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A cross-national comparison of approaches to religious diversity: Canada, France and the United States

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is grounded in an understanding of the permeability of relationship between public and private. The approaches to diversity and religion in western culture are case studies of France, Canada and the United States. The United States has constitutionally protected religious freedom and constitutionally separated church and state. France has a historically complex strategy for managing religious diversity through the conceptual lens of laïcité, implemented as part of the Revolutionary reaction to the hold of the Catholic Church on the French nation-state and its citizens. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes a number of provisions that refer to religion, in which Canada was founded on the "supremacy of God and the rule of law". The negotiation of difference is a core issue in Canadian public life. Canada has the challenge of balancing the interests of many religious traditions in a manner that is truly egalitarian.

Keywords: Canada; Charter of Rights and Freedoms; France; laïcité; religious diversity; United States



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