Religious and political antagonism

Other Names:
Conflict between church and state
Conflict between religion and state
Separation of church and state

Conflicts may arise over the amount of influence religion has in social and political affairs, or on direct ideological grounds (if the government is totally opposed to religion). Repression, trial and imprisonment of clerics and lay leaders may precede confiscation of sacred properties, or restrictive legislation. It may also lead to civil war, or international conflict. This conflict is most visible in developing countries where religion exerts powerful influence.


Christianity played a historical role in undermining, and de-legitimizing, acts of humans exercising power over other humans -- long before social justice was a concept, popes issued Papal Bulls condemning slavery in no uncertain terms. Christians spearheaded abolitionist movements – from Saint Bathilde and Saint Anskar in medieval Europe to the Quakers in 19th century America. Christians refused to allow themselves to be enslaved by the state through military conscription; and "religious exemption" is understood as a valid claim against the rights of the state.

Reduced By:
Official religion
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
C: Cross-sectoral problems
Date of last update
22.04.2022 – 11:09 CEST