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1 researchok  Fri, Jul 15, 2011 7:38:27am

Poland sees herself as a 'Catholic' state, as does Ireland. Russia, Serbia and Greece each see regard their respective Orthodox churches as defining in part their national identity.

A sovereign nation has the right to define herself in any way she sees fit.

Even Israel.

2 Lord Baron Viscount Duke Earl Count Planckton  Fri, Jul 15, 2011 7:41:20am

re: #1 researchok

Russia is a secular state, according to constitution religion is separated from the state and no religion can be declared a state religion. And while in practice Orthodox church gets preferences, it's a travesty.

Religion should always be separate from the state.

Even in Israel.

3 shutdown  Fri, Jul 15, 2011 7:48:58am

re: #2 Sergey Romanov

Russia is a secular state, according to constitution religion is separated from the state and no religion can be declared a state religion. And while in practice Orthodox church gets preferences, it's a travesty.

Religion should always be separate from the state.

Even in Israel.

Legal separation of Church and State and equal rights for all is not inconsistent with Israel being a Jewish state. That is a demographic qualifier being attacked by the Arabs to ensure that Israel becomes factually Muslim. Historical context is crucial here, as well. Israel and the Jews do not have the benefit of great numbers and countries the size of -well, the USA and Russia. Israel is the last secure refuge for a people who have been relentlessly persecuted for centuries. The niceties of liberal political philosophy just don't apply when you are a minority bunkered in your last possible refuge. And as Abrams pointed out in his piece, citizens in Israel are all equal under the law.

4 Lord Baron Viscount Duke Earl Count Planckton  Fri, Jul 15, 2011 7:53:26am

> Legal separation of Church and State and equal rights for all is not inconsistent with Israel being a Jewish state.

Of course. Israel in practice is a democratic, (mostly) secular, (de facto) multiethnic state with the Jewish ethnos as its basis. In these particulars it is no different from, say, most Western European national states. In this sense Israel should stay a Jewish state - this is absolutely compatible with demographic realities and whatnot.

But the less state religion - the better. No clerics should be employed by the state on the taxpayers' shekel (esp. extremist clerics), there should be a civil marriage procedure, etc.

All that said, Israel is light years away from its neighbors.

5 shutdown  Fri, Jul 15, 2011 7:56:00am

re: #4 Sergey Romanov

The most immediate problem facing Israeli society once the Palestinian issue is settled will be to deal with the ultra-Orthodox entitlement programmes and the factual haredi "state within a state".

6 OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin  Fri, Jul 15, 2011 8:04:04am

England has a state church with the Queen as Supreme Governor. They're not the only European country that does.

As for right of return, the wikipedia article on it is enlightening. [Link: en.wikipedia.org...]

7 Lord Baron Viscount Duke Earl Count Planckton  Fri, Jul 15, 2011 8:08:25am

re: #6 OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin

Lots of European countries have state religions, but those are merely vestiges of the past, like male nipples. These vestiges are likely to die off in the future and should not be used as excuses for establishment of state religions in other states.

8 OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin  Fri, Jul 15, 2011 8:39:10am

re: #7 Sergey Romanov

Lots of European countries have state religions, but those are merely vestiges of the past, like male nipples. These vestiges are likely to die off in the future and should not be used as excuses for establishment of state religions in other states.

I'm not defending state churches/religions, only saying they are a fact. Not only in other ME countries, but many in Europe (as well as around the world.) I find the male nipple analogy to be incorrect, because 1- there is more than one function of nipples and 2- they're not going away.

Thing that bothers me is when one country is told they have to drop their self-definition yet others using similar self-definitions are never told that.

9 SanFranciscoZionist  Fri, Jul 15, 2011 9:34:30am

I'd also point out that several nations in the immediate area define themselves as "Arab Republics", using tribal/ethnic self-definition rather than religious.

Western columnists do not find this very interesting.

There are some layers of issues here. Israel is defined as illegitimate by many in the region and many around the world simply because it is a Jewish-majority, Jewish-identified state, not because it wants to be called that. "Jewish" serves doubly as an ethnic and religious marker, which leads into different issues.

Someday, perhaps, Iran will drop the 'Islamic' from its name, but will they be asked to accept that no peace will ever include describing them as Persian? Highly damn unlikely.

The truth is, what we're talking about is a form of ethnic-based nationalism. In an ideal world, we wouldn't have that, but in an unideal world, I find it highly interesting that the Jewish state (and the one with the democratic and human rights credentials) is the one that needs to knock it off IMMEDIATELY, or no one will get a good night's sleep.

10 windsagio  Fri, Jul 15, 2011 1:22:52pm

There are at least 2 pages on this subject today, but I'm gonna repeat what I said on the other one.

No matter where they are, states based on religious or ethnic identity should be a thing of the past. It's harmful in many many ways.


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