T​he Word of God Comes into the Voting Booth

The Word of God Comes into the Voting Booth. Church Attendance and Political Involvement in East Central Europe during the Early 1990s

Bogdan Radu

In Polish Sociological Review 2013, Vol 4 (184), pp. 451-465

In this research I explore the effect of religious denomination and belonging on political participation in former communist countries of East Central Europe after the fall of communism. In the early 1990s, mostly as a response to forced secularization during communism, authors heralded a massive religious revival in the countries formerly belonging to the Eastern Bloc. In this paper I show that the re-discovery of God and church was not equally popular in all countries. Moreover, I explore the links between religious participation and political participation and I find no uniform transnational effect of denomination. Rather, the Eurobarometer survey data from the early 1990s suggests that the ways in which religious believing and belonging influence political participation at the beginning of democratization is context driven. Indeed, one of the strengths of this paper resides in my attempt to capture the religious context in post-communist Europe shortly after its collapse. I thus contribute to a better understanding of how religious and political involvement are intertwined during early transition in East Central Europe. In the conclusion, I advocate the need for adequately taking context into consideration, especially given its dynamic and multi-faceted nature.