Islam and Secularism in France

Throughout history the relationship between religion and politics has vacillated with ongoing disputes about the power and influence of religious institutions in secular, political, and social affairs, and with encroachment of religion in the everyday life of citizens. If religion has brought consolation, religious disputes have also been the cause of hostility and warfare that has decimated populations as in the destructive 30 Years War (1618-48) that killed a third of the German population. Agreement was slow to come, but in contemporary democratic countries there is now a general consensus on the desirability of a distinction, a separation between the political and the religious realms. For the state and for individuals in those countries, religious belief is a private matter separate from their political opinions or public status as citizens. The problem, however is that dissociation between the two realms is never complete. It is still undeniable that religious beliefs often...(Read Full Article)