The Role of Religion in Society and Politics in Europe

    or: Three Myths of Secularity in Europe

    Excerpt: “Nine out of 10 people will mention secularity as a defining characteristic of contemporary societies when asked about the relationship between religion, society and politics in European countries. Only few will note that the notion of a secular Europe has  been from the very beginning a case of abstract normative theorizing rather than a state of lived political reality. The myth of secularism has been told as follows: economy, science and state would be increasingly separated and independent from religious influence; this would result in the privatization of religion, its removal from the  public sphere and in the most extreme vision, in the disappearance of religion as known thus far.”

    Sven W. Speer: The Role of Religion in Society and Politics in Europe, or: Three Myths of Secularity in Europe, in: Ronald Meinardus (ed.): Bridging the Gap – An Arab-European Dialogue on the Basics of Liberalism, Cairo 2014.



    Dr. Sven Speer is Founding President of the Open Religious Policy Forum (FOR) since 2011. As staff and with presentations and expert report he advises governments, members of parliament, religious congregations, and NGOs on the relation between state and religion - e.g. in Berlin, Jerusalem, Beirut, Cairo, Washington, D.C., Houston, and Salt Lake City. Speer has studied political science and history and has investigated government regulation on religion at the Cluster of Excellence 'Religion and Politics', the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies.