Politics in Minutes (2016)

Christian democracy

In Europe and Latin America, the Catholic church, and to a lesser extent the Protestant churches of northern Europe, have long been a central pillar of community cohesion. Christian teachings have been influential in the social policies of conservative parties, tempering modern ideas of democracy with religious conservatism. A number of centre-right movements define themselves as Christian Democrats, adopting a generally liberal stance on economic policies, but a more traditional attitude towards social, cultural and particularly moral issues. Social conservatism is what marks European parties, such as the German Christian Democratic Union, from the left-of-centre social democrat parties. In Catholic countries, especially in Latin America, however, Christian Democracy tends to be much more right-wing on social issues. In the USA and Britain there is no formal link in the form of a specifically Christian Democrat party, and in strictly secular states such as France the movement is virtually non-existent.