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Encyclopedia > Pseudo secularism

Pseudo-secularism in a societal setting is the state of implicit non-secular trends in the face of pledged secularism. This is usually an allegation by groups who perceive a double-standard exhibited within the established secular governing policy towards culturally different groups among the governed.

A good example of this phenomenon is the state in India where Muslims and Christians are given special privileges, quotas and advantages over Hindus which is a consideration adopted by the government to accommodate for the religious differences (see Shah Bano case). Hindus contend that this makes India a pseudo-secular rather than a true secular state, since it discriminates unfairly against Hindus. However, many Indians (including moderate Muslims and Christians) are pressing for implementation of a uniform civil code as originally proposed in the Constitution of India.

In Germany the state collects taxes for two Christian groups, while other religious or atheist groups have to collect their membership fees without the help of the state. Furthermore, there are religion lessons at school given by the state, but only for those two Christian denominations. Critics want the German state to stop supporting religious groups in this way.

In the United States, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution has been judicially interpreted as calling for the separation of church and state (although it literally says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion").

However, because the nation's population is overwhelmingly Christian, the judiciary has allowed for some exceptions. For example, American currency bears the national motto "In God we trust", the Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase "under God," both Congress and many state legislatures have legislative chaplains, and many courts have a crier or clerk who opens proceedings with the phrase, "God save the United States and this honorable court."

External links

Secularism in India (http://www.indpride.com/secularism.html)



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