Secular Constitutions? the State-Religion-Relationship in National Constitutions

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Kathrin BEHRENS, Heinrich Heine Universitat Dusseldorf, Germany
The separation between state and religion is integral part of what can be called the western type of modern secularity. The relationship between the newly formed nation-states in Europe and religion, respectively churches, has its legacy in the Treaty of Westphalia establishing the “unity in diversity”. However, these relationships have taken on different forms during the course of the national histories. One way to study the diverse state-religion-relationships comprises of analysing the formal descriptions provided by the nation-states’ constitutions. As constitutions incorporate basic rules, regulations and values of a society, they additionally mirror the nations’ self-understanding, which potentially reflect the status of secularity at the time of their enactment. The presentation focuses on the regulations concerning freedom of individual religiosity, consciousness and worshipping as well as religious institutions (as churches, communities or parishes) and their rights and duties. The presentation contains results of a unique explorative, quantitative analysis of constitutional texts and contributes to the comparison of state-religion-relationships in different national and cultural contexts. Thereby, the formal distinction of secularity and religion as constitutional regulations of the state-religion-relationship is highlighted. The comparison between constitutions of countries from different continents reveals that the separation between state and religion in fact is a feature of a particular westernized modernity.