Secularism in France

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CONFERENCE: Scholars Week

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Linck, Laura
Cultural History; History of Religion; Other French and Francophone Language and Literature; Political History
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Through a historical analysis of religion and French government policy, this paper attempts to explain how secular policies have influenced French religious culture. While avoiding an in depth look at religion, the research focuses on how exactly religion has historically shaped and influenced government and how that changed with the establishment of the French Republic. Through this implementation, France has taken a hard stance against religion within the country forcing religion back into the private sphere where French government officials believe it belongs. However, the creation of the French secular state has been met with numerous oppositions that claim placing limitations on religious groups is an infringement on their rights. This paper argues that secular policies within France have been created to deter religious influence in the government, not as a reactionary policy tool to limit religious rights. The rights of religious groups have been further protected by secular policies within the country and have allowed for a more inclusive environment for minority religions. This exploration is important to understanding how these two institutions can coexist independently of one another.