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Political Science in Europe

Crusade or resilience? Religious Actors and the Implementation of Life-and-death Policies in Belgium and Switzerland

Religion
 
Political Sociology
 
Policy Change
 
Policy Implementation
 
Presenter
Michalina Preisner
Universität Bern
Ilay Zehra Yesil
Universität Bern
Authors
Irina Ciornei
Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals – IBEI
Michalina Preisner
Universität Bern
Ilay Zehra Yesil
Universität Bern

Abstract
With regulations of life-and-death matters becoming increasingly permissive in Western Europe and thus opposing the belief systems of Christianity and Islam, religious organizations are no longer in a position to enforce religious morality on their members. However, as regulations of abortion and assisted dying presuppose that a variety of collective and individual actors are involved in the implementation process, religious actors have various inroads to become policy stakeholders. An analysis of actions undertaken in these fields by Catholic, Protestant and Islamic organizations in Belgium and Switzerland shows that religious actors are far from resignation. Building on content analysis of legal and political sources as well as in-depth interviews with representatives of religious organizations and faith-based welfare providers, we construe a typology of action that allows comparisons across denominations, church-state regimes and actors. We label this repertoire of action the crusader, the picky and the resilient strategies and we seek to explain how policy ambiguity, resources and belief systems shape these strategies across countries, denominations and policy fields.
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