The resurgence of religion in contemporary European culture is challenging older notions of the 'secular' and 'secular democratic' state. This debate goes to the roots of European identities, calling into question conventionally accepted political ideas and raising many key issues. To what extent can or should states impose limits on religions? How can some measure of European collective identity be achieved? What is the function of education with respect to religion?
The frequency of tensions and conflicts associated with religion has increased sharply in Europe, yet many research projects and policy-oriented initiatives have failed to assess the place of religion in the wider context of other social, cultural and political processes. Religion and Democracy in Contemporary Europe fills this scholarly lacuna.
The papers in this volume were first presented at an international conference at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute in September 2007. The conference, part of the Religion and Democracy in Europe Initiative of the Network of European Foundations, brought together leading experts on the study of religion, democracy and secularism. Their various contributions, collected here, offer innovative ideas and solutions to the dilemmas that will confront Europe over the coming decades.