Democracy, Dutch Politics, Religion and Politics

Paper presentation ‘Creed or Structure? Christian Democratic Vision and Attitudes towards Liberal Democracy’

Participating in a workshop on ‘Christian Democratic Ideology and Programmatic Development, 1945-2000’ at the KU Leuven. The workshop is organized by Civitas, a newly formed Forum of Archives and Research on Christian Democracy.

My own paper is entitled ‘Creed or Structure? Christian Democratic Vision and Attitudes towards Liberal Democracy’.

The abstract of the paper reads as follows:

‘The current paper asks the question to what extent one can (still) speak of a Christian Democratic ideology and identity and a distinct political program, also with respect to liberal democracy. It defines liberal democracy for this purpose as comprising the basic principles of individual rights and government by consent of the people.

In so far as it will conclude that Christian Democracy has come to accept modern liberal democracy wholeheartedly, the paper will critically reflect on this ideological and programmatic development. It will be argued that the pressing question is whether, and to what extent, Christian Democracy and modern liberal democracy are indeed as compatible as the ideological and programmatic developments in Christian Democratic parties between 1945 and 2000 seem to suggest.

For this purpose, the paper considers Confucian constitutionalism, the book Christian Faith and Modern Democracy, and finally the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church as contrasts.’

For more information on Civitas, and the workshop, see

For reports on the workshop, see