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3 Tutorials that teach Separation of Church and State
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Separation of Church and State

Separation of Church and State

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This lesson will provide an understanding of the concept of the separation of church and state.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Let's take a look now at the separation of church and state. A lot of countries around the world have seen fit to put a wall of separation between religious bodies and the government so that they can ensure that there's freedom of religion, and that religion doesn't actually take over the functions of government. So we could say that in these countries there's an enforced distance between organized religion and the secular authority.

There are procedures and structures in place to ensure that the two do not become one. So in the United States, for example, in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, there are two clauses the free exercise clause and the anti-establishment clause that prevent the United States government preferencing any one religious body and that keep the government from establishing an official state religion.

We often think about the United States when it comes to separation of church and state. However, there are other countries in the world that, maybe they have an official state religion, but it has a very marginal effect on the society, or other societies that are officially secular. So Turkey, for example, is a heavily Muslim country. It has a very large Muslim population, but it's officially a secular state, so it's not run according to Sharia Law.

China, I think, is one only countries that has tried various different iterations of the relationship between religion and government. Starting with the Han dynasty in China, Confucianism was the official religion of the country, and was for many, many centuries. And then, of course, with the socialist revolution, China officially practice atheism and religions were heavily persecuted.

Today, there's sort of a gradual thawing of religious freedom in China, and gradually the strictures that are placed on religions are being eliminated. So the number of religions that are being practiced in China has gradually increased. But they've had all three ways, from a state religion, to official atheism, to a gradual freedom of religion.

Thank you for watching this tutorial on the separation of church and state. We said that societies around the world separate church and state in order to provide some distance between organized religion and the governance of the country to ensure religious freedom and to make sure that religion doesn't take over the role of the state. This might vary depending on their view of the appropriate role for religion in society. We gave some examples of modern countries that develop a position of separation of church and state.

Notes on "Separation of Church and State"

Terms to Know

Separation of Church and State

The creation of separate religious and secular spheres in a society.

Secular

Pertaining to the world; not linked to religiosity.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Separation of Church and State

    The creation of separate religious and secular spheres in a society.

  • Secular

    Pertaining to the world; not linked to religiosity.