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In fact, the ‘separationist’ self-image of Western Europeans with respect to religion and politics is quite mistaken.
Every state in the European Union gives funding either to religious schools or for religious education in state schools, and over a third collect taxes or help raise money for (some) religions.
Most Western European social scientists and policymakers believe that there is or should be a separation between church and state, religion and politics.
They further believe that religion should be a private matter.
These include the banning of offensive literature, cartoons, and films; the state funding of Muslim schools and Islamic instruction and worship in common schools; the accommodation of Muslim dress, diet, and gender segregation in public spaces such as schools and universities; Muslim organization and representation in political parties, trade unions, and professional associations; a question about religious observance on the national census and while collecting equality-monitoring data; and the sharing of the institutional, symbolic, and fiscal privileges enjoyed by Christian churches and Jewish organizations.What does this imply for Western societies’ secularist self-image?