Abstract and Keywords
An overwhelming majority of democracies, no matter how the concept of democracy is defined, restrict the religious practices and institutions of minority religions, substantially support religion, and give de jure and de facto preferences to a single religion or a few religions. Since so few democracies meet any standard of political secularism, political secularism is either not essential to liberal democracy or these countries’ status as liberal democracies must be questionable. Political secularism as an ideology is not as influential in the practical politics of democratic states as many believe. An important question is whether political secularism is the best model for democracy or whether the best models are those that integrate state support for religion with checks and balances that protect religious freedom.
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