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Religious Freedom in the Liberal State$
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Rex Ahdar and Ian Leigh

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606474

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606474.001.0001

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Models of Religion–State Relations

Models of Religion–State Relations

(p.87) 4Models of Religion–State Relations
Religious Freedom in the Liberal State

Rex Ahdar

Ian Leigh

Oxford University Press

This chapter surveys the various types of interaction between religion and government. The object is not to posit yet another typology of religion-state relations, but to consider which model or models best advance religious freedom in a liberal state. These models include theocracy, Erastianism, separationism and secularism, religious ‘establishment’, Pluralist models, neutrality models, and the competitive market model. Overall, it is difficult to single out one model of the religion-state relationship as indisputably the best in terms of religious freedom. Several systems — mild establishment, pluralism, and substantive neutrality — seem to score highly in that they recognize that a measure of interaction and cooperation between government and religious communities is useful. Others, by contrast, such as theocracy and Erastianism, can be safely rejected as inimicable with religious freedom. Some models, such as separationism, deserve at best only cautious approval. Its secularist philosophy can in practice produce a climate of hostility to religion and its free exercise.

Keywords:   church-state, theocracy, Erastaniasm, religious establishment, pluralism, secularism, neutrality, equal regard, religious competition

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