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Rôle du facteur religieux dans les dispositifs sociaux et sanitaires

Since the 19th century, the reference to religious values (mainly Christian ones) has only had a variable role in the debates that go hand in hand with the implementation and development of the legislations in the social or health area. Many institutions, above all local ones, have been initiated by religious organisms or by people motivated by a religious conviction. Progressively, authorities have become responsible for the management and the financing of most of these institutions. Nowadays, only a few institutions (hospital, kinder garden, associations) are directly administered by a Church or a religious community. Many social services stemming from Churches or religious communities’ social or diaconal action (Caritas, Protestant Social Centre, Salvation Army, etc…) manage locally or within the cantons some social problems.
Issues concerning the recognition of the people’s cultural / religious rights are controlled at the level of the federal Constitution (article 15), of the cantons legislations or directives by the organisms or institutions concerned. Chaplaincies of Reformed and / or Roman Catholic churches are generally active in public organisms such as hospitals, prisons, specialised education centres, asylum seekers centres, the army, etc…
Cantons rule the relations between both Churches and religious communities and the Swiss State. Because of federalism, there are important differences between the cantons concerning the volume and nature of the Churches and religious communities’ activities in the social and health area. It is the same for the financing of these activities.
Because of the demographic and sociocultural changes of these last twenty years, a debate concerning the implementation of the principle of “religious neutrality” within social and health institutions has appeared. Churches and religious communities agree with this process but cannot negotiate to their advantage the conditions of their implementation in the plans financed by the authorities.

Sources :
- BECCI I., BOVAY C., « Les représentations sociales autour de la pluralisation religieuse ». Social Compass 54(2), 2007, p. 145 – 159.
- CATTACIN S. & al., Etat et religion en Suisse. Luttes pour la reconnaissance, formes de la reconnaissance. Études du Forum suisse pour l’étude des migrations et de la population (FSM) mandatée par la Commission fédérale contre le racisme (CFR) : Berne, 2003.
- FRAGNIERE J-P., Girod R., Dictionnaire suisse de la politique sociale. Lausanne, Réalités sociales, 2002 (2e édition).
- GILLIAND P., Rossini S., La protection sociale en Suisse. Lausanne, Réalités sociales, 1997.
- KRISEI, H., Le système politique suisse. Paris, Economica, 1998.
- Avenir social, Code de déontologie des professionnel-le-s du travail social  : Berne, 2006.

D 8 octobre 2012    AClaude Bovay ADelphine Gex-Collet

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