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Debating The US Church-State Boundary, Then And Now: Virginia As A Case Study

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Chapter Summary

This chapter confirms Jose Casanova's contention that modern secular states have not always treated religious communities with fairness and impartiality. It focuses on the interconnections between the churches and the British and New Zealand state between 1830 and 1870. New Zealand was formally incorporated into the British Empire in 1840, less than a decade after the United Kingdom's constitutional revolution of 1828-1832 eclipsed the old confessional state by giving Protestant dissenters, Roman Catholics, and secularists greater equality and freedom in state and civil society. During the 1830s, New Zealand lay outside the British empire. The Colonial Office was reluctant to incur the cost and trouble of annexing new colonies. In Britain's southernmost colony, racial politics and church-state relations cannot adequately be understood except by taking indigenous religious and political agency seriously and refusing to assume that after the Enlightenment religion simply retreated into the private sphere and political irrelevance.

Keywords:British empire; church-state relations; New Zealand racial politics; secular colonial states



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