What is the Secular State?

Secular state means a country or nation with a neutral position in the religious field . Also known as a secular state, the secular state has as its principle impartiality in religious matters, not supporting or discriminating against any religion.

A secular State defends religious freedom for all its citizens and does not allow the interference of religious currents in socio-political and cultural matters.

A secular country is one that follows the path of secularism, a doctrine that argues that religion should not influence state affairs. Secularism was responsible for the separation between Church and State and gained strength with the French Revolution.

Brazil is officially a secular State , as the Brazilian Constitution and other legislation provide for freedom of religious belief for citizens, as well as protection and respect for religious manifestations.

In article 5 of the Brazilian Constitution (1988) it is written:

“VI – freedom of conscience and belief is inviolable, and the free exercise of religious cults is ensured and, in accordance with the law, the protection of places of worship and their liturgies is guaranteed;”

However, the secularity of the State presupposes the non-intervention of the Church in the State, and an aspect that contradicts this posture is the religious education in Brazilian public schools.

In countries that are not secular (theocratic), religion exerts its political control in defining governmental actions. In theocratic countries, the system of government is subject to an official religion. Some examples of theocratic nations are: Vatican (Catholic Church), Iran (Islamic Republic) and Israel (Jewish State).

There is also the concept of a confessional state , in which the state recognizes a particular religion as the official religion of the nation. Despite this, the theocratic State should not be confused with the confessional State, because in the first case it is religion that defines the course of the country, while in the second, religion is not as important as in the first, but still has much more influence than in a secular state.


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