Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: June 2012

5 - Western Democracies


The previous chapter provides an analysis of global trends in government involvement in religion (GIR) and separation of religion and state (SRAS). This chapter and the following five chapters are intended to provide a more detailed look at the relationship between religion and state. This includes an examination of each of the 62 types of GIR measured by the RAS dastaset for each of the 175 countries included in the dataset.


This chapter examines GIR and SRAS in Western democracies. The RAS project divides the world into six regions based on a previous division by a large-scale data collection project – the Minorities at Risk dataset, which focuses on ethnic conflict. The following five chapters each focus on another of these world regions. This use of world regions is appropriate as the countries within each of these six world regions share many cultural traits and tend to have a common history.

The regional analysis in these chapters is intended to provide a snapshot of the extent of GIR for each world region in 2002 as well as for each of the 175 individual countries included in the RAS dataset. This includes a listing of each country's score on the official GIR, general restrictions, and general GIR variables and a listing of which countries engage in each of the 60 specific types of religious discrimination, religious regulation, and religious legislation.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO