Diversity makes religion a factor in new political areas


As the religious diversity in the Nordic countries grows, religion becomes an issue in more political areas than before. That is one of the conclusions of doctoral student and Impact researcher Jonas Lindberg, who has studied religion in Nordic party platforms 1988-2008.

Jonas Lindberg finds that religion is part of a growing number of issue-areas during the period. The one exception is Norway, where the issue-areas slightly decreased between 1998 and 2008. Still, the total number of areas where religion was mentioned is the highest in Norway. Religion also turns up in new issue-areas, like human rights, immigration, security and foreign policy, during the period.

Jonas Lindberg concludes that these findings may strengthen claims of a re-emergence of religion in politics in the Nordic countries, a re-emergence fuelled by the growing religious diversity in the societies.

Jonas Lindberg also finds in his study that right-wing parties refer more often to religion in their party platforms than left-wing parties. According to his findings, the theory of a religious cleavage between right and left in politics is still applicable in the Nordic countries. According to Jonas Lindberg, growing religious diversity has made the religious cleavage more complex, which is also shown by the emergence of right-wing populist parties. Not only does the cleavage reflect different views on religion versus secular, but also how different approaches to different religions and how Christianity is related to the core values of Nordic societies.

Jonas Lindberg’s article Religion in Nordic party platforms 1988-2008 is published in the Nordic Journal of Religion and Society 26:2.

News from 2013