Talk:Secular state

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Uzbekistan secular?[edit] Based on the article, Uzbekistan does not have freedom of religion. Hence, can it really be called a secular state?


Feast days aren't christian, those are pagan and older than christian conversion by Roman empire. Easter refers indeed to pagan god Eostre, although the French naming Paques refers to a Hebrew feast. And even those like free Monday named Easter and Pentecost do not match any religious celebration that take place on Sunday. Moreover whereas lot of Christian tradition states celebrates Easter week with Holy Thursday and Friday, those are not holydays in France.

About private schools, there´s no rule or exception for religion, just catholic teaching is a strong historical movement that has outnumbered other private initiatives. A contractual relation upon specific rules has to be set, muslim school has started for instance but many simply fail to comply with official programs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gollan (talkcontribs) 05:17, 10 October 2018 (UTC)


The Irish constitution recognises certain religions especially Catholicism - How is it secular?

- I'm pretty sure the Rainbow Coalition did away with that in the 70's.
There is still plenty of Catholic dominance, Ireland is de jure secular.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:39, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
The Irish constitution claims (Article 44.2.1º) not to endow any religion. But there are plenty of references to God/Religion (particularly Christianity) elsewhere in said document - especially the preamble. The rainbow coalition was the 1994-97. The fifth amendment was in 1973. (talk) 19:28, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

East Timor is a secular state even if the word "secular" is not mentioned. East Timor should be added to the list and map of secular states.[edit]

According to the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor:

Section 12 (Relationship between the State and religious denominations)

1. There shall be no official religion of the State.

2. The State shall respect the different religious denominations, which are free in their organisation and in the exercise of their own activities, to take place in due observance of the Constitution and the law.

3. The State shall promote the cooperation with the different religious denominations that contribute to the well-being of the people of East Timor.

4. The religious denominations have the right to possess and to acquire assets for the achievement of their objectives.

The first paragraph of section 12 of the East Timorese Constitution which forbids the establishment of an official religion of the State, and the second, third and fourth paragraphs of section 12 which correspond with the arguement in the previous paragraph that "A secular state is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion.", perfectly shows that the state of East Timor is secular. The lack of the word "secular" in a constitution does not always and automatically apply that a state is not secular. The content of section 12 of the East Timorese Constitution definately proves it otherwise. Therefore East Timor should be added to the list and map of secular states.

I add the following with reference with respect to Sri Lanka-Request to update the map[edit]

"Sri Lanka" with the reference from: Encyclopaedia Britannica 2009 Student & Home Electronic Edition, and

Sri Lanka is considered as a secular sate under its constitution. Therefore legally Sri Lanka IS a secular state regardless of what the political party in power support. For example, Mr. Bush supports Christianity like Sri Lanka's current PM and President supports Buddhism. But it is NOT in the Constitution of Sri Lanka. Britannica 2009 Student & Home Electronic Edition also noted that. Please update the map. Also check the SL government site on its constitution at:

New Zealand (again)[edit]

I see now that the editor who most recently removed NZ was referring to the Monarch when they said "Head of State", rather than the Prime Minister. All the same, the fact that New Zealand has no established religion and has total freedom of religion suggests that it should be considered at least ambiguous, if not entirely secular. -- Fyrael (talk) 20:57, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

This is bonkers. You want to keep New Zealand in listed without equivocation, despite it being a state with zero guarantees of state secularism whatsoever, and keep out the United States, which is the global exemplar of a secular state enshrined in constitution and maintained through the courts (though imperfect). What's ambiguous about New Zealand? You would be hard-pressed to find an authoritative, reliable to source to claim it was a secular state, far less to put into the WP:OR "ambiguous states" section and in that section list all the ways in which New Zealand is non-secular. Generally this points to a broader problem with this article, which is the inconsistent definition used of a secular state (one expansive enough to catch Canada and Spain, which do not purport to be secular states but have do have constitutional clauses about freedom of religion, but also strict enough that it queries the USA's black-and-white constitutional secularity).Zythe (talk) 09:47, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Secularism is the opposite of theocracy. So whatever isn't like theocracy, it's secular. Tgeorgescu (talk) 13:43, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
It's very clearly not as simple as "whatever isn't a theocracy". For what it's worth, I totally agree with Zythe that the bulk of this article is a pile of original research, and based on the previous talk sections there's plenty of other editors who feel the same. It would be nice to just say that we will only include those countries with reliable sources calling them secular, but then you run into the issue of sources saying conflicting things, which I think is how we ended up with an Ambiguous section (and also how the US ended up there). I actually do think the US should be listed as plainly secular, but because it's been discussed more than once before, I didn't feel it should be a unilateral decision (and again, it very definitely shouldn't be left under both sections). Ultimately, I wouldn't be opposed to a large purge where only very specifically cited countries remain in the list, but still a section similar to Ambiguous (maybe "Disputed"?) for when there are conflicting sources that specifically claim both secular and non-secular. -- Fyrael (talk) 15:07, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
The US is the archetypal secular state. Moreso than any other on this list other than France - moreso than Turkey or India, which are the third and fourth examples of modern ostensibly secular states. It could have a hatnote on it to explain in detail but we shouldn't confuse the US's constitutional secularism either with its highly religious population or with American traditions that violate or conflict with the Establishment Clause (like 'In God We Trust') (which are, in any case, amenable to court challenge down the line).
Separately, the claim that whatever state is not a theocracy is a secular state is simply untrue. England has an established religion in two of four of its constituent nations and bishops in its national parliament but is not a "theocracy"; Germany and New Zealand and Greece and Poland are examples of states with highly discriminatory laws on matters of religion, but they are in no way secular states or theocracies.
Perhaps the article would benefit from more definitions of a secular state? Andrew Copson offers probably the most balanced discussion of different definitions in his recent Secularism (2017).Zythe (talk) 10:40, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
A more thorough definition would probably be more beneficial than almost any list changes we make. And for what it's worth, the only thing that could muddy the secular-ness of the US in my opinion is the fact that the Constitution purposely leaves very many powers up to individual states and that several states have enacted non-secular laws, such as barring atheists from holding public office. Although as far as I know, all such laws have been struck down by the courts. (and again, adding this kind of detail probably counts as WP:OR, so I'm not advocating for putting it in) -- Fyrael (talk) 17:09, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
"Secular state" means different things to different people. Perhaps we should acknowledge that there is no unique definition of it. Tgeorgescu (talk) 17:40, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
No we should not. It has an original definition. It is not "the opposite of theocracy" it is a distinct position of its own and there are many states that are both firmly non-theocratic and absolutely not secular (Lebanon). Some governments (Malaysia) took the word and tried to change it so that they can pull off the impossible balance of appeasing both foreigners by pretending to be progressive and tolerant and pluralistic, while at the same time pandering to intolerant and anti-pluralistic religious conservatives at home. In no way are we endorsing this. Side note: the US is emphatically NOT a model secular state (for crying out loud, atheists are banned from office in some states [[1]] -- even though this is usually not enforced, it is clearly not a "model").-Calthinus (talk) 22:04, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
I mean....they're not "usually not enforced". As I said and the article specifies, those laws have been declared unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. So, at the federal level at least the US is consistently secular. -- Fyrael (talk) 03:33, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
Constitutionally, the US federally is secular. Both at the state and local levels, in its education (there is a whole body of literature going back decades about "Christian privilege" in the education system, not to mention the whole evolution debate) and its very Christian political culture, there are complications. Overall it is a secular country. What it absolutely is not is a "model". --Calthinus (talk) 16:51, 18 September 2018 (UTC)