negative political situations and the importance of religious renewal for the rebuilding of public life, rather than on the structural causes of social ills.
Of course, there are exceptions, and one of the more interesting of these is Ghana’s Mensa Otabil, a former Anglican who set up the International Central Gospel Church in Accra in 1984. At first sight this is just another ‘faith church’ promising spiritual and material rewards in return for sacrificial giving. Otabil’s books focus on ‘winning’ and achieving success, and his congregation
’ rather than democratic. The vision of political order emerging in the New World very much grew out of the changing nature of church governance. The Puritans had promoted a model of individual congregations made up of committed believers who vested authority in elected elders and pastors. These churches were in turn united by common professions of faith but lacked any formal over-arching authority. For the early fathers of the American nation, the whole conception of America was rooted in a religious rhetoric that compared their voyage across the Atlantic to the Exodus
authoritarianism – the acceptance of a wider range of sexual difference, with the focus here on homosexuality, and the growth of religious free markets. The latter subject is particularly interesting because the ability to accept pluralism in ‘one’s own backyard’ is often a particularly good test of democratic commitment. In the third section we look for more positive ways in which Orthodoxy may be able to contribute to democratisation, looking at its role in civil society-building in Russia and the experience of minority Orthodox communities in the USA. Our conclusion draws
We have already discussed the role of Protestantism in facilitating the emergence of democratic ideas and practices, but most of this discussion focused on its role in the period from the Reformation until the mid-nineteenth century. After that, the gradual rise of religious pluralism in North America and much of Europe, alongside the fragmented nature of Protestantism as a religious tradition, meant that its political consequences were sometimes downplayed, especially during the ‘third wave’ which occurred primarily in Catholic