State and Religion in the Post

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State and Religion in the Post
State and Religion in the Post-Communist
European Countries
Giovanni Barberini
Abstract
At present regimes of religious freedom represent a relevant element of stability and
agreement in the States of European Union. The process of Europe integration recent involved
some important States of the central-eastern Europe formerly governed by legal, systems
based on Marxism and Leninism. In this project we refer to Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Czech
Republìc, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These States, even differently each from the
other, are hardly conforming to the Europe standards. After fifteen years from the downfall of
the communist regimes, these countries made great progress to obtain the rules of law and
freedom guarantees. Problems concerning the relationship between a "young" liberal and
democratic system and the religious communities, which obtained a juridical recognition
formerly denied, have also to be set in this frame. In particular, a regime of religious freedom
has progressively established itself, even by issuing specific laws based on the new
Constitutions. This regime, however, has to get stability and consolidation enough to
effectively contribute to common welfare, goodwill among social groups, tolerance and
ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, that represents a fundamental element of social
peace. In some countries the dialogue between State and Churches and religious communities
is still difficult because of the permanence of a conflict concerning the restitution of the church
endowments confiscated during the communist regime. Moreover, the administrative
apparatus sometimes still keeps (even in various ways) a position of State control. Putting into
effect the rules today in force is the fundamental exigence and it is not easy to be done in
those States coming from autoritarian regimes lasted for a long time and on which social
conflicts of religious nature left their mark. This perspective is also relevant in the States of
central-eastern Europe, characterized by the presence of minorities different from their
nationality or ethnic origin as well as from their religion and language.
La “laïcité” en Europe:
«à la française» ou «à l’italienne»?
Perspectives interculturelles
Francesco Margiotta Broglio
Abstract
Très récemment Jean Baubérot a attirée l’attention sur la laïcité interculturelle que le Québec est en train
de construire dans l’espace francophone de l’Amérique du Nord pour «édifier un vivre-ensemble laïque
tenant compte du caractère pluriculturel des sociétés démocratique modernes». A son avis le système de
l’«accommodement raisonnable» en cours d’expérimentation au Québec rend possible une sortie de
l’alternative désastreuse du «tout ou rien», face au demandes des minorités.
Du point de vue historique l’Italie unifiée du siècle XIXe avait été obligée d’imaginer un
«accommodement raisonnable» pour adapter sa loi à la présence écrasante de la papauté (souveraine
jusqu’à 1870) et de la religion catholique «religion de l’état» selon la Constitution de Charles Albert
(Statuto Albertino du 1848) et pour rétablir l’égalité des cultes minoritaires et des individus.
Au-delà de ces questions très italiennes, des changements majeurs sont en cours dans tous les pays de
l'Union Européenne. Je me permets de vous renvoyer su ce sujet aux travaux du Consortium Européen
sur les relations Églises É tats qui publie un bilan annuel dans sa Revue et un volume annuel consacré
aux principaux aspects des développements en cours. Les travaux de la Commission Stasi, de la
Commission Machelon et d'un group de parlementaires socialistes concernant la France; les travaux de la
Commission Nationale Consultative italienne pour la liberté religieuse; le débats en cours en Espagne
au sujet de l'enseignement religieux dans les écoles publiques et du financement de l'Église
catholique; les doutes croissants de l'Église anglicane sur le caractère «établi» de la religion
anglicane, constituent autant d'exemples de ces développements actuels. Ajoutons à tout cela la
présence croissante de l'Islam dans les pays européens qui a obligé tous nos gouvernements à
réfléchir de nouveau sur le statut des cultes. L'expérience espagnole (Accord de coopération avec la
Commission musulmane d'Espagne) tout comme les expériences française ou belge d'un conseil
représentatif de l'Islam sont particulièrement utiles aux administrations de tous les États membres de
l'Union.
Avant de vous écouter, je m'interroge sur la possibilité de parvenir à un concept européen de
laïcité. Mis à part le fait qu'il est impossible de traduire ce terme en anglais et étant donne la
nécessité d'ex traire ce concept de son contexte historique, de la place de la religion dans nos
sociétés et de nos traditions constitutionnelles, il faut reconnaître qu'au-delà de la neutralité de
l'État, du principe de liberté de religion et de non-religion et de l'interdiction de toute discrimination
fondée sur la religion ou les convictions, reconnus par tous les Etat membres, les «laïcités
européennes» se distinguent profondément les unes des autres. Pour ne citer que quelques
exemples, on peut bien sûr parler d'une laïcité à la française mais encore d'une laïcité à la turque,
à la belge, à l'italienne (etc....), qui cherchent à organiser le système social en dissociant la
citoyenneté et l'appartenance religieuse. Le cas italien en est un bon exemple: en présence d'un
régime de dialogue formalisé avec les cultes (concordat avec l'Église catholique et ententes avec les
autres confessions), la Cour constitutionnelle a fondé ses décisions les plus récentes sur le «principe
suprême de laïcité» qui «implique non pas l'indifférence de l'État à l'égard des religions, mais la
garantie de sauvegarde de la liberté religieuse dans un régime de pluralisme confessionnel et
culturel» ainsi que son «impartialité envers toutes 1es confessions religieuses».
Church and State in Northern Europe
Marco Ventura
Abstract
Northern Europe is usually perceived as a contented region in terms of church and state relationships. In this
workshop we will focus on Nordic countries and the United Kingdom, which means, in both cases, on social,
political and legal systems widely acknowledged as the most developed in the world in protecting the religious
freedom of individuals and groups alike. The US Department of State Annual Report on Religious Freedom in
the world regularly classifies the area as one of the most respectful for freedom of faith and belief. Where they
still exist, as in England and Denmark, established churches are not an obstacle to the widespread recognition
of rights and equality to religious minorities; on the contrary mainstream churches play a fundamental role in
facilitating public policies aimed at social integration and cohesion. Individual and collective rights concerning
the practice of religion are well recognised; and co-operation between faith communities and state agencies is
successful and productive (see for example the document of the UK Home Office Faith Communities Unit,
Working Together: Cooperation between Government and Faith Communities, February 2004).
The countries of Northern Europe have engaged with the general European move towards integration and
human rights either by promoting change in domestic regulations (note the Finnish Religious Freedom Act,
Swedish disestablishment, Irish constitutional reforms such as the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution Act of
1972 which removed from the Constitution the special position of the Catholic Church) or by adjusting to
European standards (see the Human Rights Act 1998 in the UK or the Lindqvist case determined by the
European Court of Justice in 2003 concerning the impact on faith communities of Swedish regulations on
privacy).
But for the last few years, Northern Europe has not been spared the global turmoil affecting the interaction of
politics and religion. The spread of Islam poses significant challenges to countries with a high number of
immigrants from Muslim countries. The 2005 London bombings and the cartoons of Mohammad in Denmark are
just the tip of the iceberg: the optimistic expansion of multi-cultural societies placing confidence in the
respectful plurality of religion seems to be illusive.
Globalisation, multiculturalism and Islam are not the only current issues in Northern Europe. Deep changes in
Christianity also affect the relationships between church and state requiring debate and response. The role of
Christian churches, both minorities and majorities, is under review as well as their legal status with regard to
education, family, life sciences, gender, immigration and the economy. Discussions within churches are
matched by broader anxieties about how to combine faith and political action on both the individual and the
social level. The personal trajectory of Tony Blair converting to the Catholic faith after the end of his political
mandate and now promoting interfaith dialogue in highly sensitive areas exemplifies the increasing importance
of religion in political life. The interaction between law, politics and religion needs also to be understood in the
specific secularised context championed by Northern Europe, for which Grace Davie suggested the paradigm of
“believing without belonging”.
The task of this workshop is to seek understand the changing picture of church and state in Northern Europe
and to engage critically with the challenges which it presents.
The two speakers will be asked to answer three sets of questions:
1)
What are the key features of the traditional understanding of church state relations in Northern Europe?
2)
what has changed in the last decades and what is likely to change in the near future?
3)
to what extent are globalisation and European integration likely affect the development of church and
state relations in the future?

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