‘Ourselves Alone’: Paisleyism and the Politics of Purity

Patrick Mitchel

in Evangelicalism and National Identity in Ulster, 1921-1998

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780199256150
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602115 | DOI:
‘Ourselves Alone’: Paisleyism and the Politics of Purity

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The distinctive characteristics of Paisleyism are identified, accompanied by discussion of how Paisleyite ideology interacts with nationalism. Contrary to influential interpreters such as Steve Bruce, and taking into account Paisleyism’s strong fundamentalist associations, it is argued that Paisleyism’s primary appeal derives from the emotional power of a mythological nationalist narrative organized around a theological core of deeply held evangelical beliefs. This potent mixture functions both to define a closed evangelical identity and to sustain its members’ divine sense of calling in their task of saving Ulster from the corrupt forces of apostate Protestantism, idolatrous Romanism, evil republicanism, and duplicitous British and Irish governments.

Keywords: Antichrist; Steve Bruce; Democratic Unionist Party (DUP); Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster; fundamentalism; Ian Paisley; Paisleyism; purity; Roman Catholic Church; separation

Chapter.  16329 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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