The constitutional context of secularism, religious freedoms, and the state

PhD Thesis

Meacham, Anthony Paul. 2015. The constitutional context of secularism, religious freedoms, and the state. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

The constitutional context of secularism, religious freedoms, and the state

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorMeacham, Anthony Paul
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages208

Three basic objectives are pursued in this thesis: (a) an analysis of the historical development of secularism and religious freedom across a number of jurisdictions, in the context of the theories regarding secular governance of the English thinker George Jacob Holyoake ; (b) analysis of various constitutional models regarding the relationship between organised religion and the state, through the examination by ultimate courts of issues that have arisen since the drafting of those constitutions; (c) an examination of how modern secular democracies have interpreted secular governance since the times and writing of Holyoake; and (d) recommendations for reform of secular government in light of this research.

This thesis is developed through three parts. Part I relates to the historical and contemporary philosophical development of secular government in England and Wales, in common law countries in the Americas and South Asia, including an examination of George Jacob Holyoake’s theories, as well as civil law countries in Europe. Part II deals with the constitutional law in these jurisdictions identifying areas where individual religious freedom rights clash with public policy of the secular state. Part III relates to reform of such states where efforts to keep a “separation of church
and state” have resulted in artificial and impractical results, and a constitutional theory is developed offering a solution.

Keywordssecularism, religious freedom, constitutional models, state, constitutional, constitution, historical, philosophical, development, separation, church, George Jacob Holyoake
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020500499. Religious studies not elsewhere classified
489999. Other law and legal studies not elsewhere classified
449999. Other human society not elsewhere classified
470299. Cultural studies not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
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