The Challenge Of Pluralism: Church And State In Five Democracies

The Challenge Of Pluralism: Church And State In Five Democracies

The Challenge of Pluralism: Church and State in Five Democracies

Now in a thoroughly revised and updated edition, this essential text offers a rigorous, systematic comparison of church-state relations in the United States, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, and England. As successful and stable political democracies, these five countries share a commitment to protecting the religious rights of their citizens. Yet as the book demonstrates, each has taken substantially different approaches to resolving basic church-state questions. Stephen V. Monsma and J. Christopher Soper examine the historical roots of those differences and explain how each state addresses contemporary church-state issues. The authors judge each government's success in protecting the religious rights of its citizens using a framework based on the ideal of governmental neutrality or evenhandedness toward people of all faiths and of none.

Providing clarity on the little-understood, evolving relationship between church and state in the West, this book provides an invaluable comparative analysis of a topic that is increasingly a source of profound political and social conflict. Monsma and Soper conclude that the American conception of church-state separation, with its traditional emphasis on avoiding government establishment of religion, actually discriminates against religious groups by denying access to government...

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