How Secular Are Western Governments’ Religion Policies?

In: Secular Studies

Abstract

This study examines government religion policy in 26 Western democracies between 1990 and 2014 using the Religion and State round 3 (RAS3) dataset to determine whether these policies can be considered secular. While many assume that the West and its governments are secular and becoming more secular, the results contradict this assumption. All Western governments support religion in some manner, including financial support. All but Canada restrict the religious practices and/or religious institutions of religious minorities. All but Andorra and Italy restrict or regulate the majority religion. In addition religious both governmental and societal discrimination against religious minorities increased significantly between 1990 and 2014. All of this indicates religion remains a prominent factor in politics and society in the West.

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