Religion and politics the european experience
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Religion and Politics: The European Experience. September 29, 2004. Religion and Politics: The European Experience. Secularization Separation of Religion and Politics Religious Freedom and Toleration. Three Types of Secularization. Forced Secularization Private Secularization

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Religion and Politics: The European Experience

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Religion and Politics: The European Experience

September 29, 2004

Religion and Politics: The European Experience

  • Secularization

  • Separation of Religion and Politics

  • Religious Freedom and Toleration

Three Types of Secularization

  • Forced Secularization

  • Private Secularization

  • Institutional Secularization

Institutional Secularization

  • Secular vs. Religious Law

  • State Welfare vs. Religious Charity

  • State Schools vs. Religious Schools

  • State Church vs. Religious Pluralism

  • State Religion vs. Religious Freedom

  • Civic Nationalism vs. Confessional Nationalism

Toleration and Religious Pluralism

  • Religious Belief No Bar to Public Office

  • Religious Discrimination Outlawed in Private Life

  • Religious Claims in Politics Are Not Trumps

  • All Faiths Are Equal

  • All Faiths Are Tolerated

The Diversity of European Secularization

  • Western Europe vs. Eastern Europe

  • Protestant Europe vs. Catholic Europe

  • Private Secularization and Religious Establishment: UK and Norway

  • Private Secularization and Religious Parties: Italy and Germany

  • Education and the State

Education and the State: Spain

  • Spain has no national law against wearing religious symbols in schools.

Education and the State: Britain

  • Britain does not have a law against wearing religious symbols in schools. Schools can insist on a uniform, but only if the policy is not aimed at a particular religion.

Education and the State: Germany

  • Germany has no national ban against headscarves or other religious symbols in schools, but many states have enacted such bans.

  • The German Supreme Court ruled in September 2003 that a woman could not be denied a teaching job for insisting on wearing her headscarf in the classroom.

  • Six of sixteen states have responded by passing laws that bar teachers and/or civil servants from wearing headscarves while at work.

  • Some of these state laws apply to all religious symbols, while others focus explicitly on Muslim symbols or make exceptions for Christian ones.

Education and the State: France

  • The state funds private religious education, including both Catholic and Muslim schools.

  • A March 2004 law prohibits the display of “ostensive religious symbols” in public schools. The new law covers Muslim headscarves, Jewish skullcaps, Sikh turbans, and large crosses.

Religion, State and Nation: The Historical Experience

  • Religion Provides Social Cohesion Prior to Emergence of Centralizing Monarchies

  • Centralizing States Must Control Religion In Order to Establish National Authority

  • Confessional Identity is the Root of National Identity

  • Some States Create National Authority By Religious Exclusion

  • Other States Create National Authority by Religious Toleration

Case Study: Spain

  • 1453: Fall of Constantinople

  • 1469: Union of Aragon and Castile

  • 1478: State Control of the Inquisition

  • 1492: Christian Capture of Granada

  • 1492: Expulsion of the Jews

  • 1492: Publication of First Vernacular Grammar in Spanish

  • 1492: Columbus Arrives in the New World

  • 1609: Expulsion of Moriscos


  • State Allies With but Also Subordinates the Church to Create National Unity

  • State Formation Through Exclusion: Jews and Moriscos

  • State Formation Through Empire

Protestantism as Politics

  • A Popular Revolt Against Church Authority

  • The Priesthood of All Believers

  • The Congregation vs. the Church

  • Render Unto Caesar. . .

  • The Role of the Godly Magistrate

Case Study: Germany

  • Protestantism Fragments Germany

  • Reformers Ally with Secular Princes to Survive the Peasants and the Catholic Counter-Attack

  • Reformers and the Godly Magistrate

  • 1559: Peace of Augsburg. Cuius Regio Eius Religio

  • 1648: Treaty of Westphalia. Sovereignty as Non-Interference in the Religious Politics of Other States

Case Study: England

  • 1520: Protestant Reformation

  • 1534: Henry VIII Defies the Papacy over Marriage

  • Tudor State Nationalizes the English Church

  • 1550’s: Marian Persecutions

  • 1580: Elizabeth Excommunicated by Pope

  • 1588: Elizabeth Defeats Catholic Spain

  • Protestantism and English National Identity

  • 1600-1640: Consolidation of Monarchical Authority vs. Protestant Popular Resistance

  • 1640-1660: Civil War as a Defeat Both for Puritan Extremism and Monarchical Absolutism

  • 1660: Limited Toleration as the Basis of Civil Order


  • State Formation Means Putting the Church in its Place

  • Putting the Church in its Place Provokes Conflict with Rome and Spain

  • External Enemies (Spain, Papacy) Enhance Protestant Religio-Nationalist Identity

  • Religious Civil War Establishes Limits on Monarchical Power; Limits on Religious Power

  • Toleration and Political Promise Keeping

  • Persistence of Protestantism as Basis of Exclusionary National Identity: Northern Ireland


  • 1520: Protestantism Challenges the Catholic Church and the King

  • 1540-1598: Civil War Devastates France

  • 1598: Edict of Nantes: Limited Toleration for Protestants

  • 1660-1714: Louis XIV Subdues the Church, Defeats the Nobility, Fights Protestant Holland

  • State Nationalizes Grain Supply, Poor Relief, Taxation and Administration

  • 1685: Revocation of the Edict of Nantes: “One King, One Law, One Faith”

  • 1789: La République One and Indivisible. “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”—and Secularité


  • Revolution Continues the Monarchy’s Project of One Nation, One Law, One People.

  • Identity is Secularized: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • Citizens Are Created by the State: The Ideal of Secular Education

  • Religion is Private, Politics is Public

  • Political Debate Must be Secular

The Future of Faith and Politics in Europe

  • Continuing Private Secularization of Faith

  • Increasing Salience of Islam in Europe

  • Religious Freedom vs. State Authority

  • Religious Pluralism vs. National Unity

The Lesson of the European Experience

  • State Formation and Secularization

  • Religion as a Source of Conflict

  • Toleration by Exhaustion

  • Pluralism and Religious Claims in Politics

  • Religions as Interest Groups

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