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Aspects juridiques des relations Eglise-Etat

Denmark has a history of regulating religion that on the one hand represents a certain understanding of Lutheranism in a majority context after the religion wars (cujus regio, ejus religio), and on the other hand presents some strenuous and difficult compromises in Danish realpolitik. Since the constitution of 1849, Danish regulation of religion based the Evangelical Lutheran Church firmly as one of four pillars of Danish society (§ 4) coupled with a dual constitutional promise of autonomy and establishment. A law was promised that would establish the Folkekirken as an self-determining and autonomous institution independent of, but supported by the State (sections 66 and 4), and likewise a law were to be made to regulate on equal terms the frame of the affairs of other religious communities in promise of similar freedoms and responsibilities as the Folkekirken (section 69).

The constitution gave a legal framework for explicit recognition by royal decree of those few religious communities that where already a political reality in 1849. Among these is the Jewish community, which was recognized already in 1685. This system of administrative recognition was prolonged also after the constitution, including a list of Christian main stream churches, such as Catholic Church, the Orthodox Russian congregation in Copenhagen, the Norwegian, the Swedish and the English Churches, the reformed churches, the Baptists, the Methodists and the Jewish Community in Denmark. The system of recognition was changed just after Second World War so that religious communities arrived after 1960 have only been approved, including Islam, Buddhism, and others, leaving them relegated to the administrative competences of the ministers and permanent secretaries of changing ministerial departments and offices.

See also : VINDING Niels Valdemar, "State and Church in Denmark", in ROBBERS Gerhard (ed.), State and Church in the European Union, Third ed., Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2019, p. 87-108.

D 13 septembre 2012    ANiels Valdemar Vinding

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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