Politicising the Saint: Far Right and the Appropriation of National Saints

    • Cover Photo
    • Presentation speakers
      • Charlotte Mears, Kingston University, UK


    This paper seeks to examine the ongoing process of politicising National Saints by far-right groups. Through linking the historical past of saints, specifically those that figure prominently within the identities of countries, far-right groups have sought to co-op the actions and values of individual saints and religion into a form of self-ideology. This has given rise to an intrinsic linking of far right, particularly anti-immigration, and chauvinistic policy with that of well known figures of public and national pride. These connections have given legitimacy to the far-right, through the linking of religious, canonised bodies being accepted as embodying the policies and beliefs of the right. The most studied example of this phenomenon can be seen in the figure of Joan of Arc and the co-option of her identity by the French far-right political party ‘National Rally’. This paper would seek to examine other cases of this creed, such as St George and his association with the EDL and St Leo with the Austrian far right. Through a broader analysis of these trends it will be possible to understand what the right aims to and has gained from this homogenising of these religious figures and how this relates to religious identities within Europe.