Maria Paola Viviani Schlein

Laicality and religious neutrality in Switzerland at the federal and cantonal level

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Laicality; Religious Neutrality; Religious Peace; Religious Freedom; Federal Tribunal.

The relationship between the State and the Church has not always been simple in Switzerland. Switzerland is a Country where religious conflicts have broken out in the past and ended up in wars of short and long duration and destructiveness and where religious peace is still today an important objective. At the national level, the Constitution offers little help in this regard. It establishes the cantonal jurisdiction in this matter, but also contains norms which contradict religious neutrality and laicality. At the cantonal level there are many differences with regard to the role of some Churches conferred have the statute of public law and thus on which is a different and better treatment. Only the Cantons of Geneva and Neuchâtel declare themselves secular. In this situation the role the Federal Tribunal has played has been of decisive importance in keeping the organs of the State within the limits of one important characteristic of rule of law.

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