Religion Past and Present

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State and Religion
(2,721 words)

[German Version]

I. The Problem

In Western societies, the relationship between the state and religion is determined less by religion’s constitutional status – freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional right everywhere – than by historical tradition. Where the major confessional bodies were (or still are) state churches, there is still a hierarchy of religions. Without regard to actual religious life, the state gives traditional religions a special status, ma…

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Besier, Gerhard, Herms, Eilert and Kleine, Christoph, “State and Religion”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 11 August 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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