Protestant-Catholic divisions in Europe and the United States: an historical and comparative perspective.
Politics, Religion & Ideology, 12(3) pp. 241–256.
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The article opens by highlighting the parallels between expressions of Protestant feeling in the aftermath of the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and Islamophobia in the wake of the 9/11 attacks of 2001. The history of Protestant-Catholic conflict is worthy of attention both in its own right because it provides context for understanding enduring tensions in the North Atlantic and European worlds, and because it suggests comparisons with the contemporary perceived ‘clash of civilizations’ between Christianity and Islam. Focusing on the nineteenth century, the diversity of anti-Catholicism is explored, and particular attention given to the development of the Protestant internationalism associated with the Evangelical Alliance, contrasted with the Catholic internationalism of the Papacy. On both sides of the Atlantic, Protestantism has sometimes been nationalistic and confrontational, tendencies which have persisted to the present, albeit normally in secularised forms. At the same time though, Protestantism has also inspired a model of ‘unity in diversity’, mediated by American constitutional practice, which may prove helpful in furthering European acceptance of wider religious pluralism.
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