Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Information

19 German Pol. & Soc'y 1 (1990)


The complex structure of church-state relations in West Germany arises out of numerous provisions of the Basic Law that combine features of both separation and accommodation. The Basic Law's separationist features are expressed in various guarantees of religious liberty and in the ban on the establishment of a state church. Its accommodationist features appear in constitutional provisions on religious education as well as in articles, taken over from the Weimar Constitution, that confer upon the established churches a special juridical status enjoyed by no other nongovernmental entity. The arguably diverse goals of the religion clauses are difficult to reconcile, creating dilemmas similar to problems raised by the tension between the "establishment" and "free exercise" clauses of the United States Constitution. In the German understanding, however, these dilemmas collapse under the weight of an interpretative approach that seeks to bring divergent clauses into harmony with one another and with the values of the Basic Law as a whole.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.