Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Charles Batson




church and state, policy, French, government, religion


It is common practice for democracies to institute a policy which separates church and state as a means of ensuring religious freedom for the general population yet it can be argued that France institutes their policy of secularism more militantly and forcefully than many other liberal democracies. Laïcité has affected many different aspects of French policy since its beginnings in 1880s. With the start of the new millennium there have been many discussions on a variety of issues relating to laïcité including religious symbols in public schools and the segregation of public housing. The French government claims that its policy of laïcité is freeing people from the constraints of religion yet citizens maintain their right to choose the public expression of their beliefs. In the end, it is possible for a state to be secular and democratic, as demonstrated by French documents including the Statsi Report, yet the French government has chosen a policy which has emphasized the secular more than the democratic principles of its nation.