Secularism and the secular state
The known history of secularism goes back to 1648, and it received recognition as a philosophical system in 1846. It now has a claim on guiding the operation of state institutions in countries. A qualitative content analysis of various scholarly publications shows that the term lacks an agreed-upon definition. Some use it to mean the separation of the Church and the State especially in public affairs. Others deny the religious values altogether. This conceptual confusion is portrayed by various states which claim to practice secularism. Some states proclaim to be secular but allow religious values to determine public policies. Others do not permit religious institutions to play any role whatsoever. This situation calls for a caution in establishing relationships with states in the international arena.