The Religion and State Project
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Welcome to The Religion and State Project

Announcement: RAS Round 3

The Religion and State project is pleased to announce that an updated RAS Dataset and the RAS-Minorities Dataset are now available including a new module on societal discrimination.

Project Goals

The Religion and State (RAS) project is a university-based project located at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. Its goal is to create a set of measures that systematically gauge the intersection between government and religion. Specifically, it examines government religion policy. The project's goals are threefold:

  1. To provide an accurate description of government religion policies worldwide.
  2. To create a tool which will lead to greater understanding of the factors which influence government religion policy.
  3. To provide the means to examine how government religion policy influences other political, social, and economic factors as well as how those factors influence government religion policy.
The Data

Round 3 of the RAS dataset, which is currently the official version available for download, measures the extent of government religion policy for 183 states and independent on a yearly basis between 1990 and 2014. This constitutes all countries with populations of 250,000 or more as well as a sampling of smaller states. It also includes a new module on societal discrimination. The includes the following information:

  • Official Religion: A 15 value variable which measures the official relationship between religion and the state. This includes five categories of official religions and nine categories of state-religion relationships which range from unofficial support for a single religion to overt hostility to all religion.
  • Religious Support: This includes 52 separate variables which measure different ways a government can support religion including financial support, policies which enforce religious laws, and other forms of entanglement between government and religion.
  • Religious Restrictions: This includes 29 separate variables which measure different ways governments regulate, restrict, or control all religions in the state including the majority religion. This includes restrictions on religionís political role, restrictions on religious institutions, restrictions on religious practices, and other forms of regulation, control, and restrictions.
  • Religious Discrimination: This includes 36 types of restrictions that are placed on the religious institutions and practices of religious minorities that are not placed on the majority group. This includes restrictions on religious practices, restrictions on religious institutions and clergy, restrictions on conversion and proselytizing, and other restrictions.
  • The dataset also includes several sets of detailed variables measuring certain policies in depth. These topics include religious education, the registration of religious organizations, restrictions on abortion, restrictions on proselytizing, and religious requirements for holding public office or citizenship.
  • Societal Discrimination: This includes 27 types of actions taken against religious minorities by actors in society who do not represent the government. This includes economic discrimination, speech acts, property crimes, nonviolent harassment, and violence.
  • Minority Societal Actions: This includes five types of acts taken by minorities against the majority group or other minorities (coded separately) including violence, terrorism, harassment, and vandalism.

An Open Letter in Response to Zeev Maoz and Errol Hendersonís Scriptures, Shrines, Scapegoats, and World Politics: Religious Sources of Conflict and Cooperation in the Modern Era.

Keep Updated
The RAS project sends periodic e-mail notices of publications and updates of the dataset. To be added to the mailing list please contact Jonathan Fox

The following tools and resources are provided by theARDA.
National Profiles
TheARDA's National Profiles includes data on religious adherents, religious freedoms, demographics, and other social measures for most nations of the world and by region.

International Quicklists