French public opinion on the defense of secularism in France 2017

The graph shows public opinion on the defense of secularism in France in 2017. The survey displays that 36 percent of the respondents believed that secularism was rather not sufficiently defended in France. On the other hand, 34 percent declared that they estimated secularism was rather sufficiently defended in France whereas 21 percent of respondents considered secularism was not at all sufficiently defended.

Secularism in France
Secularism, or laïcité in French, is a fundamental value and an essential principle of the French Republic. Rooted in the French Revolution, secularism is a concept which establishes separation of church and state, discouraging religious involvement in politics and government affairs, and that states that religions belong to the private sphere. In 1905 the Law on the Separation of the Church and State recognized the "freedom to practice a religion" but also prohibited the state from recognizing or funding any religion. In France most of all religious buildings belong to city councils but are made available to religious organizations. The 1958 French Constitution states that "France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic, guaranteeing that all citizens regardless of their origin, race or religion are treated as equals before the law and respecting all religious beliefs"

Over the past years the debate on secularism in France has mostly focused on other religion than Catholicism which is the first religion in France before Islam. Questions on the niqab and the burqa, or halal meals at school still raise tension in the French medias.

Despite secularism school holidays in France follow the Christian liturgical year

Do you think that secularism is sufficiently defended in France?*

Share of respondents
Yes, absolutely7%
Rather yes34%
Rather not36%
No, not at all21%
No anwser2%
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Release date

October 2017



Survey time period

October 4-5, 2017

Number of respondents

1,017 respondents

Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Computer-assisted web interviews (CAWI)

Supplementary notes

* This question was phrased by the source as follows: "Estimez-vous que la laïcité est suffisamment défendue en France ?"

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