Religion and morality policy: An analysis of the influence of religious groups in the policy implementation stage (2017-2021)


Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Swiss Research Foundation (SNF)


PIs and Co-PIs: Prof. Dr. Christoph Knill, Prof. Dr. Christian Joppke, Dr. Irina Cironei, Dr. Eva-Maria Euchner.

Team Members:  Olivia Mettang,  Ilay Yesil, Michalina Preisner, Verena Benoit.

Student Assistants: Leonie Reicheneder, Jan Menzner.


The project aims to explore and explain the engagement of religious actors subsequent to morality policy adoption at the implementation stage. Specifically, this includes the activity of Catholic, Protestant and Muslim actors in regard to five morality policies, namely abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, prostitution and religious education and in six different country contexts (Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Great Britain, France and Germany). Apart from new empirical insights, the project provides an innovative theoretical framework for the explanation of the variance of the involvement of religious communities in the implementation phase of morality policies.


Related PhD Projects

  • Olivia Mettang (LMU): Whose agent? Street-level hybridity in the face of conflicting institutional logics. (finished)
  • Michalina Preisner (University of Bern): Religious Freedom and Religious Difference in European Courts.
  • Verena Benoit (University of Bamberg): Promoting or Hindering Social Cohesion? The Role of Religiosity for Attitudes toward Immigrants and Immigration in Europe. (finished)
  • Ilay Yesil (University of Bern): End of Life Policies in Belgium and Switzerland. (finished)



  • Mettang, O, Euchner, E-M, Fischer, L & Menzner, J. (2023): Securing Moral Authority: A cross-national analysis of protestant engagement in the implementation of morality policies in Western Europe. Voluntas (online first).

  • Mettang, O & Euchner, E-M (2022): Christian churches and social welfare in secular times: How goal congruence shapes religious involvement in morality-based social services. Politics & Religion 16(2): 266-285.

  • Ciornei,I , Euchner, E-M, Yesil, I & Preisner, M (2022): Regulatory intermediaries and value conflicts in policy implementation: Religious organizations and life-and-death policies in Belgium. Regulation & Governance (online first)
  • Ciornei, I , Euchner, E-M & Yesil, I (2021): Political parties and Muslims in Europe: the regulation of Islam in public education. West European Politics (online first). ***WINNER Gordon Smith and Vincent Wright Memorial Prize 2022***

Blog posts:

****OTHER NEWS****



23 July 2020

After some very busy weeks, we had our last virtual project meeting before the summer break. We are on a very good way with our book project! Keep on going and have some relaxed holidays!!

21 July 2020

Many thanks goes to Prof. Dr. Willems for joining my MA-seminar on "Religion & Politik" today! His reflections on "Religionspolitik heute" were very inspiring, also for our research project.


14 July 2020

Many thanks goes to Anika Rehorn, who joined our "Religion & Politics"-course today and shared her experience on working and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic in her job as female and young Protestant priest. We learned a lot about digitization processes and related challenges within the Protestant Church in Germany. Thanks!


1 May 2020

We are happy to welcome our new colleague, Verena Benoit, who joint the German team in Munich!!


15 March 2020

Unfortunately, we had to chancel our project meeting in Barcelona but started to meet and work virtually via Zoom.


1 February 2020

Congratulation to Ilay, who was accepted as research affiliate at the New York University and got funding from the SNF to finalize her PhD thesis!


25 January 2020

Looking forward to the up-coming SVPW Conference in Luzern and the Panel "Religion and Political Conflict across European Nation-States", where I am going to present a paper titled "Hearts and minds at stake: How religious organizations sustain moral authority in secular regulatory states". Thanks, Antonius Liedhegener, for putting this together!


9 January 2020

Please pass by at our expert talk with PfarrerIn Ulrich und Marlies Gampert on the topic "Kirchenasyl ein Instrument der Flüchtlingspolitik?". It will take place next Wednesday, 15th of January at 16:15 in room D Z003, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, Hauptgebäude LMU.


5 January 2020

Unfortunately, our colleague, Lisa Riedel, left our team. We wish her all the best for her new job offer at the Hochschule Kempten!


Related teaching activities


Winter Term 2020

  • Summer School "CARE" (BA/MA course, LMU, E.-M. Euchner/ Olivia Mettang)
  • Das Verhältnis von Religion und Politik in Theorie und Empirie (BA course, LMU V. Benoit)
  • Einführung in die Religionssoziologie (BA-Proseminar, University of Bern, M. Preisner)

Summer Term 2020

  • Religion & Politik (MA course, LMU, E.-M. Euchner/ Olivia Mettang)
  • Migrationspolitik (BA course, LMU, V. Benoit)
  • Du sollst (nicht)... - Religiosität als Determinante von Einstellungen?! (BA course, University of Bamberg, V. Benoit)

Winter Term 2019

  • Christliche Kirchen und Politik (MA course, LMU, E.-M. Euchner with support of O. Mettang)

Summer Term 2019

  • Religion & Politik (MA course, LMU, E.-M. Euchner with support of O. Mettang)
  • Moralpolitik in vergleichender Perspektive in Europa  (BA course, LMU E.-M. Euchner)

Winter Term 2018

  • Moral Regulation of Society (Seminar, University of Bern, M. Preisner/ I. Yesil)

Summer Term 2018

  • Morality and Religion (Proseminar, University of Bern, M. Preisner/ I. Yesil)

Talks, conferences and panel organization



  • Paper to present "Agents of change: How social workers act as institutional entrepreneurs in public policy implementation," ECPR General Conference 2020, Innbruck. (O. Mettang),
  • Paper to present "Hearts and minds at stake: How religious organizations sustain moral authority in secular regulatory states", ECPR General Conference 2020, Innbruck. (O. Mettang, E.-M. Euchner)
  • Paper to present ""Hearts and minds at stake: How religious organizations sustain moral authority in secular regulatory states", AK Religion und Politik Tagung 2020, Berlin. (E.-M. Euchner)


  • Paper presented "Hearts and minds at stake: How religious organizations sustain moral authority in secular regulatory states" at the SVPW Conference in Luzern, February 2020 (E.-M. Euchner)
  • Paper presented: “Crusade or resilience? Religious actors and the implementation of life-and-death policies in Belgium and Switzerland“, EGPA Annual Conference, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 11.09-13.09.2019 (M. Preisner)
  • Section Chair "Religion in a secular age: pattern, dynamics and consequences"ECPR General Conference in Wroclaw, September 4-7, 2019 (E-M. Euchner)
  • Paper presented "Intra-Institutional loyality? The role of institutional logics during street-level implementation of morality policy", ECPR Genderal Conference, Wroclaw, September 4-7, 2019 (O. Mettang)
  • Paper presented: "Faith-Based Organisations and Welfare States: A cross-country analysis of religious engagement in the provision of value-loaded social services", ECPR General Conference, Wroclaw, September 4-7, 2019 (O. Mettang, L. Riedel, E.-M. Euchner)
  • Paper presented: „Muted, Buzzing or Crusading? Religious Actors and Policy Ambiguity in Switzerland and Belgium”, ECPR General Conference, Wrocław, Poland, 4.09-7.09.2019 (M. Preisner, Ilay Yesil)
  • Paper presented “Crusade or Resilience? Religious Actors and The Implementation of Life-and-Death Policies in Belgium and Switzerland”,  2019 International Workshop on Promoting Activism and Policy Entrepreneurship Among Street Level Bureaucrats – Research Workshop of the Israel Science Foundation, University of Haifa, Israel, 13.05-15.05.2019. (I. Ciornei, M. Preisner, I. Yesil)
  • Panel Chair "New challenges of welfare states in (il)liberal times: How policy ambiguity promotes third-sector engagement in policy implementation" at the 3-Ländertagung in Zurich, 14-16 February 2019. (E.-M. Euchner)
  • Paper presented: “Crusade or Resilience? Religious Actors and The Implementation of Life-and-Death Policies in Belgium and Switzerland”, Three Countries Congress SPSA/DVPW/ÖGPW in Zürich, 14.02-16.02.2019 (M. Preisner,  Ilay Yesil)
  • Invited talk "Macht, Moral und Religion: Regulierung von moralpolitischen Fragen in säkularen Zeiten", University of Tübingen, 21 November 2018. (E.-M. Euchner)
  • Paper presented: "Policy implementation a playground for losers of decision-making?" DVPW Conference, Frankfurt, 26-28 September 2018. (E-M. Euchner, O. Mettang)
  • Paper presented: "Policy implementation a playground for losers of decision-making?" ECPR General Conference, Hamburg, 22-25 August 2018. (E-M. Euchner, O. Mettang)
  • Paper presented: „Religious Communities’ Governance and Engagement in Belgium, France and Switzerland“, ECPR General Conference in Hamburg, 22.08-25.08.2018 (M. Preisner, Ilay Yesil)
  • Paper presented:  "Morality policy implementation in two German states"  ECPR Joint Sessions Workshop in Nicosia,  10-14 April 2018. (E-M. Euchner, O. Mettang)