Pew analysis of church and state in western Europe suggests further research

Public support for the separation of church and state is widespread in western Europe, even where government-mandated church taxes fund religious institutions, according to a May report from the Pew Research Center.

The report said most adults in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, which have mandatory church taxes for members of major religious groups, agree that “religion should be kept separate from government policies.” The alternate position was that “government should promote religious values and beliefs in the country.”

Pew reported that majorities in several other western European countries that don’t have a church tax also support church-state separation.

Pew reported, “The difference in opinion between church-tax payers and those who have opted out may be fueling a wider debate in these countries about religious freedom and the role of churches in European societies today.”

– Joe Grimm

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