Interdisciplinary Studies at Work: Models of Church-State Relations in Eastern Europe
This presentation reports on original research conducted in Eastern Europe. Based on the systematic collection and analysis of data, the analysis identified the competing models of church-state relations proposed in new democracies by the political elite, the religious majority and religious minority groups, and the civil society. While the literature to date has looked at the relationship between states and one religious denomination at a time, or discussed the compatibility with democracy of major religions, we argue that post-communist models of church-state relations can be identified at the country level and they fall into three major categories based on a) political representation for church leaders, b) governmental subsidies, c) registration of religions by the state, and d) religious instruction in public schools. In the Czech church-state separation model religion and politics are treated as distinct areas of human endeavor, the government is secular, and religion is a private matter. The pluralist model of Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania sees society as made up of complementary autonomous spheres each worthy of recognition and support from the state. In the dominant religion model the religious majority is given precedence over other groups. Informally, Poland, Romania and Estonia maintain privileged ties to their religious majorities. This presentation describes some of the challenges of conducting interdisciplinary exploratory research.
Keywords: Religion and Politics, Church-State Relations, Post-Communist Democratization
Dr. Lavinia Stan
Professor, Department of Political Science, Concordia University
Dr. Lucian Turcescu
Professor, Theology Department, Concordia University