PAŃSTWO LAICKIE WSPÓŁCZESNA RZECZYWISTOŚĆ USTROJOWA I PERSPEKTYWA NA PRZYSZŁOŚĆ
Wydział Prawa i Administracji UAM
LAY STATE. CONTEMPORARY REALITY AND PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE
A lay state is a relatively recent form of state, predominantly characteristic of the Western legal and political culture. A lay state had its origins in the United States of America at the end of the 18th century. However, the principle of the lay state was formulated for the first time in the Constitution of the Fourth French Republic in 1946. The content of that principle in the contemporary world has been largely influenced by the experiences of totalitarian communist systems which, under the cover o f building a lay state and society, propagated the idea of atheism. Currently there is no full agreement as to which attributes decide about the lay character of a state. While at the beginning of the 20th century the idea of a lay state served mainly to eliminate religion and church from the public sphere, today, in democratic systems it is interpreted as a neutral outlook adopted by the state, guaranteeing the freedom of conscience and religion. As such, it has also been approved by the Catholic Church. However, after the fall of communism, in many states that formally declare their lay character, there are attempts to use religion and various religious unions as political instruments. Therefore the future of a lay state, and in particular propagation of a lay state as an option, is not a very obvious.
Ruch Prawniczy, Ekonomiczny i Socjologiczny 69, 2007, z. 2, s. 61-79.