This article looks at Taiwan's policy towards religion to show that non-Western societies can also achieve what Alfred Stepan called a "twin toleration" wherein the state does not intervene in religious affairs, and religion does not seek to control the state. The paper shows the sets of constraints in which policy-makers struggling for an adequate way to deal with religion operate. They have to choose among a variety of models in democratic societies, to take into account the legacy of the authoritarian era, and to consider the specificities of Taiwan's situation, influenced by a Chinese cultural heritage, Japanese colonialism and observations from other parts of the world. The paper then describes how these constraints have influenced the major stages in the evolution of relations between state and religions in Taiwanese society and then argue that the state had yet to reach a consensus up until 2008 on the legislation of religion because of disagreements between different religious actors. (JCCA/GIGA)
In The Religious Left and Church-State Relations, noted constitutional law scholar Steven Shiffrin argues that the religious left, not the secular left, is best equipped to lead the battle against the religious right on questions of church and state in America today. Explaining that the chosen rhetoric of secular liberals is poorly equipped to argue against religious conservatives, Shiffrin shows that all progressives, religious and secular, must appeal to broader values promoting religious liberty. He demonstrates that the separation of church and state serves to protect religions f.
The history of state-religion relations in Taiwan from 1945 to the present can be divided into three stages. The first stage lasted from 1945 to 1987 during which the Leninist state, for the first time in Chinese history, effectively exercised tight control over religion. In the second stage, from 1987 to 2000, the democratizing state gradually withdrew its control over religion while most religious groups tended to refrain from involvement in politics. From 2000 to the present, the democratic state and various religions have developed constructive relations involving checks and balances, and this has maximized religious freedom, helped eradicate religious discrimination, and expanded the democratic participation of religious groups in politics. This paper combines theories of the state in political economy and religious market theory to explain these changes in religion-state relations and their impact on religious freedom. In conclusion, state-religion relations in Taiwan may provide an alternative model for appropriate state intervention in religion and the involvement of religion in politics in transitional democracies. (Issues Stud/GIGA)