Nationalism or religion which is more important

Religion and modernity

Anja Hennig

To person

Dr. phil., born 1975; Research assistant at the Chair of Comparative Political Science, Faculty of Cultural Studies at the European University Viadrina, Postfach 1786, 15230 Frankfurt / O. [email protected]

In an international comparison, Europe is considered to be the continent on which societies are least religious and religion has been pushed the most into private life. [1] Nevertheless, the impression often arises that religion is more publicly present than ever - not only when a Pope resigns. But has religion really "returned" to politics in Europe? Or has only the relationship between religion, society and politics become more conflictual and religion more visible? [2] In order to discuss these questions, the following historical milestones are used to show how the relationship between religion and politics has developed in the different regions of Europe : conflictual or cooperative? To what extent can we speak of continuity or a reorganization of this relationship from today's perspective? For this it has to be clarified how religion and politics define and how the interactions can be investigated.

The social science analysis of the relationship between religion and politics focuses on the measurable elements of religion. What distinguishes religion from the profane - the belief in a common God, the transcendent - is important for the understanding of religion, but of secondary importance for the analysis of religion and politics. So will religion analyzed as a worldview or theology, as an individual belief or in the form of religious actors, institutions, movements and parties. Similar can be politics as ideas and programs, as actors, parties and institutions, as a process of influencing and as a political order. [3]

A regulated relationship between the Catholic Church and secular rulers can be said for the first time from 1122, when Pope Calixtus II and Henry V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, sealed a concordat in Worms. It regulated the central responsibilities of secular and religious power, curtailed the royal right to appoint clergymen and thus pacified a 50-year conflict (investiture dispute). [4] The worldly-temporary regnum should be dated from the religious-spiritual sacerdotium be separated. Theoretically, even before Worms, there was no question that church and emperor have separate spheres of influence. However, the reality was different - even after the Concordat. Since the early Middle Ages, popes and kings claimed each other's spheres or supported one another; the popes to consolidate the Catholic Church in the competition between Eastern and Western Churches, and the kings to legitimize their rule and to assert themselves territorially. [5]

With the Reformation movements of the 16th century, the relationship between church and state changed. The reform theologians Johannes Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli and Martin Luther decisively criticized the political influence of the popes, their pomp and the violent judging of dissenters. Luther's understanding of the "two kingdoms" was groundbreaking: He held fast to the idea of ​​a worldly and heavenly kingdom; yet the church as an institution should be governed by secular law. In return, the worldly kingdom had to ensure that the gospel could be preached through peace and order. [6] These ideas found bitter opponents and ardent supporters among the sovereigns. The emperor stood on the side of the pope out of his own interest, but his position of power was shaken during the wars of religion. In the first half of the 16th century, Catholics and Reformed people (Lutherans, Calvinists) fought for political influence and the "right" faith in Europe.

The decisive turning point was the Peace of Augsburg of 1555. Protestantism was equated with Catholicism. Denmark and Norway had already renounced Rome in 1536, Sweden in 1593, and thus most of Finland, and founded their own Protestant state churches. [7] Here the secular rulers governed the religious on the basis of state law. [8] The resolutions passed in Augsburg were also implemented in the mixed-denominational German Reich: Cuius regio, eius religio (whose region, whose religion) was the formula. From now on, the denomination of an area had to be based on the denomination of the sovereign; an agreement that was only sealed in other regions of Europe by the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. People of different faiths had to submit or flee. Thus, even for the Jews, who were repeatedly persecuted, no religious freedom was given.

In this way, three monoconfessional blocks emerged: the Lutheran North, the Catholic South (France, Italy, Portugal, Spain) and the Orthodox East. In between there was a belt of multi-denominational states. It moved from Ireland and England [9] via the Netherlands, southern Germany, Switzerland, Bohemia, Poland and Hungary to the Transylvanian part of Romania. In the Lutheran territories, secular constitutions regulated the relationship between the Church and the absolutist state, while in the Catholic states concordats were concluded with Rome. Thus, through the confessionalization of Europe at the end of the 16th century, state-territorial sovereignty was firmly linked to religion. [10]

With the Enlightenment, the idea finally arose that the state should regard religion as a private matter and protect it constitutionally. This was a central idea that had an impact on the French Revolution through the US Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was incorporated into the French Constitution of 1791. At the same time, the Catholic Church was almost expropriated and persecuted. It is true that Napoleon restored religious peace in 1801 by negotiating a concordat with the Vatican and ensuring the coexistence of all now state-controlled denominations and Judaism. [11] But when the Republicans came to power around 1880, their anti-clericalism became a political program. Diplomatic relations with the Vatican were broken off and the law passed in 1905 that still separates church and state in France. From this republican reading of the Enlightenment, anti-clerical movements emerged in many European states from the end of the 18th century, which were of decisive importance for the emergence of the modern nation state.

Nationalism interpreted the originally egalitarian conception of the nation-state as a structure in which an ethnically homogeneous community coincides with territorial-legal rule. [12] Nationalists aimed to create a new basis for political legitimacy and to name a unified "we". Religion could perform just these functions. For the national movements of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as radical ethno-nationalism, religion made it possible to refer to a linear history down to a (mythological) origin and to the "imagined" nation as a chosen "people of God" legitimize. To this end, either strong religious identities were mobilized, as in Poland or Ireland, or, as in the 20th century in the multi-ethnic Balkans, an originally weak religious self-image. [13]