CHAPTER TWELVE: CONCLUSIONSLegitimization of the state through religion becomes an extremely complicated and treacherous undertaking in multiconfessional countries. This is even more true in a multiethnic state where ethnicity has been defined, largely or in part, by religion.
"The making and unmaking of Yugoslav states as a case study, in general, and its religious dimension, in particular, offers scholars a kind of "laboratory" in which important findings and conclusions can be made. Here are some of those conclusions."
Multinational States and Legitimacy by ReligionYugoslavia never achieved legitimization from the national churches. Both the Serb Orthodox and Croat Catholic churches desired centralized, "ethnically compact" (Perica's memorable phrase) states with the church as the official or at least de facto state religion. Perica also notes that, whatever the pro-unity sentiments and political leanings of Bosnia's Muslims, there can be little doubt that most Muslim clergy at least dreamed of a Muslim state in the western Balkans. The desire to create a "relgious monopolt" leads to authoritarianism and conflict with neighboring states and other faiths. Perica terms the Balkan variant of this side effect of the theocratic impulse as "ethnoclericalism."
Ethnoclericalism"The concept of ethnoclericalism is the Balkan case's contribution to the recent scholarship dealing with religious fundamentalism, "religious nationalism," and various challenges to the secular state and western liberal though about religion. Key components of ethnoclericalism are the idea of ethnically based nationhood and a "national church" with its clergy entitled to national leadership but never accountable for political blunders as are secular leaders."
Perica notes that "ethnic churches" are "designed as instruments for the survival of ethnic communities." As a result, they require a sense of crisis and the fear of some external threat, real or imagined. They are loath to accommodate "outsiders" or liberal ideas. They favor centralized, authoritarian social and political structures, designed to protect the community from outside threats and maintain the social order under duress. They define the ethnic group as members of the national faith, and for this and the other reasons listed before favor close collaboration with the state. Church and State are not to be separated--they are equal ruling partners.
The clergy of the national churches must be members of the national ethnic group. This is true in Orthodox countries generally, of course--Orthodoxy has a long tradition of church-state synergy. But in Croatia, in modern times, this has also been true of the Catholic church; in Croatia, Croat saints are superior to "foreign" saints just as Serb saints are superior to all "foreign" saints in the Orthodox faith. And Bosnian Islam is also marked by a distinctively Balkan ethnic nationalism not found in most Muslim countries. For all their antagonism, the national churches of the former Yugoslavia are, in some fundamental ways, merely different variations on the same theme.