Separation of church and state

Separation of church and state
Separation of church and state around the world.
  States with no state religions
  States with state religions
  Ambiguous or without data

The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state. The term is an offshoot of the phrase, "wall of separation between church and state," as written in Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. The original text reads: "... I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." Jefferson reflected his frequent speaking theme that the government is not to interfere with religion.[1] The phrase was quoted by the United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1947. The phrase "separation of church and state" itself does not appear in the United States Constitution. The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Prior to 1947, however, these provisions were not considered to apply at the state level; indeed in the 1870s and 1890s unsuccessful attempts were made to amend the constitution to accomplish this, but it was accomplished by judicial decision in 1947.[2][3]

The concept of separation has since been adopted in a number of countries, to varying degrees depending on the applicable legal structures and prevalent views toward the proper role of religion in society. A similar but typically stricter principle of laïcité has been applied in France and Turkey, while some socially secularized countries such as Norway, Denmark and the UK have maintained constitutional recognition of an official state religion. The concept parallels various other international social and political ideas, including secularism, disestablishment, religious liberty, and religious pluralism. Whitman (2009) observes that in many European countries, the state has, over the centuries, taken over the social roles of the church, leading to a generally secularized public sphere.[4]


History of the concept and term

Ancient history

Ancient history is replete with examples of the mixing and melding of Church and state. Typically a successful ruler or king would assume various "priestly" titles, in addition to the "temporal" titles that such a position tended to confer. Some examples of this certain Church-state mixing and melding are: the execution of Socrates, whereby Socrates was sentenced to death by the Athenian state for among other things, "his disrespect for the Gods", the claim of many of the ancient Judean kings to rule with a mandate from Heaven, or the Edict of Thessalonica, whereby Christianity was officially made the state religion of the Roman Empire.

Late antiquity

One of the first important contributors to the discussion concerning the proper relationship between Church and state was St. Augustine, who in The City of God, Book XIX, Chapter 17, began an examination of the ideal relationship between the "earthly city" and the "city of God". In this work, Augustine posited that major points of overlap were to be found between the "earthly city" and the "city of God", especially as people need to live together and get along on earth. Thus Augustine held that it was the work of the "temporal city" to make it possible for a "heavenly city" to be established on earth.[5]

Medieval Europe

For centuries, monarchs ruled by the idea of divine right. Sometimes this began to be used by a monarch to support the notion that the king ruled both his own kingdom and Church within its boundaries, a theory known as caesaropapism. On the other side was the Catholic doctrine that the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ on earth, should have the ultimate authority over the Church, and indirectly over the state. Moreover, throughout the Middle Ages the Pope claimed the right to depose the Catholic kings of Western Europe and tried to exercise it, sometimes successfully (see the investiture controversy, below), sometimes not, such as was the case with Henry VIII of England and Henry III of Navarre.[6]

In the West, the issue of the separation of church and state during the medieval period centered on monarchs who ruled in the secular sphere but encroached on the Church's rule of the spiritual sphere. This unresolved contradiction in ultimate control of the Church led to power struggles and crises of leadership, notably in the Investiture Controversy, which was resolved in the Concordat of Worms in 1122. By this concordat, the Emperor renounced the right to invest ecclesiastics with ring and crosier, the symbols of their spiritual power, and guaranteed election by the canons of cathedral or abbey and free consecration.[7]


At the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther articulated a doctrine of the two kingdoms. According to James Madison, perhaps one of the most important modern proponents of the separation of church and state, Luther's doctrine of the two kingdoms marked the beginning of the modern conception of separation of church and state.[8]

In the 1530s Henry VIII, angered by the Catholic Church's refusal to annul his marriage with his wife Catherine of Aragon, decided to break with the Church and set himself as ruler of the new Church of England, the Anglican Church, ending the separation that had existed[citation needed] between Church and State in England.[9]

United States

John Locke, English political philosopher argued for individual conscience, free from state control

The concept of separating church and state is often credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704).[10] According to his principle of the social contract, Locke argued that the government lacked authority in the realm of individual conscience, as this was something rational people could not cede to the government for it or others to control. For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority. These views on religious tolerance and the importance of individual conscience, along with his social contract, became particularly influential in the American colonies and the drafting of the United States Constitution.[11]

The concept was implicit in the flight of Roger Williams from religious oppression in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to found the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations on the principle of state neutrality in matters of faith.[12][13]

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, whose letter to the Danbury Baptists Association is often quoted in debates regarding the separation of church and state.

The Treaty of Tripoli

In 1797, the United States Senate ratified a treaty with Tripoli that stated in Article 11:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.[14]

According to Frank Lambert, Professor of History at Purdue University, the assurances in Article 11 were "intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. President John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers."[15]

Supporters of the separation of church and state argue that this treaty, which was ratified by the Senate, confirms that the government of the United States was specifically intended to be religiously neutral.[16] The treaty was submitted by President Adams and unanimously ratified by the Senate.

Advocates of a Christian America that treaties only apply to the federal government, not the entire nation.[17]

The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine

The Age of Reason is a deistic pamphlet, written by eighteenth-century British radical and American revolutionary Thomas Paine, that criticizes institutionalized religion and challenges the legitimacy of the Bible. Published in three parts in 1794, 1795, and 1807, it was a bestseller in America, where it caused a short-lived deistic revival. British audiences, however, fearing increased political radicalism as a result of the French Revolution, received it with more hostility. The Age of Reason presents common deistic arguments; for example, it highlights what Paine saw as corruption of the Christian Church and criticizes its efforts to acquire political power. Paine advocates reason in the place of revelation, leading him to reject miracles and to view the Bible as an ordinary piece of literature rather than as a divinely inspired text. It promotes natural religion and argues for a creator-God.

Age of Reason WikiSource

Use of the phrase

The phrase "separation of church and state" is derived from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Baptists from Danbury, Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper soon thereafter. In that letter, referencing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Jefferson writes:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.[18]

Another early user of the term was James Madison, the principal drafter of the United States Bill of Rights. In a 1789 debate in the House of Representatives regarding the draft of the First Amendment, the following was said:

August 15, 1789. Mr. [Peter] Sylvester [of New York] had some doubts...He feared it [the First Amendment] might be thought to have a tendency to abolish religion altogether...Mr. [Elbridge] Gerry [of Massachusetts] said it would read better if it was that "no religious doctrine shall be established by law."...Mr. [James] Madison [of Virginia] said he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that "Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law."...[T]he State[s]...seemed to entertain an opinion that under the clause of the enabled them [Congress] to make laws of such a nature as might...establish a national religion; to prevent these effects he presumed the amendment was intended...Mr. Madison thought if the word "National" was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen...He thought if the word "national" was introduced, it would point the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent.[19]

Madison contended "Because if Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body."[20] Several years later he wrote of "total separation of the church from the state."[21] "Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States", Madison wrote,[22] and he declared, "practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States."[23] In a letter to Edward Livingston Madison further expanded, "We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt."[24] This attitude is further reflected in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, originally authored by Jefferson and championed by Madison, and guaranteeing that no one may be compelled to finance any religion or denomination.

... no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.[25]

Under the United States Constitution, the treatment of religion by the government is broken into two clauses: the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. Both are discussed in regard to whether certain state actions would amount to an impermissible government establishment of religion.

The phrase was also mentioned in an eloquent letter written by President John Tyler on July 10, 1843.[26]

The United States Supreme Court has referenced the separation of church and state metaphor more than 25 times, though not always fully embracing the principle.[27] In Reynolds, the Court denied the free exercise claims of Mormons in the Utah territory who claimed polygamy was an aspect of their religious freedom. The Court used the phrase again by Justice Hugo Black in 1947 in Everson. The term has been used and defended heavily by the Court, but is not unanimously held. In a minority opinion in Wallace v. Jaffree, Justice Rehnquist presented the view that the establishment clause was intended to protect local establishments of religion from federal interference. Justice Scalia has criticized the metaphor as a bulldozer removing religion from American public life.[28]

Pledge of Allegiance

The original 1892 text of the Pledge of Allegiance of the United States by Francis Bellamy read as: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. The phrase "under God" was added in 1954.[29] However, the Pledge itself was only added by Congress to the Flag Code twelve years earlier in 1942,[29] and the phrase of a "nation, under God" predates Bellamy's work, being contained in the conclusion of Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Gettysburg Address. [30]

In various countries

George Papandreou, Prime minister of Greece, taking the Oath of office, presided over by Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Greece. An example of Church and State connection in modern politics.

Countries have varying degrees of separation between government and religious institutions. Since the 1780s a number of countries have set up explicit barriers between church and state. The degree of actual separation between government and religion or religious institutions varies widely. In some countries the two institutions remain heavily interconnected. There are new conflicts in the post-Communist world.[clarification needed][31]

The many variations on separation can be seen in some countries with high degrees of religious freedom and tolerance combined with strongly secular political cultures which have still maintained state churches or financial ties with certain religious organizations into the 21st century. In England, there is a constitutionally established state religion but other faiths are tolerated.[32] The British monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and 26 bishops (Lords Spiritual) sit in the upper house of government, the House of Lords.

In other kingdoms, the head of government or head of state or other high-ranking official figures may be legally required to be a member of a given faith. Powers to appoint high-ranking members of the state churches are also often still vested in the worldly governments. These powers may be slightly anachronistic or superficial, however, and disguise the true level of religious freedom the nation possesses. In the case of Andorra there are two heads of state, neither of them native Andorrans. One is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Seu d'Urgell, a town located in Catalunya/Spain. He has the title of Episcopalian Coprince (the other Coprince being the French Head of State). Coprinces enjoy political power in terms of law ratification and constitutional court designation, among others.


The Constitution of Australia prevents the Commonwealth from establishing any religion or requiring a religious test for any office:—

Ch 5 § 116 The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

The language is derived from the United States' constitution, but has been altered. Following the usual practice of the High Court, it has been interpreted far more narrowly than the equivalent US sections and no law has ever been struck down for contravening the section. Today, the Commonwealth Government provides broad-based funding to religious schools and also funds school chaplains for public and private schools. All Australian parliaments are opened with a Christian prayer, and the preamble to the Australian Constitution refers to a "humbl[e] rel[iance] on the blessing of Almighty God."[33]

Although the Australian monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, also British monarch and head of the Church of England, her Australian title is unrelated to her religious office and she has no role in the Anglican Church of Australia. The prohibition against religious tests has allowed former Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane Peter Hollingworth to be appointed Governor-General, the highest domestic constitutional officer; however, this was criticized.[34]

Despite inclusion in the "States" chapter, Section 116 does not apply to states because of changes during drafting, and they are free to establish their own religions. Although no state has ever introduced a state church (NSW restricted religious groups during the early colonial period), the legal body corresponding to many religious organisations is established by state legislation.[35][36] There have been two referenda to extend Section 116 to states, but both failed. In each case the changes were grouped with other changes and voters did not have the opportunity to expressly accept only one change. Most states permit broad exemptions to religious groups from anti-discrimination legislation; for example, the NSW act allowing same-sex couples to adopt permits religious adoption agencies to refuse them.[37][38]

The current situation, described as a "principle of state neutrality" rather than "separation of church and state",[34] has been criticised by both secularists and religious groups. On the one hand, secularists have argued that government neutrality to religions leads to a "flawed democrac[y]"[39] or even a "pluralistic theocracy"[40] as the government cannot be neutral towards the religion of people who do not have one. On the other hand, religious groups and others have been concerned that state governments are restricting them from exercising their religion by preventing them from criticising other groups and forcing them to do unconscionable acts.[41]


Brazil was a colony of the Portuguese Empire from 1500 until the nation's indepencence from Portugal, in 1822, during which time Roman Catholicism was the official state religion. With the rise of the Empire of Brazil , although Catholicism retained its status as the official creed, subsidized by the state, other religions where allowed to flourish, as the 1824 Constitution secured religious freedom. The fall of the Empire, in 1889, gave way to a Republican regime, and a Constitution was enacted in 1891, which severed the ties between church and state; Republican ideologues such as Benjamin Constant and Ruy Barbosa were influenced by laïcité in France and the United States. The 1891 Constitutional separation of Church and State has been maintained ever since. The current Constitution of Brazil, in force since 1988, ensures the right to religious freedom, bans the establishment of state churches and any relationship of "dependence or alliance" of officials with religious leaders, except for "collaboration in the public interest, defined by law".


Laïcité, a particular product of French history and philosophy, was formalized in the 1905 law providing for the separation of church and state, that is, the separation of religion from political power. But the concept of removing religion to the private space as opposed to the public space of politics and the civil sphere is currently fiercely contested in France, driven, especially, by reactions to various manifestations of Islam, such as wearing the headscarf in schools.

The French version of separation is called laïcité. This model of a secularist state protects the religious institutions from some types of state interference, but with public religious expression also to some extent limited. This aims to protect the public power from the influences of religious institutions, especially in public office. Religious views which contain no idea of public responsibility, or which consider religious opinion irrelevant to politics, are less impinged upon by this type of secularization of public discourse.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has criticised "negative laicite" (as in Spain) and wants to develop a "positive laicite" that recognizes the contribution of faith to French culture, history and society, allows for faith in the public discourse and for government subsidies for faith-based groups.[42] Sarkozy sees France's main religions as positive contributions to French society. He was elected on a platform proposing a modernisation of the Republic's century-old principle of laicite.[43][not in citation given] He visited the Pope in December 2007 and publicly acknowledged France's Christian roots, while highlighting the importance of freedom of thought,[44] hinting that faith should come back into the public sphere.

Nevertheless, there are certain entanglements in France which include:

  • The most striking example consists in two areas, Alsace and Moselle (see here for further detail), where the Concordat between France and the Holy See still prevails, Catholic priests as well as the clergy of three other religions (Lutheran, Calvinist, and Jewish) are paid by the state, and schools have religion courses. Moreover, the Catholic bishops of Metz and Strasburg are named (or rather formally appointed) by the French Head of State on proposition of the Pope, which interestingly makes the French President the only temporal power in the world to have retained the right to appoint Catholic bishops, all other catholic bishops being appointed by the Pope.
  • The French President is ex officio a co-prince of Andorra, where Roman Catholicism has a status of state religion (the other co-prince being a Spanish bishop). Moreover, French heads of states are traditionally offered an honorary title of Canon of the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, Cathedral of Rome. Once this honour has been awarded to a newly elected president, France pays for a choir vicar, a priest who occupies the seat in the canonial chapter of the Cathedral in lieu of the president (all French presidents have been male and Roman Catholic, but if one were not, this honour could most probably not be awarded to him.) The French President also holds a seat in a few other canonial chapters in France.
  • Another example of the complex ties between France and the Catholic Church consists in the Pieux Établissements de la France à Rome et à Lorette: five churches in Rome (Trinità dei Monti, St. Louis of the French, St. Ivo of the Bretons, St. Claude of the Free County of Burgundy, and St. Nicholas of the Lorrains) as well as a chapel in Loreto belong to France, and are administered and paid for by a special foundation linked to the French embassy to the Holy See.
  • In Wallis and Futuna, a French overseas territory, national education is conceded to the diocese, which gets paid for it by the State.


Turkey, whose population is overwhelmingly Muslim, is also considered to have practiced the laïcité school of secularism since 1928. Like laïcité in France, there are some notable entanglements in Turkey:

  • Despite Turkey being an officially secular country, the Preamble of the Constitution states that "there shall be no interference whatsoever of the sacred religious feelings in State affairs and politics."[45]
  • In order to control the way religion is perceived by adherents, the State pays imams' wages (only for Sunni Muslims), and provides religious education (of the Sunni Muslim variety) in public schools. The State has a Department of Religious Affairs, directly under the Prime Minister bureaucratically, responsible for organizing the Sunni Muslim religion - including what will and will not be mentioned in sermons given at mosques, especially on Fridays. Such an interpretation of secularism, where religion is under strict control of the State is very different from that of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and is a good example of how secularism can be applied in a variety of ways in different regions of the world.


Shinto was closely associated with the state and the Emperor, especially during the time between the Meiji Restoration and the end of World War II. Under the American military occupation (1945–52) separation of religion and state became a major priority.

China, P.R.C.

China during the era of the Han Dynasty had established Confucianism as the official state ideology over that of Legalism of the preceding Qin Dynasty over two millennium ago.[46] In post-1949 modern-day China, owing to such historic experiences as the Taiping Rebellion, the Chinese Communist Party had no diplomatic relations with the Vatican for over half a century, and maintained separation of the church from state affairs,[47] and although the Chinese government's methods are disputed by the Vatican,[48] Pope Benedict had accepted the ordination of a bishop who was pre-selected by the government for the Patriotic Chinese Church in 2007, however a new ordination of a Catholic bishop in November 2010 according to BBC News, has threatened to "damage ties" between China and the Vatican.[49]


The issue of the role of the Catholic Church in Mexico has been highly divisive since the 1820s. Its large land holdings were especially a point of contention. Mexico was guided toward what was proclaimed a separation of church and state by Benito Juárez who, in 1859, attempted to eliminate the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the nation by appropriating its land and prerogatives.[50][51] In 1859 the Ley Lerdo was issued - purportedly separating church and state, but actually involving state intervention in Church matters by abolishing monastic orders, and nationalizing church property. In 1926, after several years of the revolutionary war and insecurity, President Plutarco Elias Calles, an atheist, enacted the Calles Law, which eradicated all the personal property of the churches, closed churches that were not registered with the State, and prohibited clerics from holding a public office. The law was unpopular; and several protesters from rural areas, fought against federal troops in what became known as the Cristero War. After the war's end in 1929, President Emilio Portes Gil upheld a previous truce where the law would remain enacted, but not enforced, in exchange for the hostilities to end. Ever since, the Catholic Church has remained active through the National Action Party (Mexico). The party gained a major foothold in 2000 when President Vicente Fox was elected, ending 70 years of unbroken rule from the Institutional Revolutionary Party.


In Norway, the King is also the leader of the state church, and the 12th article of the Constitution of Norway requires more than half of the members of the Norwegian Council of State to be members of the state church. Yet, the second article guarantees freedom of religion, while also stating that Evangelical Lutheranism is the official state religion.[52][not in citation given][53] l


The German constitution guarantees freedom of religion,[54] but there is not a complete separation of church and state in Germany. Officially recognized churches operate as Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts (corporations of public, as opposed to private law). For recognized religious communities, some taxes are collected by the state;[55] this is at the request of the religious community and a fee is charged for the service.[56] Religious instruction is a normal school subject in Germany.[54] The German State understands itself as neutral in matters of religious beliefs,[57] so no teacher can be forced to teach religion. But on the other hand, all who do teach religious instruction need an official permission by their religious community.[58] The treaties with the Holy See are referred to as concordats. They are the legal framework for the cooperation of church and state in Germany.[59]


In Article 2 "Declaration of Principles and State Policies", Section VI, the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines repeats the phrase from the 1973 and 1935 constitutions, "The separation of Churh and State shall be inviolable." In practice, the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines still exerts considerable influence on Filipino politics and public opinion.[citation needed] This arrangement may be construed[weasel words] a vestige of the Spanish-era "friarocracy," where clergymen had varying degrees of temporal power and control over the secular economy. Recent examples of their[who?] continued presence in public life are the 1986 People Power Revolution and the current debate over the Reproductive Health Bill.[citation needed]

During elections, the Iglesia Ni Cristo and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement El Shaddai both practise block voting, albeit more enforced in the former than the latter. Politicians are said to woo the groups' respective leaders into giving their endorsement or "basbás" (literally "blessing/approval"), as the number of votes of their members could translate into crucial swing votes.


Commentators have posited that the form of church-state separation enacted in France in 1905 and found in the Spanish Constitution of 1931 are of a "hostile" variety, noting that the hostility of the state toward the church was a cause of the breakdown of democracy and the onset of the Spanish Civil War.[60][61]

United Kingdom

The Church of England (Anglican church) is still nominally an established church, and the British monarch is the titular head of the Anglican church, and cannot be a Catholic. They were once unable to marry a Catholic as well, but in October 2011, this law was abolished. In England, Church appointments are Crown appointments, the Church carries out important state functions such as coronations, and a number of high Church officials have seats in the House of Lords (26 out of a total of 789 members), and are known as the Lords Spiritual as opposed to the Lords Temporal. The links between church and state in the UK are, nowadays, mostly a formality and the governance of the UK is relatively secular.

The Church of Ireland was disestablished as early as 1871; the Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920.[62]

As there is no written constitution, there is no constitutional principle of freedom of religious exercise as there is in other countries, such as Germany and the United States. However, under various laws, such as the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010, religious groups are free to associate, worship, promote and publish their views alongside the established churches.[63]

Religious views

Beyond law and philosophy, some Christians refuse to vote, carry arms, or participate in civil government in any way, often leading to their persecution, as happened to Anabaptists, their descendants including the Amish and Mennonites, Quakers, and, in the 20th Century, Jehovah's Witnesses in many countries, believing by not participating they are closer to the Kingdom of God, since "Jesus answered (Pilate), 'My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight (to defend him).' " - John 18:36. For them, the term "Christian nation" cannot be a valid governmental position, leaving only Christian people, possibly in Christian communities, beyond which are the "things which are Caesar's" - Matthew 22:21.


According to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's understanding of Islam, Islamic principles state that the politics of government should be separate from the doctrine of religion. Special preference should not be given to a Muslim over a non-Muslim.[64][65]


The Catholic Church teaches, in Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom, that all people are entitled to religious freedom and that such freedom should be recognized in constitutional law. [66] While the Church teaches that church-state separation is permissible, it does not endorse a separation of religion and politics,[67] as it is the position of the Church that the proper role for religion, and the Church in particular, to guide and inform consciences, thereby serving as check and balance to the power of the state. [68] The Church teaches that the right of religious freedom (enshrined in the U.S.'s "free exercise clause") is doctrinal, while the question of the degree of separation of church from the state such as a prohibition on an established religion (enshrined in the U.S.'s "establishment clause") is variable, depending upon the history of a nation; hence it is acceptable and consistent with religious freedom for countries such as England, Malta, Costa Rica, and Denmark to have an established religion as long as they grant religious freedom to all:

If, under consideration of historical circumstances among peoples, special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional order of a society, it is necessary at the same time that the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom should be acknowledged and maintained. [69]

Friendly and hostile separation

Scholars have distinguished between what can be called "friendly" and "hostile" separations of church and state. The French separation of 1905 and the Spanish separation of 1931 have been characterized as the two most hostile of the twentieth century, although the current schemes in both countries are considered generally friendly.[60] France's President Nicolas Sarkozy at the beginning of his term, however, considered the current scheme a "negative laicite" and wanted to develop a "positive laicite" more open to religion.[42] The concerns of the state toward religion have been seen by some as one cause of the civil war in Spain[70] and Mexico.

The French philosopher and Universal Declaration of Human Rights drafter Jacques Maritain noted the distinction between the models found in France and in the mid-twentieth century United States.[71] He considered the US model of that time to be more amicable because it had both "sharp distinction and actual cooperation" between church and state, what he called "an historical treasure" and admonished the United States, "Please to God that you keep it carefully, and do not let your concept of separation veer round to the European one."[71] Alexis de Tocqueville, another French observer tended to make the same distinction, “In the U.S., from the beginning, politics and religion were in accord, and they have not ceased to be so since." [72]

See also

American examples



Christianity and Separation of a Church and State

Islam and secularism debate


  1. ^ Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists (June 1998) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin
  2. ^ William M. Wiecek, The birth of the modern Constitution: the United States Supreme Court, 1941-1953 (Cambridge U.P., 2006) pp 261-4
  3. ^ Philip Hamburger, Separation of Church and State. pp. 287-334, 342, Harvard University Press, 2004
  4. ^ Princeton University WordNet reads: "separationism: advocacy of a policy of strict separation of church and state."
  5. ^ Feldman (2009)
  6. ^ "Delineation of Roman Catholicism: Drawn from the authentic and acknowledged standards of the Church of Rome", by Charles Elliott, 1877 edition, page 165
  7. ^ Berman, Harold J. (1983). Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-51774-1. OCLC 185405865. 
  8. ^ Madison to Schaeffer, 1821
  9. ^ Henry VIII: 1509-47 AD. Britannia History. Retrieved 2008-03-26 
  10. ^ Feldman, Noah (2005). Divided by God. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pg. 29 ("It took John Locke to translate the demand for liberty of conscience into a systematic argument for distinguishing the realm of government from the realm of religion.")
  11. ^ Feldman, Noah (2005). Divided by God. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pg. 29
  12. ^ Hamilton, Neil A. (2002). Rebels and renegades: a chronology of social and political dissent in the United States (illustrated ed.). Taylor & Francis. p. 11. ISBN 9780415936392. .
  13. ^ Bercovitch, Sacvan; Patell, Cyrus R. K. (1997). The Cambridge History of American Literature: 1590-1820 (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 196–197. ISBN 9780521585712. .
  14. ^ For full text see "The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816; Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796" Avalon Project
  15. ^ Frank Lambert (February 3, 2005). "Introduction". The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-12602-9. Retrieved June 21, 2008. "By their actions, the Founding Fathers made clear that their primary concern was religious freedom, not the advancement of a state religion. Individuals, not the government, would define religious faith and practice in the United States. Thus the Founders ensured that in no official sense would America be a Christian Republic. Ten years after the Constitutional Convention ended its work, the country assured the world that the United States was a secular state, and that its negotiations would adhere to the rule of law, not the dictates of the Christian faith. The assurances were contained in the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797 and were intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers." 
  16. ^ F. Forrester Church. The separation of church and state (2004) p. 121
  17. ^ Barton, David (2000), Treaty of Tripoli Wall Builders.
  18. ^ Jefferson, Thomas (1802-01-01). "Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists". U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2006-11-31. 
  19. ^ Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington, D.C.: Gales & Seaton, 1834, Vol. I pp. 757-759, August 15, 1789
  20. ^ James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments
  21. ^ (1819 letter to Robert Walsh), Lambert, Frank (2003). The founding fathers and the place of religion in America. Princeton University Press. p. 288. ISBN 9780691088297. .
  22. ^ James Madison. "Monopolies Perpetuities Corporations—Ecclesiastical Endowments". Retrieved 2008-06-16 .
  23. ^ (1811 letter to Baptist Churches)
  24. ^ Madison's letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822
  25. ^ J. F. Maclear, Church and state in the modern age: a documentary history (1995) p 65
  26. ^ Tyler wrote, "The United States have adventured upon a great and noble experiment, which is believed to have been hazarded in the absence of all previous precedent-that of total separation of Church and State. No religious establishment by law exists among us. The conscience is left free from all restraint and each is permitted to worship his Maker after his own judgment. The offices of the Government are open alike to all. No tithes are levied to support an established Hierarchy, nor is the fallible judgment of man set up as the sure and infallible creed of faith. The Mahommedan, if he will to come among us would have the privilege guaranteed to him by the constitution to worship according to the Koran; and the East Indian might erect a shrine to Brahma if it so pleased him. Such is the spirit of toleration inculcated by our political Institutions . . . . The Hebrew persecuted and down trodden in other regions takes up his abode among us with none to make him afraid . . . . and the Aegis of the Government is over him to defend and protect him. Such is the great experiment which we have cried, and such are the happy fruits which have resulted from it; our system of free government would be imperfect without it.") quoted in Nicole Guétin, Religious ideology in American politics: a history (2009) p. 85
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  28. ^ Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)
  29. ^ a b Nobleman, Marc Tyler (2003). The Pledge of Allegiance. Capstone Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780736816311. 
  30. ^ Federer, William J., The Ten Commandments & Their Influence on American Law - A Study in History, p. 47, Amerisearch, Inc., 2002
  31. ^ Péter Tibor Nagy. The social and political history of Hungarian education - State-Church relations in the history of educational policy of the first post-communist Hungarian government (HTML ed.). Hungarian Electronic library. ISBN 963 200 511 2. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  32. ^ "Status of religious freedom by country, United Kingdom". Wikipedia. 
  33. ^ Preamble to Commonwealth of Australian Constitution Act (Imp.) 1900.
  34. ^ a b Hogan, M. (2001, May 16). Separation of church and state? Australian Review of Public Affairs. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  37. ^ Adoption Bill Passed in NSW | News | The Advocate
  38. ^ Adoption Amendment (Same Sex Couples) Act (NSW) 2010.
  39. ^ Wallace, M. (2005). Is there a separation of church and state in Australia and New Zealand? Australian Humanist, 77. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  40. ^ Secular Party of Australia. (nd). The Separation of Church and State. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  41. ^ Davidson, S. (2009, Oct 27). Victorian abortion law: Overriding the conscience of doctors. Crikey. Retrieved 2010-10-10
  42. ^ a b Beita, Peter B. French President's religious mixing riles critics Christianity Today, Jan. 23, 2008
  43. ^ Religions, République, intégration, Sarkozy s'explique, L'Express. (archived from the original on 2008-06-06)
  44. ^ Sarkozy breaks French taboo on church and politics
  45. ^ "The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey". Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM). Archived from the original on 2006-08-10. 
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  50. ^ "Mexico, A brief History". Retrieved 2007-10-13 
  51. ^ Greg Clements. "Ley Lerdo". Retrieved 2007-10-13 
  52. ^ The Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway
  53. ^ Norway - Constitution] (Adopted on: 17 May 1814 ),
  54. ^ a b Section 4 of German Basic Law
  55. ^ Binder, Gerhard/Wagner, Jürgen, Grundwissen Grundgesetz.p 165.Klett.
  56. ^ 1.5% to 4.5% of the amount collected, depending on the state (Land)
    Leif, Thomas; Speth, Rudolf, eds (2006) (in German). Die fünfte Gewalt: Lobbyismus in Deutschland [The Fifth Estate: Lobbyism in Germany]. VL Verlag. p. 262. ISBN 9783531150338. 
  57. ^ Binder, Gerhard/Wagner, Jürgen, Grundwissen Grundgesetz.p 17.Klett.
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  59. ^ Christian, Hermes, Konkordate im vereinigten Deutschland. Grünewald.
  60. ^ a b Stepan, Alfred, Arguing Comparative Politics, p. 221, Oxford University Press
  61. ^ Payne, Stanley G. A History of Spain and Portugal, Vol. 2, Ch. 25, p. 632 (Print Edition: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973) (LIBRARY OF IBERIAN RESOURCES ONLINE Accessed May 30, 2007)
  62. ^ Madeley, John T. S.; Enyedi, Zsolt (2003). Church and state in contemporary Europe: the chimera of neutrality. Psychology Press. pp. 203. ISBN 9780714653945. 
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  64. ^ "Separation of Mosque and state". Alislam. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  65. ^ "Muslims for Peace". Muslims for Peace. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  66. ^ Calo, Zachary A., Catholic Social Thought, Political Liberalism, and the Idea of Human Rights, p. 18-19, Samford University, November 2004
  67. ^ Calo, Zachary A., Catholic Social Thought, Political Liberalism, and the Idea of Human Rights, p. 20, Samford University, November 2004
  68. ^ Grasso, Kenneth L. and Robert P. Hunt, Catholicism and religious freedom: contemporary reflections on Vatican II's declaration on religious liberty, p. 6, Rowman & Littlefield, 2006
  69. ^ Murray, John Courtney and J. Leon Hooper, Religious liberty: Catholic struggles with pluralism, p. 213-214, Westminster John Knox Press, 1993
  70. ^ Payne, Stanley G., A History of Spain and Portugal, Vol. 2, Ch. 25: The Second Spanish Republic , p. 632, (Print Edition: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973) (Library of Iberian Resources Online, Accessed July 11, 2009)
  71. ^ a b Carson, D. A. Christ And Culture Revisited, p. 189, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008
  72. ^ de Tocqueville, Alexis, Democracy in America, edited and translated by Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop, Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Further reading

  • Feldman, Noah. "Religion and the Earthly City", Social Research, Winter 2009, Vol. 76 Issue 4, pp 989–1000
  • Taylor, Charles. "The Polysemy of the Secular", Social Research, Winter 2009, Vol. 76 Issue 4, pp 1143–1166
  • Whitman, James Q. "Separating Church and State: The Atlantic Divide", Historical Reflections, Winter 2008, Vol. 34 Issue 3, pp 86–104

United States

  • Shalev, Eran, "‘A Perfect Republic’: The Mosaic Constitution in Revolutionary New England, 1775–1788," New England Quarterly, 82 (June 2009), 235–63.
  • Stone, Geoffrey R., "The World of the Framers: A Christian Nation?," UCLA Law Review, 56 (Oct. 2008), 1–26.
  • Weaver, C. Douglas. "Baptists and the First Amendment: An Historical Overview", Baptist History and Heritage, Summer 2008, Vol. 43 Issue 3, pp 8–26

External links

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