Populism and Religion

  • Permalink Gallery

    The restoration of a ‘lost’ Britain: How nostalgia becomes a dangerous political force

The restoration of a ‘lost’ Britain: How nostalgia becomes a dangerous political force

For many Britons, everything was better in the past. Sophia Gaston writes that this is partly because governments have not always been successful at guiding citizens through times of social and economic change. She examines nostalgia as a political force in Britain and explains why politicians must address, rather than avoid, questions about patriotism and identity.

The study of nostalgia inevitably creates […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    ‘Chaos waits for a crack to appear’: A Christian response to populism

‘Chaos waits for a crack to appear’: A Christian response to populism

In this edited version of a recent sermon, the Anglican Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines offers a Christian perspective on a populism which sows division and fear. He refers to both scripture and recent European history in outlining how quickly populists can fill a political void, and concludes by stressing the need for Christians to not merely aim for […]

  • Permalink By Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada (France-003348 - Liberty Leading the People) [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia CommonsGallery

    The transcendental nation: The overlooked spiritual dimension of political polarisation

The transcendental nation: The overlooked spiritual dimension of political polarisation

Much of the debate surrounding the contemporary political realignment is dominated by a purely rational conception of politics. However, our political system, Julian Göpffarth writes, is based on the transcendental idea of the nation and the redemptive character of democracy. Failure to acknowledge this will further strengthen far-right parties and movements.
There are many ways in which contemporary polarisation is […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Christianism: A crude political ideology and the triumph of empty symbolism

Christianism: A crude political ideology and the triumph of empty symbolism

Where does the ‘religion’ end and the ‘populism’ begin? Ben Ryan speaks of the use of Christianity by populists as ‘Christianism’. Here, as with Islamism, theological depth makes way for a radical vision of society where people are divided into two cultural camps. You’re with us or against us. The challenge for Christians is to wrestle back the narrative […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Seeing is believing: ‘Clergy’, the Polish Catholic Church, and popular appeal

Seeing is believing: ‘Clergy’, the Polish Catholic Church, and popular appeal

A new film about corruption and abuse within the Catholic Church has drawn record-breaking crowds to cinemas across Poland, evidence of an increased willingness among Poles to countenance criticism of the Church. Yet this comes at a time when the Church and government maintain close relations and have promoted Catholicism as central to Polish identity. Here, Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer places […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    ‘A kitsch Christianity’: Populists gather support while traditional religiosity declines

‘A kitsch Christianity’: Populists gather support while traditional religiosity declines

Rather than an authentic religious expression, Olivier Roy sees populism as a vehicle which appropriates Christian symbols for political ends while discarding the religion’s core values. Moreover, the rise of such movements has corresponded with the continued decline of church attendance and the widespread support for policies which run contrary to Church teachings. Capitalising on the Roman Catholic Church’s […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    ‘Us’ and the ‘Other’: How populists continue to hijack religion

‘Us’ and the ‘Other’: How populists continue to hijack religion

In the first Populism and Religion article, Nadia Marzouki and Duncan McDonnell explain how populists portray elites and minorities, particularly Muslims, as an existential threat to the majority’s way of life. This discourse is increasingly common in public debate, with right-wing populists and centre-right conservatives across the West competing to present themselves as the defenders of an embattled Christian civilisation.

“I […]