NCSR 2008 - Urban Diversity and Religious Traditions
13-15 August 2008, Åbo Akademi University

Religion in Parliamentary Debates

Henrik Reintoft Christensen, University of Aarhus

Through qualitative analyses of parliamentary debates, this paper examines the way politicians in the Scandinavian parliaments use religion when addressing various policy problems. It identifies parallels as well as differences among the three countries. Furthermore, it demonstrates how religion is invoked differently based on different perceptions of religion as either something special or just like any other social phenomena, but also based on the nature of the policy problem at hand. Although the paper does not attempt to determine if the uses of religion are expressions of genuine religiosity or a rhetorical tool, it does show some systematic strategies. The preliminary findings suggest that there is a relationship between arguing for change and articulating religion as something special.