Varieties of State-Church Relations and Religious Freedom through Three Case Studies
33 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 10, 2017
This Article attempts to answer the questions: Is secularism a nonnegotiable aspect of liberal constitutionalism? And can nonsecular state-church relationship models guarantee freedom of religion as an indispensable condition of liberal constitutionalism? Hence this Article deals with the practice of religious freedom in countries representing distinct models of state-church relations from both a normative/theoretical and an empirical perspective. The normative part of the Article examines the different models of state-religion relationships, while the empirical part will compare different national constitutional regulations on religious rights in three countries: Hungary (which became a liberal democracy after 1989-90 but has been backsliding into an illiberal constitutional system since 2010); Israel (a liberal democracy with a very special accommodationist model); and Egypt (a country that between 2011 and 2013 started to build up a democratic system with an illiberal theocratic constitutionalism). The hypothesis for my project is that the model of state–religion relations determines the state of religious freedom of a given country: The secular separationist model is by definition tolerant towards all religions, while the theocratic model is necessarily intolerant towards minority religions. But the three case studies should give an answer to the question raised in the title of this panel: at least from the perspective of freedom of religion, whether secularism is a nonnegotiable aspect of liberal constitutionalism.
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