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Should religion and the state be separate? Chatham House debate

Should religion and the state be separate? Chatham House debate

Nick Spencer spoke on a panel debate at Chatham House about state secularism on 7th December 2017.

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Theos’ Research Director Nick Spencer joined a panel debating arguments for and against the separation of religion and the state at Chatham House, London. Can faith co–exist with states in a meaningful and useful way in the 21st century? What kind of benefits can religion provide a state that secularism can not? What effect does the preference of one religion have on the rights of citizens outside of that religious group? And is religion too often discussed in terms of being a cause of conflict and division rather a force for peace and good?

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, Humanists UK
Zineb El Rhazoui, Columnist, Charlie Hebdo (2011–16)
Nick Spencer, Research Director, Theos
Abdullah Al Andalusi, Co–Founder, The Muslim Debate Initiative
Chair: Dr Lois Lee, Research Fellow, University of Kent

Listen to the full debate here.

 Image by Leonard Bentley from available under this Creative Commons Licence

Nick Spencer

Nick Spencer

Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, including Magisteria: the entangled histories of science and religion (Oneworld, 2023), The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). He is host of the podcast Reading Our Times.

Watch, listen to or read more from Nick Spencer

The Royal Institute of International Affairs
Chatham House
10 St James’s Square
London SW1Y 4LE


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