Church–State Relations

Social scientists have theorized the relationship between church and state through multiple lenses and contexts for centuries. The relationship between (and even definitions of) the mutually constitutive church and state has long been philosophically, politically, and theologically debated. In general, its configurations must be sociohistorically contextualized. This entry begins with some general comments and then introduces ways in which church and state have been imagined by Augustine of Hippo, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Carl Schmitt, Frantz Fanon, and Pamela Klassen.

The Christian particularities of the pairing are apparent with the church stand-in for religion. In this way, the dualism is not religiously neutral. With the Enlightenment, thinkers and leaders began positioning religious traditions and their rites, rituals, and sacred texts as antithetical to the modern age. Similarly, ...

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