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The Necessity of Secularist Regimes

University of Glasgow

Secularist regimes are the subject of vigorous debate in many countries: France, USA, Turkey, India and others. What are the defining features of secularism (or laîcité)? Very often we reach for some institutional definition, like 'the separation of church and state', or 'neutrality of the state.' But in fact, we need to define better the goals or values we are trying to foster or defend by these institutions. The centre of gravity of secularist regimes is changing in our day, and this is a positive development.