In the last decade several Western countries have been updating the law concerning the relationships between State and Churches. This clearly testifies that many legal instruments, created for carrying out secularism in societies dominated by a single culture and tradition, are not any longer adequate to meet the needs of today’s multicultural communities. In fact, those legal instruments were tailored on the requirements of traditional creeds; therefore, they are not able to accommodate the demands coming from diverse religious denominations. The author will point out some specific legal approaches (namely the French la ̈ıcite ́ as well as the dual-system and joint governance approaches), which have traditionally carried out secularism in some Western countries. He will try to demonstrate that in contemporary democracies, as has occurred in the past, secularism has to find a balance between the universal need for a peaceful coexistence and the protection of religious-cultural rights not only the rights of a group to be different, but also the rights of individuals within these groups.
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