Defenders of the Faith?

National Populism and Religion in Western Europe and the United States

January 28, 2020
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. EST
Location: Berkley Center Third Floor Conference Room Map

From the carrying of crosses and the singing of hymns at rallies to a new rhetoric centered on the defense of “the Judeo-Christian West,” national populist movements on both sides of the Atlantic often make use of Christian symbols and language. Many observers are quick to take such rhetoric at face value and resurrect concepts like the “clash of civilizations” or point to the emergence of a new “Christian Right” and new “culture wars.” However, the relationship between these movements and Christianity is much more nuanced.

In this lecture Tobias Cremer, a visiting research fellow at the Berkley Center, presented his dissertation research, which seeks to comprehend this ambiguous relationship by exploring national populists’ motives and religious communities’ responses. In particular, he focused on understanding the sources behind the surge of populism in Western societies, exploring whether and how national populists’ relationship with Christianity differs from that of traditional conservative movements, and assessing which religious, social, and political factors drive Christians in different countries—both laypeople and clergy—to either embrace or reject the populist right. 

Lunch was served.

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