Laicism, also called Laïcité or French Secularism, is a stance regarding institutional religion which believes that religion and society shouldn't mix and faith should be left as a purely personal matter. Although laicism is commonly used interchangeably with secularism, it differs from the Anglo-American interpretation of secularism in the regard that the latter does not seek to make religion a purely personal matter just one which is free from the state.
Original French Secularism
Introduced in 1905, secularism originally represented the victory of anti-clerical republicanism, which, ever since the 1789 French Revolution, had stigmatised the Roman Catholic Church as a bastion of reaction, ignorance and superstition. In concrete terms, the 1905 law dramatically limited the power of the Church by enshrining three key principles: strict separation of Church and State, freedom of conscience and freedom to exercise any faith.
Modern French Secualrism
In contemporary France, however, the conflict with the Roman Catholic Church is long dead, with the result that secularism has come to stand for something else: managing ethnic difference in society that is diametrically opposed to the community based approach advocated by Britain and the US. According to this modern schema, secularism is about avoiding Anglo-Saxon style ghettos; coming together as citizens; and transcending narrow religious differences.
The beliefs of Laicism (french secularism) are essentially based on three pillars:
- State neutrality
- Freedom of conscience
In a more political and philosophical sense, laicism also means a desire to prevent the hold of one religion on society, by ensuring, in addition to the neutrality of the State, the confinement of the religious fact to the private sphere.
Lacism is criticised by proponents of the 'Anglo-Saxon' or 'Anglo-American' interpretation of secularism for being too authoritarian in nature. As religion is often inseparable from public life the notion that the state should prohibit all examples of it from public life largely becomes anti-religious meaning that instead of the state securing religious freedom by the means of not allowing for religious institutions to use state power to suppress other religious institutions (as is done in secularism) it instead turns the state equally against all religious institution except in areas it deems personal.
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- Jacobinism - Vive la révolution!
- Kemalism - I admire the way you turned Turkey into a secular state. Too bad that those Neo-Ottomanist buttholes ruined it.
- Macronism - The best president of France! Also, Thanks for the tweet about me.
- State Atheism - We need to remove religion from culture, but I don't think killing religious people is a good idea.
- Theocracies - You are the worst government systems of all time.
- Neo-Ottomanism - Ataturk is better than you, filthy theocrat!
- Hindutva - STOP CALLING ME "SICKULAR" YOU THEOCRAT MANIAC!!!
- Confessionalism - Nah, secularism is the bedrock of a free society.
Don't ask why I ban public religious expression.
- Centre d'action laique
- 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State