Separation of church and state  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
irreligion, atheism, freethought

The separation of church and state is a concept defining the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state. It may refer to creating a secular state, with or without explicit reference to such separation, or to changing an existing relationship of church involvement in a state (disestablishment).

Although the concept of separation has been adopted in a number of countries, there are varying degrees of separation depending on the applicable legal structures and prevalent views toward the proper relationship between religion and politics. While a country's policy may be to have a definite distinction between church and state bodies, there may be an "arm's length distance" relationship in which the two entities interact as independent organizations. A similar but typically stricter principle of laïcité has been applied in France and Turkey, while some socially secularized countries such as Denmark and the United Kingdom have maintained constitutional recognition of an official state religion. The concept parallels various other international social and political ideas, including secularism, disestablishmentarianism, 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.

The degree of separation varies from total separation mandated by a constitution, as in India and Singapore, to an official religion with total prohibition of the practice of any other religion, as in the Maldives.

See also

American examples

Historical:

General




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Separation of church and state" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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