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Religion, Rights And Secular Society

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Religion, Rights And Secular Society

European Perspectives

Peter Cumper , Tom Lewis

Edited by Peter Cumper, University of Leicester, UK and Tom Lewis, Nottingham Trent University, UK

2012 352 pp Hardback 978 1 84980 367 0
ebook isbn 978 1 78195 349 5

Hardback £93.00 on-line price £83.70


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‘Religion, Rights and Secular Society by Peter Cumper and Tom Lewis is a both timely and important publication. In a series of highly interesting and well-written essays – some of which are case studies covering many different European nations whereas others are more theoretical – the book looks at a key paradox in contemporary Europe: the relatively high levels of secularity in most European countries on the one hand, and the marked resurgence of religion in public debates on the other. While never pretending that there are ready answers to the problems of reconciling secular and religious values in Europe, the contributors make it quite clear that Europeans need to return to questions about religion that they had previously regarded as being settled. This is food for thought at a very high level!’
– Helle Porsdam, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Contributors: S. Bacquet, P. Cumper, E. Daly, G. Davie, P.W. Edge, A.C. Emilianides, T. Lewis, T. Loenen, V.A. Lykes, J. Mertus, M. Moravcíková, J.S. Nielsen, E. Relaño Pastor, J.T. Richardson, G. Robbers, R. Uitz, M. van den Brink, M. Ventura

Further information

This topical collection of chapters examines secular society and the legal protection of religion and belief across Europe, both in general and more nation-specific terms.

The expectations of many that religion in modern Europe would be swept away by the powerful current of secularization have not been realised, and today few topics generate more controversy than the complex relationship between religious and secular values. The ‘religious/secular’ relationship is examined in this book, which brings together scholars from different parts of Europe and beyond to provide insights into the methods by which religion and equivalent beliefs have been, and continue to be, protected in the legal systems and constitutions of European nations. The contributors’ chapters reveal that the oft-tumultuous legacy of Europe’s relationship with religion still resonates across a continent where legal, political and social contours have been powerfully shaped by faith and religious difference.

Covering recent controversies such as the Islamic headscarf, and the presence of the crucifix in school class-rooms, this book will appeal to academics and students in law, human rights and the social sciences, as well as law and policy makers and NGOs in the field of human rights.

Full table of contents


1. Introduction: Freedom of Religion and Belief – the Contemporary Context
Peter Cumper and Tom Lewis

2. The Netherlands: Neutral But Not Indifferent
Marjolein van den Brink and Titia Loenen

3. Secularism and Establishment in the United Kingdom
Peter W. Edge

4. Law, Religion and Belief in Germany
Gerhard Robbers

5. Religion in the Constitutional Order of the Republic of Ireland
Eoin Daly

6. Religion and Secular Values in Spain: A Long Path to a Real Religious Pluralism
Eugenia Relaño Pastor

7. The Rise and Contradictions of Italy as a Secular State
Marco Ventura

8. Religious Freedom in a Secular Society: An Analysis of the French Approach to Manifestation of Beliefs in the Public Sphere
Sylvie Bacquet

9. Secularism, Law and Religion Within the Cypriot Legal Order
Achilles C. Emilianides

10. The Pendulum of Church–State Relations in Hungary
Renata Uitz

11. Law, Religion and Belief in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland
Michaela Moravcíková

12. Human Rights and Religion in the Balkans
Julie Mertus

13. Understanding Religion in Europe: A Continually Evolving Mosaic
Grace Davie

14. Islam and Secular Values in Europe: From Canon to Chaos?
Jørgen S. Nielsen

15. Legal Considerations Concerning New Religious Movements in the ‘New Europe’
James T. Richardson and Valerie A. Lykes


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