The Lega Nord
The Lega Nord (LN—Northern League) presents us with a very clear example of a right-wing populist party which has used religion to define both ‘the people’ and ‘the others’. This has been particularly the case since the turn of the twenty-first century, with the LN consistently casting itself as the saviour of a culturally Catholic northern Italian ‘people’ which is said to be under threat, from below, by Muslim immigrants seeking to dominate the native population and, from above, by secular elites at national and supranational levels who do not respect the traditions or identities of the people and instead privilege the rights of ‘others’. Compounding matters, with the exception of some individual clergymen, the Church—according to the Lega—has too often sided with elites and ‘the others’ against the people, leaving the party as the sole constant defender (and saviour) of ordinary northern Italians.
Saving the People: How Populists Hijack Religion
Comparative Government and Politics