Meaning of Secularism

Secularism means separation of the state from religious institutions and that all religions are equal.

Secularism is a concept in liberalism, which states that the state, i.e. government should be separate from religion. According to secularism, the government should regulate its people without impediment of religion. The government should make and impose laws based on civil rights and liberties, and not on the basis of religious law.

Additionally, under a secular government, all religions are equal. This means that all citizens will be treated the same and will be subject to the same laws, irrelevant of the religion they follow. Also, the government will protect its citizens so that they are not discriminated against because of the religion they follow.

Secularism is two-fold: ‘separation of the state from religious institutions’ and ‘all religions are equal.’ However, some governments that claim to be secular follow only one of the two. For example: Under the Indian government, all religions are considered equal and are afforded the same consideration; however there is no separation of the state and religion. In fact, some religious laws are actually part of Indian law.

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