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Full Access Separation of Religion and State in Stable Christian Democracies: Fact or Myth?

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Separation of Religion and State in Stable Christian Democracies: Fact or Myth?

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This study compares separation of religion and state (SRAS) as it is conceived in theory with its realization in practice in 40 stable Christian democracies between 1990 and 2008 based on data from the Religion and State Round 2 dataset. There is no agreement in the literature on how SRAS ought to be conceived. Many scholars argue that SRAS is a necessary condition for liberal democracies. The present study examines four models of SRAS found in the literature, and a non-SRAS model that addresses the appropriate role of religion in democracies: secularism-laicism, absolute SRAS, neutral political concern, exclusion of ideals, and acceptable support for religion. The study analyzes three factors: (a) whether the state supports one or some religions more than others; (b) the extent of religious legislation; and (c) restrictions on the religious practices and institutions of religious minorities. The analysis shows that depending on the definition of SRAS used, between zero and eight of the 40 countries practice SRAS. Based on this finding, I conclude that either SRAS is not a necessary condition for liberal democracy or many states commonly considered to be liberal democracies are not.

1. fn11 A. Stepan, “Religion, Democracy, and the ‘Twin Tolerations’”, 11(4) Journal of Democracy 37, 39–40 (2000).
2. fn22 J. Rawls, Political Liberalism, 151 (1993).
3. fn33 See also N.J. Demerath III, Crossing the Gods: World Religions and Worldly Politics, 2 (2001); T.S. Shah, “Making the Christian World Safe for Liberalism: From Grotius to Rawls”, 71(s1) The Political Quarterly 121–139 (2000).
4. fn44 H. Fradkin, “Does Democracy Need Religion?” 11(1) Journal of Democracy 87, 90-91 (2000).
5. fn55 Ibid. at 88.
6. fn66 J. Wach, “The Role of Religion in the Social Philosophy of Alex De Tocqueville”, 7(1) Journal of the History of Ideas 74, 90 (1946).
7. fn77 K. Greenawalt, Religious Convictions and Political Choice, 49, 55 (1988).
8. fn88 V. Bader, “Religious Pluralism: Secularism or Priority for Democracy”, 27(5) Political Theory 597–633 (1999).
9. fn99 W. Cole Durham Jr., “Perspectives on Religious Liberty: A Comparative Framework”, in J.D. Van Der Vyver & J. Witte Jr. (eds.), Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective: Legal Perspectives, 1, 19 (1996).
10. fn1010 S.V. Mazie, “Rethinking Religious Establishment and Liberal Democracy: Lessons From Israel”, 2(2) Brandywine Review of Faith and International Affairs 3–12 (2004); see also S.V. Mazie, Israel’s Higher Law: Religion and Liberal Democracy in the Jewish State (2006).
11. fn1111 M.D. Driessen, “Religion. State and Democracy: Analyzing Two Dimensions of Church-State Arrangements”, 3 Politics and Religion 55–80 (Apr. 2010).
12. fn1212 D. Marquand & R.L. Nettler, “Forward”, 71 (Supplement 1) The Political Quarterly 1–4 (2000).
13. fn1313 See J. Casanova, “The Secular and Secularisms”, 76(4) Social Research 1049, 1058 (2009); see also J. Fox, A World Survey of Religion and the State (2008).
14. fn1414 See Fox, supra note 12; see also Stepan, supra note 1, at 41–43.
15. fn1515 See J.S. Mill, “Considerations on Representative Government”, in Utilitarianism, Liberty, and Representative Government, 46 (1951); D.L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict, 86 (1985).
16. fn1616 A. Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies (1997).
17. fn1717 Mazie, supra note 10 (2004).
18. fn1818 Driessen, supra note 11.
19. fn1919 See supra text accompanying notes 10–11.
20. fn2020 See A.T. Kuru, “Passive and Assertive Secularism: Historical Conditions, Ideological Struggles, and State Policies Toward Religion”, 59(4) World Politics 568–594 (2006); see also E.S. Hurd, “The Political Authority of Secularism in International Relations”, 10(2) European Journal of International Relations 235–262 (2004a); see also E.S. Hurd, “The International Politics of Secularism: US Foreign Policy and the Islamic Republic of Iran”, 29(2) Alternatives 115–138 (2004b); see also J. Haynes, “Religion, Secularisation, and Politics: A Postmodern Conspectus”, 18(4) Third World Quarterly 709–728 (1997); see also J. Keane, “Secularism?” 71(s1) The Political Quarterly 5–19 (2000); see also Stepan, supra note 1; see also Durham, supra note 9, at 21–22; see also C.H. Esbeck, “A Typology of Church-State Relations in American Thought”, 15(1) Religion and Public Education 43–50 (1988).
21. fn2121 Law #2004-228 of March 15, 2004 concerning, as an application of the principle of the separation of church and state, the wearing of symbols or garb which show religious affiliation in public primary and secondary schools.
22. fn2222 J. Fox, “Do Democracies Have Separation of Religion and State?” 40(01) Canadian Journal of Political Science 1–25 (2007); see also Fox, supra note 12 (2008).
23. fn2323 J.T.S. Madeley, “European Liberal Democracy and the Principle of State Religious Neutrality”, 26(1) West European Politics 1–22 (2003).
24. fn2424 J. Raz, The Morality of Religious Freedom (1986).
25. fn2525 See Esbeck, supra note 19; see also Kuru, supra note 19.
26. fn2626 Ibid. Kuru.
27. fn2727 Esbeck, supra note 19.
28. fn2828 Ibid. 45.
29. fn2929 Madeley, supra note 21, at 5–6.
30. fn3030 Ibid. 6.
31. fn3131 For a discussion of what types of state support for religion can violate the principle of state neutrality toward religion see, cf. Driessen, supra note 11; see also Mazie, supra note 10. For a review of the Western intellectual history of the concept of separation of religion and state see D. Laycock, “The Underlying Unity of Separation and Neutrality”, 46 Emory L. J. 43–75 (1997); see also J. Witte Jr., “Facts and Fictions About the History of Separation of Church and State”, 48(1) Journal of Church And State 15–45 (2006).
32. fn3232 Mazie, supra note 10
33. fn3333 Driessen, supra note 11.
34. fn3434 Supra P. 1.
35. fn3535 Stepan, supra note 1, at 39–40.
36. fn3636 For more on the Polity dataset see K. Jaggers & T.R. Gurr, “Tracking Democracy’s Third Wave with the Polity III Data”, 32(4) Journal of Peace Research 469–482 (1995); see also The Polity Project (October 28, 2011), http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/polity4.htm.
37. fn3737 The scale is as follows: 0- Not significantly restricted for any minorities; 1- The activity is slightly restricted for some minorities; 2- The activity is slightly restricted for most or all minorities or sharply restricted for some of them; 3- The activity is prohibited or sharply restricted for most or all minorities.
38. fn3838 The RAS2 dataset has a variable measuring restrictions placed on all religions, but this variable is not analyzed in the present study.
39. fn3939 This focus on national level behavior and government policy is similar to other major data collections on religion and human rights, such as B.J. Grim & R. Finke, The Price of Freedom Denied (2011); and D.L. Cingranelli & D.L. Richards, The Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Database (1 July 2006), http://ciri.binghamton.edu.
40. fn4040 Fox, supra note 12 (2008).
41. fn4141 Available at: Ras, http://www.religionandstate.org/ (last visited Sep. 20, 2011).
42. fn4242 For further discussion of the dataset and its variable structure see Fox, supra note 20 (2008).
43. fn4343 US Department of State International Religious Freedom Report 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, available athttp://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2008/108437.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011); Denial of Spiritual Assistance to Prisoners Not Professing a State-Recognized Religion, Human Rights without Frontiers, http://www.hrwf.net/ (Aug. 28, 2011, 23:51).
44. fn4444 R. Uitz, Aiming for State Neutrality in Matters of Religion: The Hungarian Record, (US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Country Reports on International Religious Freedom 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009: Hungary), Available at:http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/index.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011).
45. fn4545 US State Department Report on Religious Freedom, 2003 to 2008, available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2004/127321.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011).
46. fn4646 Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), June 26, 2008.
47. fn4747 International Coalition for Religious Freedom, “Brazil” (2009), available athttp://www.religiousfreedom.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=118&Itemid=292 (last updated Sep. 7, 2011, 15:54).
48. fn4848 Department of State International Religious Freedom Report, supra note 40.
49. fn4949 US Department of State Report on Religious Freedom, 2006, 2007, 2008, available athttp://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2006/71410.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011); see also Andrew Higgins, “In Europe, God is (Not) Dead”, The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2007.
50. fn5050 US Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, available athttp://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2003/24523.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011).
51. fn5151 Department of State Report on Religious Freedom, 2002–2008, available athttp://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2006/71410.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011); “Church Tax” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_tax; Human Rights without Frontiers, http://www.hrwf.net/ (Aug. 28, 2011, 23:51); C. Celsing, Are Swedes Losing Their Religion? Human Rights in Belgium Annual Report, available athttp://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Work-live/Society-welfare/Reading/Are-Swedes-losing-their-religion/ (Sep. 1, 2006); T.R. Reid, “Sweden Separates Church, State”, The Washington Post (December 30, 2000).
52. fn5252 U.S Department of State Religious Freedom Report, 2007, available athttp://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90175.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011).
53. fn5353 Financing of Islam: When Public Powers Circumvent the Sacred Principal of Laicite, Human Rights Without Frontiers, available atwww.hrwf.net(Apr. 21, 2009).
54. fn5454 Ibid.
55. fn5555 Pope Statue Goes Up in France Despite Protests, Human Rights Without Frontiers, available atwww.hrwf.net (Dec. 4, 2006).
56. fn5656 Mazie, supra note 10 (2004; 2006).
57. fn5757 Fox, supra note 10.
58. fn5858 M. Minkenberg, “Religion and Public Policy: Institutional, Cultural, and Political Impact on the Shaping of Abortion Policies in Western Democracies”, 35(2) Comparative Political Studies 221–247 (2002).
59. fn5959 Mazie, supra note 10 (2004; 2006).
60. fn6060 Driessen, supra note 11.
61. fn6161 US Department of State Report on Religious Freedom, 2008, 2009, available athttp://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2009/71383.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011).
62. fn6262 Department of State International Religious Freedom Report, supra note 40, at 10.
63. fn6363 Reuters, Austria’s Haider Says to Ban Mosque Building, Human Rights without Frontiers, available athttp://www.hrwf.net (July 27, 2007); Austrian People’s Party opposes construction of mosques, immigration, BBC Monitoring Europe (July 9, 2007).
64. fn6464 US State Department Report on Human Rights, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, available athttp://www.state.g0v/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78842.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011); “Switzerland: Europe’s Heart of Darkness?”, The Independent (Sep. 7, 2007); E. Engeler, Swiss Nationalists Force Referendum on Minaret Ban, Human Rights Without Frontiers, available atwww.hrwf.net (July 8, 2008).
65. fn6565 Department of State International Religious Freedom Report, supra note 40.
66. fn6666 State Department Report on Religious Freedom, 2006, available athttp://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2006/71377.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011); A. Browne, “Denmark to Curb Muslim Preachers”, The London Times, February 19, 2004.
67. fn6767 J. Duin, “US to Allow Wiccan Symbols on Military Graves”, The Washington Times, Apr. 24, 2007.
68. fn6868 US Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, available athttp://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2003/24504.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011).
69. fn6969 An English translation of this report is available at http://www.cftf.com/french/Les_Sectes_en_France/cults.html (last visited Sep. 20, 2011).
70. fn7070 Fox, supra note 12 (2008); see also B.J. Grim & R. Finke, “International Religion Indexes: Government Regulation, Government Favoritism, and Social Regulation of Religion”, 2(1) Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 1, 33–36 (2006); see also Kuru, supra note 19.
71. fn7171 US Department of State Religious Freedom Report, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, available athttp://www.state.gov/g/drl/irf/rpt/ (last visited Sep. 20, 2011); France Moves to Outlaw Cults, BBC News Europe, June 22, 2000; Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, Religioustolerance.org (Oct. 24, 2004), http://www.religioustolerance.org/rt_franc.htm; Public Controversy About Miviludes, Human Rights Without Frontiers, available atwww.hrwf.net (Oct. 17, 2007); Religious Discrimination in France: CAP submission regarding the appointment of Mr. Georges Fenech as President of MIVILUDES, Human Rights without Frontiers, available atwww.hrwf.net (Oct. 7, 2008), MIVILUDES 2006 Report to the Prime Minister, available atwww.miviludes.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Report_Miviludes_2006.pdf (last visited Sep. 20, 2011).
72. fn7272 International Coalition for Religious Freedom, World Reports, available athttp://www.religiousfreedom.com/; The Institute on Religion and Public Policy Denounces Defamation of Religion in Belgium at the UN, Human Rights without Frontiers, available atwww.hrwf.net (last visited Sep. 20, 2011); Ibid. Human Rights, Defamation of Religions in Belgium; Institute Report to UN Details Systematic Religious Discrimination in Belgium, International Christian Concern, available atwww.persecution.org (last visited Sep. 20, 2011).
73. fn7373 US State Department Report on Religious Freedom, 2006, 2007,2008, available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2006/127312.htm (last visited Sep. 20, 2011); Munich Closes Scientologist Day-Care Center, Spiegel Online International, February 26, 2008 http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,537953,00.html.
74. fn7474 J. Cesari, When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States (2004).
75. fn7575 European Studies on Religion and State Interaction, “State and Church in Germany”, January 2008, http://www.euresisnet.eu/Pages/ReligionAndState/GERMANY.aspx; Germany’s Hijab Ban Discriminatory: HRW, February 26, 2009 http://www.hrw.org/news/2009/02/26/germany-headscarf-bans-violate-rights DPA, “German court Upholds Headscarf Ban”, December 10, 2007, http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1235628698092&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout.
76. fn7676 Mazie, supra note 10.
77. fn7777 Driessen, supra note 11.
78. fn7878 See supra p. 3.
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/content/journals/10.1163/221248112x638145
2012-01-01
2015-07-28

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Studies, Bar Ilan University, E-mail: Jonathan.Fox@biu.ac.il

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