Politika un reliģija: Latvijas garīdznieku politiskā uzvedība (2002-2012)

Translated title of the contribution: Politics and Religion: Political Behaviour of Clergy in Latvia (2002-2012)

Simona Gurbo

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


The title of this thesis is “Politics and Religion: The Political Behaviour of Clergy in Latvia (2002-2012)”. Church and state relations have witnessed significant and dynamic changes in the 20th century. Despite secularisation processes, the church continues to perform many important functions in the society. Historical analysis of political activity of Latvian clergy shows that during the pre-war period clergy accounted for approximately 10% of the total number of elected MPs (38 clergy members) in the Latvian Constitutional Assembly and in the first four Parliaments. Since independence, the total number of elected clergy members as MPs has decreased to 1.4%. Clergy continue to communicate their opinions through the media regarding processes which take place in the society, thus sometimes also expressing their political views. Since the Republic of Latvia is a secular state, it sometimes creates debates about the issue of separation of church and state. The aim of this thesis, however, is to examine this issue in the context of religion and politics by analysing the socio-political behaviour of clergy in Latvia. The doctoral thesis is based on the research and theories put forward by US and European political scientists regarding clergy political behaviour– most notably James Guth, Ted Jelen, Lyman Kellstedt and John Green. Based on their research the theoretical framework is set for the study of clergy behaviour in Latvia. Empirical research and analysis of periodicals reveals that the political activity of clergy in Latvia is enhanced whenever issues that are at the top of the agenda of the church are at stake, most notably the following: Christian values and family values (often opposed to sexual minority issues), education issues (religious education in schools), national issues (integration and unity of the society). Quantitative study carried out for this thesis shows that neither church location, nor clergy denomination have an impact on their socio-political activity, as political participation levels are similar to the clergy of all denominations, except for Catholic and Adventist clergy, who demonstrate slightly lower levels. Most notable differences can be observed when clergy political behaviour is analysed according to their age group, as clergy aged 31-46 demonstrate higher levels of political behaviour. Individual members of the clergy demonstrate very active political views and actions thus resulting in high levels of political participation and a particular political behaviour, but this cannot necessarily be viewed as political canvassing. In addition, it must be noted that the number of such cases is proportionally marginal and may be viewed as sporadic, rather than as a constant phenomenon in the churches in Latvia.
Translated title of the contributionPolitics and Religion: Political Behaviour of Clergy in Latvia (2002-2012)
Original languageLatvian
  • Kreituse, Ilga, First/Primary/Lead supervisor
Place of PublicationRiga
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Doctoral Thesis

Field of Science*

  • 5.6 Political science

Publication Type*

  • 4. Doctoral Thesis


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