129

You are looking at this through the eyes of a modern. Time for some history: One of the oldest European settlements on North America was made by Puritans, who were fleeing... government religious persecution*. One of the most influential groups in the formation of America were the Quakers, who came to America fleeing... government religious persecution. ...


126

You say these things don't happen when they do. Case in point, the notorious Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (9/11 mastermind and behind Daniel Pearl's execution) who WAS jailed in Egypt early in his life, had to flee Bosnia when intelligence had pinpointed him, and was finally captured and turned over to the US by Pakistan. In other words, he was targeted by Muslim ...


71

No, it isn't a contradiction under US law. This has been tested in the Federal Courts, see for example O'Hair v. Blumenthal, and Aronow v. United States. The basic reasoning is summarized in this paragraph from the Anonow case: It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency "In God We Trust" has nothing whatsoever to ...


49

Is this customary? Yes, there is a whole wiki on it. Obama had pastor Rick Warren at his inauguration. How does this align with a secular government? Isn't it one? The government is still secular. What makes the government secular is that a religious component is not a mandated component. You can become president without prayers. More importantly no ...


41

History Since 1933, prayer has been a consistent part of presidential inaugurations in America [Source: Newdow v Bush, Civil Action. Pg.7] . Since 1933 the President-Elect has visited a church for prayer prior to taking the oath of office, but since 1937 actual prayers have been offered during the inauguration itself. Secularism As noted in the question, ...


41

The main reason is game-theoretical asymmetry. If you "identify" (officially, as per self-label) as a Christian - or any other religion - non-religious people would most likely not decide to avoid voting for you based on that. There may be a small sliver of atheist zealots who would, but I seriously doubt it is enough to matter, especially in US First ...


38

Disclaimer: I'm not that versed in history, so the following might have factual mistakes. To understand the source of the American separation of church and state, you'll have to take a dive into history. Between the 16th and 18th century, Europe was in a state of religious turmoil. The ruler decided which religion his subjects would have to follow (Cuius ...


35

Without any stats to back my speculations, here are a few reasons why I would expect it to be that way: Stating the obvious but recent immigration to Europe included many people from countries where Islam is an important component of the culture (North Africa, West Africa, Turkey…) Christianity is on the retreat and losing ground to irreligion. To some ...


31

Let's assume that the United States is one of the countries where church and state are separated. Politicians can still care about papal opinion because some of their voters do. According to Wikipedia, roughly 20-25% of Americans are Catholic. That's more than are black or Hispanic, and those groups have political influence. In the US, five or six of ...


29

"Separation of church and state" is not actually required by the US Constitution. Wikipedia says that the phrase "separation of church and state" was first used by Thomas Jefferson in this letter in 1802, when he was President: Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other ...


28

My answer addresses the UK only. To answer the legality question, religious belief is covered by Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998: 1) Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to ...


27

It depends on your definition of communism - AND religion. Marx, as another answerer noted, officially denounced religion. This was for three distinct reasons: Organized religion (church) for hundreds of years was either a political power, or co-opted by another power (monarchs) to help pacify the oppressed lower classes. The official version of what was ...


26

There is no provision for delaying the outgoing president's departure. It would be possible for the outgoing vice president to resign and allow the incoming president to become vice president prior to the Sabbath. Then the outgoing president could resign and allow the incoming president to take office early. The outgoing president could choose to do ...


26

This is a Canada-specific answer, but one that is likely applicable to the US as well. Anti-discrimination laws (or more generally in Canada, human rights laws, although are some other examples of laws prohibiting discrimination in areas such as health and safety) prohibit discrimination on a range of specific protected characteristics. In Manitoba, for ...


26

This is a rather principialist question, and politics is a much more pragmatic field. Philosophically, yes, a State should not acknowledge a god, there are religions without gods, agnosticism and atheism. As the State should not endorse any particular group, the god question should be absent from the State sphere. Pragmatically, four out of five Americans ...


23

The state is separate, but the people aren't. And by and large, people can believe in anything and be swayed by anything they want. Say you're a practicing Catholic living in the US, and you're watching the Pope give an address to the Vatican Congregation. In this address, he says something like: "It is sinful to take from the needy to give to the rich". ...


22

Evidently, they do. There are a lot of Muslim countries who combat terrorism. I think Muslim governments are even more concerned with terrorism than anybody else and take very hard-line measures. Islamist terrorists routinely get imprisoned and executed. Moreover, the most of the "grassroots" popular revolutions in the majority-Muslim countries (Iraq, ...


22

The laws on "extremism" (first brought in in 2002, then amended in 2006 and 2007) are defined in the "The Federal Law on Combating Extremist Activity". However, it is up to the courts to interpret the law (except that swastikas are considered extremist without further interpretation). The law distinguishes between extremist activity (eg drawing a swastika on ...


22

Regarding your example of discriminating against a Jew, I think that is a uniquely bad example because there is an ambiguity in that Jews are both a religion and an ethnic group, moreover they have been victims of discrimination in the past so European societies (and their new-world descendants) tend to grant special protections to Jews on top of the general ...


18

As stated by the US Supreme Court in MASTERPIECE CAKESHOP, LTD., ET AL. v. COLORADO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION ET AL. (emphasis added): When it comes to weddings, it can be assumed that a member of the clergy who objects to gay marriage on moral and religious grounds could not be compelled to perform the ceremony without denial of his or her right to the ...


18

I mostly agree with Michael Broughton answer but I would to add an spin about the relationship between the Arab world and the West. To begin with, at one moment or the other, most of the Muslim countries have recently been Western colonies or protectorates (the most significance exceptions, Turkey and Persia -now Iran- also were under heavily hit). After ...


17

One country that used to have the religion on its national ID card until quite recently (the law changed in 2000, new ID cards without religion were issued from 2005 on) is Greece. So, does this happen in other countries? Yes, it does. Having religion mentioned on one's ID card enables a government (or a religious organisation) to discriminate between ...


17

I will try to explain as I was taught, so please bear with me. Separation of church and state is just that: The state should hold no powers over any church. Keep in mind that, while not a new concept back then, it was an unusual one. Many "states" like Spain, England, France, and so on were actually going through quite a bit of religious turmoil. It ...


15

First, there are atheist republicans, to answer your title. Not a lot, but there are. Elected politicians or political operatives Charles T. Beaird (1922–2006): Republican Party member/politician and newspaper publisher. Clint Eastwood, according to his biography. Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899) was a prominent Republican politician. Karl Rove, a major ...


14

There is no law in the US that says that holders of any office need to be of any particular religion, in fact, any such law would be unconstitutional. Being an Atheist of Muslim might fewer people vote for you, but if you do get enough votes, there is no law that says that you can't hold office due to religion.


14

TL;DR: NO but it's complicated The question as stated is somewhat misleading, because "religions ... that killed in the name of religion?" is not an absolute yes/no category but is a continuum. As examples on that continuum you have: Aztecs. This is where the religion itself centers on murder; with human sacrifice being demanded by the gods and a major ...


14

In the United States, if a health care provider's right to religious freedom is in direct conflict with a law that requires him/her to perform an abortion contrary to their religious beliefs, the courts would apply the legal standard of strict scrutiny to that case. To summarize, the following conditions would need to be met: The law must serve a "...


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