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Church, State, and Democracy in Expanding Europe$
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Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195337105

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337105.001.0001

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(p.85) 6 Latvia
Church, State, and Democracy in Expanding Europe

Lavinia Stan

Lucian Turcescu

Oxford University Press

Although legislation expressly separates church and state, the Latvian authorities have unofficially distinguished new religions from the “traditional” Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Old Believers, Baptist, and Jewish denominations, which have permanent seats on the Ministry of Justice's Advisory Committee for Religious Affairs, and the right to offer religion classes in public schools. Latvia is the only Baltic country that institutionalized relations between religious groups and the government, which seeks the opinion of the Advisory Council of Traditional Confessions, the New Religions Consultative Council, and the Ecclesiastical Council. Religion instruction in pre-university public schools was reintroduced as an elective subject immediately after the country declared its independence, but proposals to teach religion in an ecumenical, all-inclusive manner have been rejected in favor of allowing denominations the freedom to decide the content of religion classes.

Keywords:   Latvia, religious groups, religious instruction, new religions

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