The recent electoral triumphs of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have stimulated debate about the role of fundamentalist or ‘traditional evangelical’ Protestantism within the party and in Northern Irish politics. This paper argues that a significant restructuring of evangelical politics is taking place, one that is interest group‐centred rather than DUP‐centred. This process has been facilitated by changes in the structure of civil society. Traditional evangelical interest groups are ‘reframing’ their political projects in surprising new ways: abandoning Calvinist conceptions of church and state, using discourses of marginalisation and discrimination, and focusing on ‘moral’ issues. These subtle shifts in rhetoric constitute an acceptance of the post‐Belfast Agreement order. Rather than the tired, ‘Ulster Says No’ politics of the past, evangelicals are speaking out with a pragmatic ‘maybe’. This move parallels and reinforces the DUP’s ideological shifts, and provides an extra‐party platform for evangelicals to impact politics.
- Northern Ireland; conflict; community; informal control; identity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)