I don't know any democratic non-secular state. And I think that this is impossible.

Since if there is no separation between state and religion, it means that in such a democratic country the state religion should be the religion of the majority. However in any religion there are religious leaders who have authority over the people. So they would gain the most authority in such a state.

Is or was there any example of such a state?

  • 6
    How do you define democratic? Iran (and Saudi Arabia on the local level) holds elections but I'm fairly certain nobody would think of them as democratic as, for example, the US
    – user45891
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 10:06
  • 1
    I mean de facto. Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 10:22
  • 5
    Also, how do you define secular? For example, you might be surprised to learn that in some regions of France, ministers of four religions are paid by the state.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 21:17
  • 5
    @Shahar The degree to which Israel is secular or not secular is debateable, especially when comparing it to Britain. This question just isn't clear enough.
    – Publius
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 4:16
  • 2
    Many, if not most, of the original U.S. colonies/states were democratic and had state religions. It wasn't until the 14th amendment that states were required to grant religious freedom. Prior to the 14th, the Bill of Rights restricted only the actions of the federal government.
    – reirab
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 15:43

6 Answers 6


Wikipedia classifies United-Kingdom as "Ambiguous":

The Church of England is the established state religion of England, but there is no established church in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. Two Archbishops and 24 senior diocesan Bishops of the Church of England have seats in the House of Lords (the Lords Spiritual) and they can and do participate in debates and vote in divisions, which involve decisions affecting the entire United Kingdom. Parliament is opened with prayers, in the House of Lords usually led by one of the Lords Spiritual and in the Commons by the Speaker's chaplain.[119] The full term for the expression of the Crown's sovereignty via legislation is the Crown-in-Parliament-under-God. At the coronation, The King or Queen is anointed with consecrated oil by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a service at Westminster Abbey and must swear to maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel, maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law and to maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England. Thus though the Church of Ireland is no longer established and the Church of England has been disestablished in Wales to the Church in Wales, the Crown is still bound to protect Protestantism in general in the whole of the United Kingdom by the Coronation Oath and the Bill of Rights, and to protect the Church of Scotland by the Act of Union.[120] All Members of Parliament must declare their allegiance to the Queen in order to take their seat, although it is for the individual MP to decide whether to do so by swearing a religious oath or making a solemn affirmation.

But I have difficulties to see the ambiguity... It is of course a democratic state: they regularly elect their representatives, there was a legal referendum for the independance of Scotland recently,etc.

  • 6
    When it says "ambiguous" it's referring to whether the UK is a secular state. That IS ambiguous because it's seen as extremely bad taste to involve religion in politics and so is rarely done (rarer than the US, oddly enough). Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 14:10


Pakistan is said to be a democratic country. In fact, it is a democratic country, but Islam is the religion of the state. So it is often said to be a democratic Islamic country.


Nepal is also a democratic country but there the religion of the state is Hinduism. so it is said to be a Hindu state which is also democratic.


There are many more such examples. Such states are democratic in all other aspects: they give equal rights to their peoples. They are democratic states but they support a religion, usually that of the majority.

  • 1
    Nepal is no longer a Hindu state. Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 22:29
  • 1
    right....nepal is no longer a hindu state... Commented May 16, 2015 at 7:37
  • 2
    Pakistan, democratic?! Hahahahaha.... Good joke. -1 btw
    – Bregalad
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 14:18
  • 2
    why "good joke" dear......? pakistan is a democratic country..... i agree that the state of internal democracy in pak. is not very good at this time........but it will still be said a democractic country..... Commented May 17, 2015 at 17:57
  • 2
    Ok, compared to it's Afgaistan, Iran and Chineese neighbours it can be seen as a regional democracy within central Asia in the sense it's "less worse". But in truly international comparison it falls off as an authoritarian regime. It's also more or less at war with India over territory, so the regime is unstable.
    – Bregalad
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 7:54

Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat belts.


Germany is pretty democratic. It has general, direct, free, equal and secret ballots, separation of powers, a diverse press, political scandals, protests and demonstrations and political adherents which couldn't understand why the other adherents of the other party could vote them. So a boring normal democracy.

It is in fact so democratic that it ranks on the 13th place of the Democracy Index.

Let's imagine you have founded a certain religion. Once you are big and powerful enough...you may think: Hmmm, this whole business remembering the forgetful members to pay their membership fe...donations really irks me. Then the church tax comes to your rescue. Currently the income is approximately 10 billion euros.

You must register your religion as corporate body, then you are able to receive the income the tax office has collected from your members. You could also collect directly from your members (Blame yourself, then). If you don't want to pay the tax...well, then you go to the state office, tell them you ain't a member anymore and the church tax ceases. The religion will then normally barring you from religious services, e.g. a Christian burial (if you are Christ) and other sacraments. The highest German court came 2012 to the conclusion that this is legal. So you cannot say: I am a Catholic and I want to practice my religion, but I don't like the decisions of the higher members, so I don't pay tax. Nope.

Which leads us to an amazing topic: Religious education. Schools are offering what we call here Religionsunterricht. Girls and boys learn about the stories in the Bible in the first years and later discuss themes like death, drug problems, etc. etc. In Bavaria you are also reminded on their Christian background because the cross hangs on the wall. Uh, no, no, not only during the religious education...always. Isn't this unconstituitional ? Well, our highest German court said 1995: yes. And the Bavarians ignored the verdict completely, so business as usual.

And when you are not Christian ? Well, then you have alternative lessons. The lessons are graded, compulsory and accessed. So you can be left on the shelf if you get a 6 (the worst grade in Germany) in religious education. Until 10 the parents decide if you join religious education, after 12 you can veto the decision as child, after 14 you can left a religion by yourself.

How could we ? Well, simple, religion has no importance on German life. It is seen as own private choice, you could switch your religion anytime and if the education gives children a positive meaning of life, the better. And because the religious education aims to be tolerant, religious extremism is very rare (Yes, parents would strongly object that the part which stoning homosexuals should be teached to children).

When you have recovered enough, the next lesson of "What I never wanted to know about Germany" is: What a Personalausweis is, that you must have one and what a Einwohnermeldeamt does.

  • And to make matter worse Germany kinda has state sanctioned religions - Scientology is watched over by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution
    – user45891
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 7:25
  • @user45891 Forgot that with Co$. Maybe because outlawing extreme right-wing organizations for history reasons is common. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution should target extreme organizations, especially from the right-wing sector. Or I should say it is supposed to do that. Commented May 18, 2015 at 18:57
  • And they can't outlaw the NPD because that would severely damage our unemployment statistics... Well, it was always staffed with Nazis, no wonder it is less active towards the extreme right.
    – user45891
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 19:18
  • I removed the US quips after a suggested edit. For anyone who does not know why, the matter is: Due to their heritage as safe heaven for religious extremists the USA is extremely secular and very sensitive to perceived violations of neutrality. Americans have really problems to understand why other democratic nations do this . Commented May 18, 2015 at 19:26
  • So Germany is not as secular as, say, its neighbour to the west, but as long as you do not claim that that makes it non-secular, I do not see how this is relevant to the question.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 17:05

Zambia. Politics in Zambia take place under a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Zambia is both head of state and head of government in a pluriform multi-party system. The government exercises executive power, while legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. Zambia became a republic immediately upon attaining independence from British colonial authority in October 1964 (Wikipedia).

At the same time Zambia is a Christian State, having been declared so by then President Dr Frederick Chiluba at State House on 29th December 1991. The declaration was later incorporated into the Constitution in 1996.

The first paragraph of the preamble to the Constitution states, "We the people of Zambia in exercise of our constituent power; Acknowledge the supremacy of God Almighty; Declares the Republic a Christian nation while upholding the right of every person to enjoy that person's freedom of conscience or religion."


Until 2000 Sweden had a State Church and Lutheranism was therefore the state religion of Sweden.


Denmark is a non-secular country, officially, though in surveys more than 50% answered to be an atheist. Nevertheless, by definition Denmark fits into that box

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .