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    In law and philosophy, accommodationism is the co-existence of religion with rationalism or irreligion. It may be applied to government practice or to society more broadly. Accommodationist policies are common in liberal democracies as a method of guaranteeing freedom of religion, and these policies may include options for religious education, official recognition of certain religious practices, and tolerance of religious expression in public spaces. It contrasts with separationist secularism and fundamentalism.


    Germany provides financial support for religious organizations. Teaching of religion is permitted in schools, but students have the right to choose the type of religious instruction, if any.In Albania, accommodationism is associated with long standing Islamic traditions in the country and Sufism in particular, while it's opposed by neo-fundamentalist groups and the Salafi movement in particular.

    In the United Kingdom, accommodationism is relevant to the role of the Church of England and the debate over disestablishmentarianism.


    India adopted accommodationism in its Constitution in 1947, supported by secularists such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and B. R. Ambedkar. The government administrates religious instruction in schools, funds religious organizations, and does not regulate religious activity. Muslims are not strictly bound by the law of India and are permitted to operate separately under a Sharia system.

    United States

    Accommodationist jurisprudence in the United States began with Zorach v. Clauson (1952).In the United States often pertains to religion in schools; public schools in the United States cannot sponsor or endorse religion, but parochial schools are permitted to exist and their students may receive government aid if the benefit to religious activities is indirect or incidental.Religious practices have been recognized and adopted by law, including Christmas as a federal holiday since 1870 (at first applicable only to federal employees in the District of Columbia, extended in 1885 to all federal employees) and In God We Trust as the national motto since 1956.The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in favor of an accommodationist interpretation of the religion clauses of the First Amendment multiple times, both implicitly and explicitly.

    Accommodationism in the United States is a judicial interpretation of accommodationism which espouses that "the government may support or endorse religious establishments as long as it treats all religions equally and does not show preferential treatment." Accommodationists espouse the view that "religious individuals, and/or religious entities may be accommodated by government in regard to such things as free exercise rights, access to government programs and facilities, and religious expression."

    Accommodationists hold that religion "has beneficial consequences for human behavior; that is, religion provides a transcendent basis for morality and provides limits for the scope of political conflict". They teach that religion "combines an objective, nonarbitrary basis for public morality with respect for the dignity and autonomy of each individual" and thus "balances the need for public order with a respect for individual liberty".

    Since the time that the first president of the United States, George Washington, wrote a notable letter to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) affirming their right to conscientious objection with regard to war, "the accommodationist position has been dominant in U.S. law and public culture". It is also advocated by many social conservatives of many political orientations, such as Christian democratic political parties.

    Accommodationism stands in tension with the judicial interpretation of separation of church and state, and the constitutionality of various government practices with respect to religion is a topic of active debate. Both principles arise from interpretations of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

    Further Information

    Accommodationism*[1] Accommodationism in the United States*[2]

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