Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
A religious movement is an organized effort that intends to bring about religious reforms. Many religious movements also have political goals because the kinds of reforms they want appear possible only by altering, sometimes fundamentally, political and/or social contexts and arrangements in which they operate. This entry discusses some major manifestations of such movements in contemporary politics. In recent years, social scientists have consistently noted that religion can influence politics. Three decades ago, the Iranian revolution showed that an Islamic religious movement could overthrow a regime once seen as a key example of the modernizing effects of secularization in the Middle East. More recently, the rise of the Christian Right (CR) in the United States demonstrated how religious movements can evolve as a result of changing political circumstances. Further, the emergence and consolidation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India was made possible because of the party's foundations in ...