This August, my husband and I will publish our new book on religion and politics in all former communist countries that joined the European Union in 2004 and 2007. Church, State and Democracy in Expanding Europe will come out with Oxford University Press, in their Religion and Global Politics series coordinated by John Esposito. The Foreword to our book is signed by Prof. J. Christopher Soper. The flyer for this book can be accessed here.

Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu offer a groundbreaking study of the relationship between religion and politics in ten former communist Eastern European countries. Challenging widespread theories of increasing secularization, Stan and Turcescu argue that in most of these countries, the populations have shown themselves to remain religious even as they embrace modernization and democratization. Church-state relations in the new EU member states can be seen in political representation for church leaders, governmental subsidies, registration of religions by the state, religious views on sexuality, and religious instruction in public schools. Stan and Turcescu outline three major models: the Czech church-state separation model, in which religion is private and the government secular; the pluralist model of Hungary, Bulgaria, and Latvia, which views society as a group of complementary but autonomous spheres – for example, education, the family, and religion – each of which is worthy of recognition and support from the state; and the dominant religion model that exists in Poland, Romania, Estonia, and Lithuania, in which the government maintains informal ties to the religious majority. Church, State, and Democracy in Expanding Europe provides crucial insight into church-state relations in an increasingly modern and democratic Eastern Europe.

“Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu present us with the most comprehensive investigation so far of church-state relations in the new members of the European Union in Central and Eastern Europe. Penned by two leading experts, the book’s guiding thread allows for a thorough comparison of ten national cases while providing us with penetrating insights on democracy in a part of Europe where churches and religious organizations have defied the odds set against them by Communist officials.” Barbara Thériault (Université de Montreal, Canada)

“The EU’s uncertainty about the place of Christianity in its vision of a post-national Europe makes the appearance of this book timely and necessary. An informative profile of church-state relations in ten post-communist EU states is provided, the editors ensuring the level of analysis and quality of presentation is uniformly high. The country-specific and theme-orientated approach is bound to add greatly to the understanding of religion and politics in a part of Europe still deliberating about how far it should go down the road of European integration. The evidence presented in these factual and interpretative essays suggest that the grounds exist for a clash between defenders of clerical power and traditional Christian values and an increasingly post-Christian European political order; whether or not this scenario occurs, Stan and Turcescu’s volume is likely to be an indispensable reference source.” Tom Gallagher (University of Bradford, UK)

“This carefully researched, elegantly written volume surveys the relationships between church and state in the European Union’s newest members, tracing their path from the communist era to today. Anyone interested in understanding the state of religion in Central Europe will find this book invaluable.” Sabrina Ramet (The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway).