Populism and Religion

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    LSE FESTIVAL 2019 PODCAST: ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: populism and religious identity in the West

LSE FESTIVAL 2019 PODCAST: ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: populism and religious identity in the West

In an apparently ever-less-religious West, how has Christian identity, however indirectly, been used as a focal point for populist discontent?

This is the recording of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: populism and religious identity in the West, an LSE Festival event we hosted on Saturday 2 March 2019.

Chair: James Walters
Panellists: Tobias Cremer, Zubaida Haque

For more on this topic, see our Populism and […]

Populism and Religion: A Conclusion

Daniel Coyne brings together the contributions to the Populism and Religion series. He suggests that transcendental allusions are an inescapable part of politics and not simply a tactic deployed by demagogues. The defenders of liberal democracy must recognise this, and combine smart policy with a compelling vision that adequately addresses public concerns.

Populism seems to be everywhere, both the word […]

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    The Religion Gap: Why right-wing populists underperform among Christian voters and what this means for the role of the Church in society

The Religion Gap: Why right-wing populists underperform among Christian voters and what this means for the role of the Church in society

As Tobias Cremer outlines, to understand this regional phenomenon it is essential to focus on specific national contexts. In Bavaria, most voters to have abandoned the Christian democrats moved left to the Greens rather than to the AfD on the right. Tobias explains that, in Germany, the mainstream churches are outspoken in their condemnation of such movements and have […]

Sacred, Supernatural, and Apocalyptic Populism

What explains support for populism when it does not suit one’s economic or political self-interest? Daniel Nilsson DeHanas explores three dimensions of populism that go beyond rational analysis: the sacred, supernatural, and apocalyptic.

Populism is dangerous. If there is anything policy experts, academics, and media tend to agree upon today, it is simply this. Populism is seen as a threat […]

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    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 […]

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    ‘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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    ‘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 […]