How do nonsecular democracies govern religion? Despite two decades of
research on the many ways that church and state overlap in modern
democracies, scholars lack an adequate answer to this question. Many
consolidated democracies have a soft separation between church and
state rather than a wall. These are not defective versions of
democracy, but rather poorly understood institutional arrangements.
To remedy this lacuna, this paper investigates institutional
arrangements in six consolidated democracies with a soft separation
between church and state: Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, India,
Indonesia, and Switzerland. After describing the institutional
workings of these states, the paper develops hypotheses for the
origins of soft separation democracy as well as addressing the
challenges of this form of government. The paper concludes by
suggesting three other potentially fruitful lines of analysis as
well as elucidating the implications of soft separation democracy
for U.S. foreign policy.