Religion / Religion, Politics & State

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The Editors invite normative and empirical investigations of the public representation of religion, the religious and political institutions that shape religious presence in the public square, and the role of religion in shaping citizenship, broadly considered, as well as pieces that attempt to advance our methodological tools for examining religious influence in political life.

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Neiheisel Politics and Religion , First View https: Article The Sacred as Secular: Donker Politics and Religion , First View https: Religious freedom was guaranteed only in , nine years before the end of the regime. Since , according to the Spanish Constitution section The public authorities shall take into account the religious beliefs of Spanish society and shall consequently maintain appropriate cooperation relations with the Catholic Church and other confessions.

The Church of Sweden was instigated by King Gustav I —60 and within the half century following his death had become established as a Lutheran state church with significant power in Swedish society, itself under the control of the state apparatus. A degree of freedom of worship for foreign residents only was achieved under the rule of Gustav III —92 , but it was not until the passage of the Dissenter Acts of and that Swedish citizens were allowed to leave the state church — and then only provided that those wishing to do so first registered their adhesion to another, officially approved denomination.

Following years of discussions that began in , the Church of Sweden was finally separated from the state as from 1 January However, the separation was not fully completed. Although the status of state religion came to an end, the Church of Sweden nevertheless remains Swedens national church, and as such is still regulated by the government through the law of the Church of Sweden.

Therefore, it would be more appropriate to refer to a change of relation between state and church rather than a separation. Furthermore, the Swedish constitution still maintain that the Sovereign and the members of the royal family has to confess an evangelical Lutheran faith, which in practice means they need to be members of the Church of Sweden to remain in the line of succession.

Thusly according to the ideas of cuius regio, eius religio one could argue that the symbolic connection between state and church still remains. The articles 8 "Equality before the law" and 15 "Freedom of religion and conscience" of the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation guarantees individual freedom of beliefs. Churches and state are separated at the federal level since However, the article 72 "Church and state" of the constitution determine that "The regulation of the relationship between the church and the state is the responsibility of the cantons".

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. 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.

The exercise of their religion in Turkey by the Greek Orthodox and the Armenian Apostolic communities is partly regulated by the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne. No such official recognition extends to the Syriac communities. The Church of England , a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion , is an established church , and the British Sovereign is the titular Supreme Governor , and cannot be a Roman Catholic.

Until the Succession to the Crown Act , the monarch could not be married to a Catholic. In state-run schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not in privately run schools , there is a requirement for a daily act of worship that is "wholly or mainly of a Christian character", although non-Christian faith schools are exempt instead having to have their own form of worship and sixth-form pupils in England and Wales and parents of younger pupils can opt out. Official reports have recommended removing the requirement entirely. In England, senior Church appointments are Crown appointments; the Church carries out state functions such as coronations; Anglican representatives have an automatic role on Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education ; and 26 diocesan bishops have seats in the House of Lords , where they are known as the Lords Spiritual as opposed to the lay Lords Temporal.

The Lords Spiritual have a significant influence when they vote as a bloc on certain issues, notably moral issues like abortion and euthanasia. All of state-funded schools in England are religious school, too, and most are controlled by the Church of England, with significant numbers of state-funded Catholic, Muslim, and Jewish schools as well. The Anglican Church also has specific legal rights and responsibilities in solemnised marriages that are different from other faith organisations.

Non-religious couples can have a civil wedding with no religious elements, but non-religious humanist weddings are not yet legally recognised in their own right. Collective worship makes prayer and worship of a Christian character mandatory in all schools, but parents can remove their children from these lessons, and sixth formers have the right to opt out. The Church of Scotland or Kirk is the largest religious denomination in Scotland, however, unlike the Church of England it is Presbyterian and since not a branch of the state, with the Sovereign holding no formal role in the Church other than being an ordinary member.

However, though the Kirk is disestablished, Scotland is not a secular polity. The Kirk remains a national church to which the state has special obligations; it is conventional that the monarch, who is head of state, must attend the Church when she visits Scotland, and they swear in their accession oath to maintain and preserve the church. The state also gives numerous preferences to the Church of Scotland and Catholic Church, particularly in education. The blasphemy law has not been abolished in Scotland, though it has fallen into disuse.

Non-religious couples can have a civil wedding with no religious elements, and humanist weddings have been legally recognised since , and enshrined in Scottish law since Collective worship makes prayer and worship of a Christian character mandatory in all schools, but parents can remove their children from these lessons, though sixth formers have no right to opt out.

The Church of Ireland was disestablished as early as ; the Church in Wales was disestablished in although certain border parishes remain part of the Established Church of England. Collective worship makes prayer and worship of a Christian character mandatory in all Welsh schools. Northern Ireland is the most religious part of the UK, but technically has secular governance. However, in practice, it is the least secular in the UK. Schools, as in Ireland, are largely divided between Anglican and Catholic schools, and identification with one community or the other is often sought on equal opportunities-monitoring forms.

The religious education curriculum is drawn up exclusively by six Christian churches, to the exclusion of other religions or beliefs, and collective worship is mandatory in all schools. The First Amendment which ratified in states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The phrase of Jefferson see above was quoted by the United States Supreme Court first in , and then in a series of cases starting in Board of Education , the court incorporated the establishment clause, determining that it applied to the states and that a law enabling reimbursement for busing to all schools including parochial schools was constitutional.

Prior to its incorporation, unsuccessful attempts were made to amend the constitution to explicitly apply the establishment clause to states in the s and s. 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. Williams was motivated by historical abuse of governmental power, and believed that government must remove itself from anything that touched upon human beings' relationship with God, advocating a "hedge or wall of Separation between the Garden of the Church and the Wilderness of the world" in order to keep the church pure.

Through his work Rhode Island's charter was confirmed by King Charles II of England , which explicitly stated that no one was to be "molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinion, in matters of religion. Williams is credited with helping to shape the church and state debate in England, and influencing such men as John Milton and particularly John Locke, whose work was studied closely by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other designers of the U.

Williams theologically derived his views mainly from Scripture and his motive is seen as religious, but Jefferson's advocation of religious liberty is seen as political and social. 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.

President John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers. 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. The phrase "separation of church and state" is derived from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson in to Baptists from Danbury, Connecticut , and published in a Massachusetts newspaper soon thereafter.

In a debate in the House of Representatives regarding the draft of the First Amendment, the following was said:. Madison thought if the word "National" was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen. 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.

We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt. 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.

Under the United States Constitution , the treatment of religion by the government is broken into two clauses: 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, Kennedy's presidency was raised. If elected, it would be the first time that a Catholic would occupy the highest office in the United States. Kennedy , in his Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on 12 September , addressed the question directly, saying,.

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute — where no Catholic prelate would tell the President should he be Catholic how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote — where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference — and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish — where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source — where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials — and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

Whatever issue may come before me as President — on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject — I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise. But if the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same.

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, saying "the metaphor itself is not a wholly accurate description of the practical aspects of the relationship that in fact exists between church and state". 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. Rehnquist made numerous citations of cases that rebutted the idea of a total wall of separation between Church and State.

A result of such reasoning was Supreme Court support for government payments to faith-based community projects. Justice Scalia has criticized the metaphor as a bulldozer removing religion from American public life. Critics of the American Pledge of Allegiance have argued that the use of the phrase "under God" violates the separation of church and state.

While the pledge was created by Francis Bellamy in , in , the Knights of Columbus , a Catholic organization, campaigned with other groups to have the words "under god" added to the pledge. On June 14, , President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill to make the addition.

Separation of church and state

Since then, critics have challenged that existence of the phrase in the Pledge. In , an atheist challenged a Californian law which required students to recite the pledge.

He said the law violated his daughter's right to free speech. Newdow , mainly due to the fact that the father could not claim sufficient custody of the child over his ex-wife who was the legal guardian. Additionally, the supreme court stated that teachers leading students in the pledge was constitutional, and therefore the pledge should stay the same. 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. Historically, the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church have deemed a close relationship between church and state desirable wherever possible.

The Catholic Church, in addition, teaches that states have a duty to recognize the Catholic faith officially and in its laws and mores, if such states' populations are or become predominantly Catholic. The Orthodox churches have historically at times formed a " symphonia " with the state, whether de jure or de facto.

On the other hand, while some Protestants hold views similar to those above, some Protestants 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 , Mennonites , and Quakers , in the 20th Century. Anabaptist and 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: 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 It shall be the duty of the ministers and members of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection to use their influence in every feasible manner in favor of a more complete recognition of the authority of Almighty God, in the secular and civil relations, both of society and of government, and the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ as King of nations as well as King of saints.

As such, the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Church advocates for Bible reading in public schools, chaplaincies in the Armed Forces and in Congress, blue laws reflecting historic Methodist belief in Sunday Sabbatarianism , and amendments that advance the recognition of God.

Can Religion Play a Positive Role in Politics? | HuffPost

The Reformed tradition of Christianity Congregationalist , Continental Reformed , Presbyterian denominations have also addressed the issue of the relationship between the Church and state. We should regard the successful attempt to expel all religious instruction and influence from our public schools as an evil of the first magnitude.

Nor do we see how this can be done without inflicting a deadly wound upon the intellectual and moral life of the nation…We look upon the state as an ordinance of God, and not a mere creature of the popular will; and, under its high responsibility to the Supreme Ruler of the world, we hold it to be both its right and bound duty to educate its children in those elementary principles of knowledge and virtue which are essential to its own security and well-being.

The union of church and state is indeed against our American theory and constitutions of government; but the most intimate union of the state with the saving and conservative forces of Christianity is one of the oldest customs of the country, and has always ranked a vital article of our political faith. The first full articulation of the Catholic doctrine on the principles of the relationship of the Catholic Church to the state at the time, the Eastern Roman Empire is contained in the document Famuli vestrae pietatis , written by Pope Gelasius I to the Emperor, which states that the Church and the state should work together in society, that the state should recognize the Church's role in society, with the Church holding superiority in moral matters and the state having superiority in temporal matters.

Ryan speaks of this Catholic doctrine thusly: For it is the business of the state to safeguard and promote human welfare in all departments of life. Because of this reality of secularisation, it also recognized and encouraged the role of the laity in the life of the Church in the secular world, viewing the laity as much-needed agents of change in order to bring about a transformation of society more in line with Catholic teaching. The purpose of this document was to encourage and guide lay people in their Christian service. The Catholic teaching in Dignitatis Humanae , the Second Vatican Council 's Declaration on Religious Freedom , states that all people are entitled to a degree of religious freedom as long as public order is not disturbed and that constitutional law should recognize such freedom.

This doctrine is further declared in the current edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, number The Catholic Church takes the position that the Church itself has a proper role in guiding and informing consciences, explaining the natural law , and judging the moral integrity of the state, thereby serving as check to the power of the state. Still, it also recognizes that it would not always be prudent in all states to immediately mandate the Catholic religion as the official religion of the state, most especially in states in which Catholicism has not yet become the religion of the overwhelming majority.

Catholic philosopher Thomas Storck argues that, once a society becomes "Catholicised" and adopts the Church as the state religion, it is further morally bound: If a neutral state can prohibit polygamy, even though it is a restriction on religious freedom, then a Catholic state can likewise restrict the public activity of non-Catholic groups.

Western secular democracies, committed to freedom of religion for all sects, find no contradiction in proscribing polygamy, although some religions permit it, because its practice is contrary to the traditions and mores of these nations. A Catholic country can certainly similarly maintain its own manner of life.

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. The Church takes stances on current political issues, and tries to influence legislation on matters it considers relevant. For example, the Catholic bishops in the United States adopted a plan in the s calling for efforts aimed at a Constitutional amendment providing " protection for the unborn child to the maximum degree possible".

Benedict XVI regards modern idea of freedom meaning the Church should be free from governmental coercion and overtly political influence from the state as a legitimate product of the Christian environment, [] in a similar way to Jacques Le Goff. Scholars have distinguished between what can be called "friendly" and "hostile" separations of church and state. The hostile model of secularism arose with the French Revolution and is typified in the Mexican Revolution , its resulting Constitution , in the First Portuguese Republic of , and in the Spanish Constitution of The French separation of and the Spanish separation of have been characterized as the two most hostile of the twentieth century, although the current church-state relations in both countries are considered generally friendly.

The French Catholic philosopher and drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , Jacques Maritain , noted the distinction between the models found in France and in the mid-twentieth century United States. Yet, despite Madison's admonition and the 'sweep of the absolute prohibitions' of the Clauses, this Nation's history has not been one of entirely sanitized separation between Church and State.

It has never been thought either possible or desirable to enforce a regime of total separation. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Some of these questions concern actions which are inspired by religion and are either obviously or typically unjust. For example, violent fundamentalists feel justified in killing and persecuting infidels—how should society respond to them?

While no one seriously defends the right to repress other people, it is less clear to what extent, say, religious speech that calls for such actions should be tolerated in the name of a right to free speech.

A similar challenge concerns religious objections to certain medical procedures that are necessary to save a life. While it seems clearly wrong to force someone to undergo even lifesaving treatment if she objects to it at least with sufficient rationality, which of course is a difficult topic in itself , and it seems equally wrong to deny lifesaving treatment to someone who needs it and is not refusing it, the issue becomes less clear when parents have religious objections to lifesaving treatment for their children.

In such a case, there are at least three values that ordinarily demand great respect and latitude: For example, Quakers and other religious groups are committed to pacifism, and yet many of them live in societies that expect all male citizens to serve in the military or register for the draft. Other groups perform religious rituals that involve the use of illegal substances, such as peyote.

Is it fair to exempt such people from the burdens other citizens must bear? Many examples of this second kind of challenge are addressed in the literature on education and schooling. In developed societies and developing ones, for that matter , a substantial education is necessary for citizens to be able to achieve a decent life for themselves. However, the pursuit of this latter goal raises certain issues for religious parents. In the famous case of Mozert v. Hawkins , some parents objected for religious reasons to their children being taught from a reading curriculum that presented alternative beliefs and ways of life in a favorable way, and consequently the parents asked that their children be excused from class when that curriculum was being taught.

Similarly, many proposals for educational curricula are aimed at developing a measure of autonomy in children, which often involves having them achieve a certain critical distance from their family background, with its traditions, beliefs, and ways of life Callan, ; Brighouse, The idea is that only then can children autonomously choose a way of life for themselves, free of undue influence of upbringing and custom. A related argument holds that this critical distance will allow children to develop a sufficient sense of respect for different social groups, a respect that is necessary for the practice of democratic citizenship.

However, this critical distance is antithetical to authentic religious commitment, at least on some accounts see the following section. Also, religious parents typically wish to pass on their faith to their children, and doing so involves cultivating religious devotion through practices and rituals, rather than presenting their faith as just one among many equally good or true ones. For such parents, passing on their religious faith is central to good parenting, and in this respect it does not differ from passing on good moral values, for instance.

Thus, politically mandated education that is aimed at developing autonomy runs up against the right of some parents to practice their religion and the right to raise their children as they choose. Many, though not all, liberals argue that autonomy is such an important good that its promotion justifies using techniques that make it harder for such parents to pass on their faith—such a result is an unfortunate side-effect of a desirable or necessary policy.

Yet a different source of political conflict for religious students in recent years concerns the teaching of evolution in science classes. Some religious parents of children in public schools see the teaching of evolution as a direct threat to their faith, insofar as it implies the falsity of their biblical-literalist understanding of the origins of life. They argue that it is unfair to expect them to expose their children to teaching that directly challenges their religion and to fund it with their taxes.

Among these parents, some want schools to include discussions of intelligent design and creationism some who write on this issue see intelligent design and creationism as conceptually distinct positions; others see no significant difference between them , while others would be content if schools skirted the issue altogether, refusing to teach anything at all about the origin of life or the evolution of species. Their opponents see the former proposal as an attempt to introduce an explicitly religious worldview into the classroom, hence one that runs afoul of the separation of church and state.

Nor would they be satisfied with ignoring the issue altogether, for evolution is an integral part of the framework of modern biology and a well-established scientific theory. Conflicts concerning religion and politics arise outside of curricular contexts, as well. For example, in France, a law was recently passed that made it illegal for students to wear clothing and adornments that are explicitly associated with a religion.

This law was especially opposed by students whose religion explicitly requires them to wear particular clothing, such as a hijab or a turban. The justification given by the French government was that such a measure was necessary to honor the separation of church and state, and useful for ensuring that the French citizenry is united into a whole, rather than divided by religion. However, it is also possible to see this law as an unwarranted interference of the state in religious practice. If liberty of conscience includes not simply a right to believe what one chooses, but also to give public expression to that belief, then it seems that people should be free to wear clothing consistent with their religious beliefs.

Crucial to this discussion of the effect of public policy on religious groups is an important distinction regarding neutrality.

Religion and Politics

The liberal state is supposed to remain neutral with regard to religion as well as race, sexual orientation, physical status, age, etc. In one sense, neutrality can be understood in terms of a procedure that is justified without appeal to any conception of the human good. In this sense, it is wrong for the state to intend to disadvantage one group of citizens, at least for its own sake and with respect to practices that are not otherwise unjust or politically undesirable.

Thus it would be a violation of neutrality in this sense and therefore wrong for the state simply to outlaw the worship of Allah. Alternatively, neutrality can be understood in terms of effect. The state abides by this sense of neutrality by not taking actions whose consequences are such that some individuals or groups in society are disadvantaged in their pursuit of the good.

For a state committed to neutrality thus understood, even if it were not explicitly intending to disadvantage a particular group, any such disadvantage that may result is a prima facie reason to revoke the policy that causes it. The attendance requirement may nevertheless be unavoidable, but as it stands, it is less than optimal. Obviously, this is a more demanding standard, for it requires the state to consider possible consequences—both short term and long term—on a wide range of social groups and then choose from those policies that do not have bad consequences or the one that has the fewest and least bad.

For most, and arguably all, societies, it is a standard that cannot feasibly be met. Consequently, most liberals argue that the state should be neutral in the first sense, but it need not be neutral in the second sense. Thus, if the institutions and practices of a basically just society make it more challenging for some religious people to preserve their ways of life, it is perhaps regrettable, but not unjust, so long as these institutions and practices are justified impartially.

In addition to examining issues of toleration and accommodation on the level of praxis , there has also been much recent work about the extent to which particular political theories themselves are acceptable or unacceptable from religious perspectives. Rather than requiring citizens to accept any particular comprehensive doctrine of liberalism, a theory of justice should aim at deriving principles that each citizen may reasonably accept from his or her own comprehensive doctrine. The aim, then, for a political conception of justice is for all reasonable citizens to be able to affirm principles of justice without having to weaken their hold on their own private comprehensive views.

One such argument comes from Eomann Callan, in his book Creating Citizens. If Rawlsian liberalism requires acceptance of the burdens of judgment, then the overlapping consensus will not include some kinds of religious citizens. Thus, a religious citizen could feel an acute conflict between her identity qua citizen and qua religious adherent.

One way of resolving the conflict is to argue that one aspect of her identity should take priority over the other. For many religious citizens, political authority is subservient to—and perhaps even derived from—divine authority, and therefore they see their religious commitments as taking precedence over their civic ones. But this tendency makes it more challenging for liberals to adjudicate conflicts between religion and politics.

One possibility is for the liberal to argue that the demands of justice are prior to the pursuit of the good which would include religious practice. If so, and if the demands of justice require one to honor duties of citizenship, then one might argue that people should not allow their religious beliefs and practices to restrict or interfere with their roles as citizens.

One recent trend in democratic theory is an emphasis on the need for democratic decisions to emerge from processes that are informed by deliberation on the part of the citizenry, rather than from a mere aggregation of preferences. As a result, there has been much attention devoted to the kinds of reasons that may or may not be appropriate for public deliberation in a pluralistic society. While responses to this issue have made reference to all kinds of beliefs, much of the discussion has centered on religious beliefs.

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One reason for this emphasis is that, both historically and in contemporary societies, religion has played a central role in political life, and often it has done so for the worse witness the wars of religion in Europe that came in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, for example. As such, it is a powerful political force, and it strikes many who write about this issue as a source of social instability and repression.

Another reason is that, due to the nature of religious belief itself, if any kind of belief is inappropriate for public deliberation, then religious beliefs will be the prime candidate, either because they are irrational, or immune to critique, or unverifiable, etc.