection include: Ireland, India and Israel.

  • The Middle East, parts of Asia and many African nations also reflect a strong religious approach to politics


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Terms to consider

Dogma: a set of doctrines proclaimed to be absolutely true by the representatives of a religious faith

Fundamentalism: any religious movement that seeks to return to the founding principles of a faith in the belief that the holy texts are the literal and authentic word of God

Terrorism: the usage of violence and terror to achieve political ends, particularly when directed by individuals against a society or state.

Jihad: in Islam, a holy war or spiritual struggle against non believers; also, an individual Muslim’s struggle for spiritual perfection

Non-Sectarian: not limited to, or associated with a particular religious denomination or belief

Secular State: a state that is governed without reference to religious doctrine

State Religion: a religious body or belief officially supported by the state.

Theocracy: A form of government in which religious law is dominant over civil law (e.g. Iran)


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Northern Ireland

  • After the partition of Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland (1921) there has been conflict between two main groups

  • Republicans

  • Unionists

The “peace wall” in West Belfast


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Background of the conflict

  • “Ulster” or “six counties” is the name of the region in the Northern part of Ireland that was partitioned in 1921.

  • The majority of Ulster’s population was protestant (approx 60%) and wished to remain apart of Great Britain.

  • The South of Ireland is overwhelmingly catholic and wished to leave Great Britain. After the Irish Civil War, the South was granted independence from the British. However, they gave up control of the North. The government of the South was a republic while the North of Ireland remained apart of Great Britain (union)

Ireland and Northern Ireland


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The two sides

Republicans

  • Those who wish to unite Northern Ireland with the South are referred to as republicans since they wish to join the republican South. In addition, they wish to break away from Britain which they see as repressive. They do not recognize the British occupation of the North and its institutions. Their flag is the Irish tri-color.

  • The Sein Fein (Gaelic for “we ourselves) party represents the interests of the republican community

  • Republicans tend to be Roman Catholic. However, they are often on the left of the political spectrum and do not necessarily espouse religious/moral approaches to politics.

Sein Fein leader Gerry Adams


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Republican Murals

Mural of former Republican MP

Bobby Sands

Republican Mural in West Belfast


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Connection to Terrorism

  • There are elements of the republican community in Ireland who sponsor terrorism as a means of achieving their goals.

  • The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a terrorist organization which seeks to unite Ireland through the usage of terrorism (e.g. pub bombings)


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Unionists

  • Unionists seek to maintain the union between Northern Ireland and the rest of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Northern Ireland).

  • They tend to be members of Ulster’s protestant community.

  • In politics, the interests of the unionist community are represented by the Ulster Unionist Party

David Trimble


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Connection to Terrorism

  • There are extremist elements within the unionist community who wish to maintain the status quo through intimidation. Loyalists who seek to use terror as a means of securing their objectives join one of two groups:

  • UDA (Ulster Defence Association)

  • UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force)


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Orangemen’s Day Parade

Hibernian's Parade


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Glasgow Rangers vs. Celtic

  • Rangers did not sign a catholic player until they signed Mo Johnston in 1989

  • Protestants tend to support Rangers; Catholics support Celtic

  • Sectarian violence is a constant concern when these two teams meet

Rangers vs. Celtic: More than a

football match. War by proxy


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The Sectarian Divide

Glasgow Rangers and Celtic Fans

Not quite!

Paul Gasgoine



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