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RELATED RESOURCES: SECULARISM
Secularism and State Policies toward Religion: The United States, France and Turkey
January 1, 2009
The book Secularism and State Policies toward Religion explains variation in public policies regarding religion by analyzing the contrasting trajectories of the United States, France, and Turkey. In particular, Ahmet Kuru investigates why American state policies are tolerant of public religiosity, whereas French and Turkish policies often seek to restrict its public visibility. Kuru argues that the dominant ideology concerning religion in the United States is "passive secularism", which demands that the state remain uninvolved in religious affairs. In contrast, France and Turkey promote assertive secularism", which requires substantial state intervention and active regulation of religion. He argues that assertive secularism emerged as a reaction to pacts between monarchies and hegemonic religions during crucial periods in French and Turkish history, conditions that were absent in the United States.