The term ‘Judeo-Christian’ has been misused for political ends – a new ‘Abrahamic’ identity offers an alternative

Upcoming elections in the Netherlands and Germany in 2021 will test the strength of the radical right, which has a distinct vision of European identity. In contrast to those who view democratic values as essentially secular and universal, and not tied to specific cultural or religious roots, radical right parties typically say these values are anchored by the heritage of European or western civilisation. And they claim that this heritage is being threatened by non-European cultures, particularly Islamic culture.

My research into the international political world views of radical right parties reveals their widespread references to the “Judeo-Christian” roots of European values. The manifesto of the Alternative for Germany declares that the party:

Opposes Islamic practice which is directed against our liberal-democratic constitutional order, our laws, and the Judeo-Christian and humanist foundations of our culture.

Comparable claims can be found from Marine Le Pen in France and Nigel Farage in the UK.

What do these politicians mean by Judeo-Christian? This term’s definition is fuzzy at best, and historical analysis shows that it has long been used and abused for political ends.


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