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Une garantie générale de liberté religieuse

Ever since the origins of the Belgian Constitution, exercising freedom of worship has been open to all denominations without any formal pre-approval being required. Current Article 19 (14 in 1831) establishes freedom of religions and that of their public practice. Article 20 (15 in 1831) includes freedom not to join any religion. The independence of religions vis-à-vis the state is guaranteed by Article 21 (16 in 1831) : no state intervention in appointments, dismissals or internal organisation ; civil weddings should always precede nuptial benediction except in cases established by law, if any. Just one specific public regime was, however, subordinated to intervention by lawmakers : the financing of certain salaries for ministers of the faith or for chaplains and some teachers of religion and the granting of a special status for public bodies managing the temporal aspects of the faith. These different consequences of recognising a denomination do not all have the same status. Only the requirement for the state to pay salaries and pensions of ministers of religion has a constitutional guarantee under Article 181 (117 in 1831). Originally, the denominations in question were those recognised under previous legislation.

D 21 septembre 2012    ALouis-Léon Christians APatrick de Pooter

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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