Norwegian christian leaders: The term ‘Christian Values’ is divisive and useless
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionReligions. 2020, 11 (10), 1-18 10.3390/rel11100524
Church leaders and politicians in several countries make frequent references to Christian values as part of a rhetoric of dividing between wanted and unwanted view and practices. Hence, even more than a source for division between adherents of different faiths, religion divides adherents of the same faith when identifying the core of religion. The article presents findings from a survey and focus group interviews with five groups of Norwegian Christian leaders: church leaders, bishops and deans from the Church of Norway, as well as leaders in mission organization and diaconal foundations. The informants are generally very hospitable towards immigrants, not particularly skeptical of Islam, and highly skeptical of politicians applying the term ‘Christian values’ for protectionist purposes. While distancing themselves from the term ‘Christian values’, informants have a clear understanding of what these values encompass. These attitudes mirror the major attitudes among the so-called church-going Norwegians in the Pew report, “Being Christian in Western Europe”, having higher appreciation of both Islam and immigration than the other groups of informants. The article proceeds by explaining and contextualizing, including how the churches have promoted conviviality in diverse societies and whether the leaders are willing to act when Christianity is applied to legitimize nativism.